6 S’pore Employers Share What Impresses Them Most at Job Interviews

Employers are often meeting and assessing multiple jobseekers who all have the right qualifications for a role. Interviews are where they pick out the great from the good.

If you get nervous about going for job interviews, you’re definitely not alone.

There’s always a certain amount of pressure in having just one meeting to present your best qualities, and hopefully convince your potential employer that you’re the right one for the job.

This setting can give anyone the jitters, whether you’re applying for your first job or your fifth.

While self-confidence comes with experience, understanding what employers are looking out for in candidates can lay a good foundation for you to work on.

We asked employers from 6 Singapore companies to let us in on how an interviewee can make a great impression.

*Responses have been edited for brevity.

Alaric Choo, Co-founder and Technical Partnerships Director, Secretlab

Image Credit: Game Prime

What do you look for in a candidate, and what would impress you the most during their interview?

We want to hire people who are interested in the company and show that they’re trying to find a good long-term fit.

Interviewees impress us when they’re transparent, just being themselves rather than trying to inflate their accomplishments or be something they’re not. This, along with having done their research well, makes a candidate a mark above the rest.

How can a candidate work on building these strengths?

Research, research and research. Not only will you impress potential employers but you will also find out if the company is a good fit for you.

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Marcus Tan, President and Co-founder, Carousell

Image Credit: Digital Senior

What do you look for in a candidate, and what would impress you the most during their interview?

We look for people who are passionate and mission-focused. It’s important that they are problem solvers, relentlessly resourceful and humble. They also need to have grit and determination to work in a fast-paced industry.

I’m impressed by a candidate who is enthusiastic to share how they solved complex challenges in their past experience, and can walk me through the details of execution. It speaks well when they show that they’re proud of these accomplishments, but are still humble enough to acknowledge where they could have done better!

How can a candidate work on building these strengths?

Firstly, be open to feedback. Reach out to people inside and outside of your company to sit down for coffee and learn from them.

Start challenging your assumptions, and don’t assume what worked previously will surely work at the next company.

And while you work on your growth, don’t take yourself too seriously—enjoy the journey of having setbacks alongside successes!

Read Also: How to Answer Singapore’s Most Common Interview Questions

David Boublil, Head of Talent Acquisition, Circles.Life

Image Credit: Circles.Life

What do you look for in a candidate, and what would impress you the most during their interview?

It’s really important to know your ‘why’ when you join a company, so we look for candidates who align with our values and will be passionate about what they do when they walk into work every day. Taking ownership and having bold ideas are welcome!

Having confidence in yourself and a willingness to learn and grow is what impresses us most. We want people like this because they fuel a peer-teaching culture where coworkers exchange skills and knowledge with each other.

How can a candidate work on building these strengths?

Be curious and humble. It never hurts to do a little research on the company you’re applying for. Have questions ready so you can take charge of the interview and show that you’re interested in learning and expanding your skillset.

Shree Mogan, Head of Corporate Recruitment (Singapore, Philippines) And Human Resources Business Partner, Gojek

Image Credit: Gojek

What do you look for in a candidate, and what would impress you the most during their interview?

When I interview candidates for a role, I want to see if they’re suitable to fit in with Gojek’s hard working, innovative and friendly culture. Sometimes I include a case study component, and I’ll look out for someone who is able to communicate their views clearly during the session.

What impresses me the most at job interviews is being inquisitive about the company, its culture and products. It shows how interested you are in being part of the company.

But what makes a candidate stand out even more is if he/she goes beyond research, and is able to weave in data about the company into their interview.

How can a candidate work on building these strengths?

Doing research is a must! As a job seeker, you should read as much about the company as you can, including the founder’s vision, how the company was founded, where it is currently, and what its future plans are.

Once you have this, you should ask as many questions as you can. It will also help you decide whether this company is right for you!

Read Also: Interview Must-Knows From a Former Headhunter

Caecilia Chu, Co-founder and CEO, YouTrip

Image Credit: YouTrip

What do you look for in a candidate, and what would impress you the most during their interview?

We want people who constantly learn and actively think about the problems we are solving for customers in new and creative ways. One of our best-kept secrets is that we almost exclusively look for industry outsiders who don’t carry over ‘conventional wisdom’ of what works. This way, thinking out of the box is our default mode of operation.

The most impressive qualities a candidate can have are grit and tenacity, or what management books typically call the ‘can-do attitude’!

How can a candidate work on building these strengths?

It helps if a candidate’s profile shows a track record of excellence in their academic and non-academic pursuits. But rather than just recounting the specific experience you’ve had in the past, use them to show the interviewer how you persevere under pressure and always try your best in everything you do.

Jeremy Poh, Staffing Associate Lead, Google

Image Credit: Google

What do you look for in a candidate, and what would impress you the most during their interview?

When I speak to candidates, I look out for versatility and resilience to overcome setbacks, and a genuine openness to learning.

But perhaps the number one thing we look for in a candidate is the ability to process things on the go and quickly pull together bits of information to come up with creative solutions to problems. The interviewees that stand out are those who can articulate unexpectedly creative but realistic solutions, and who do so clearly and concisely.

Authenticity is also important—don’t try to shoehorn a rehearsed response!

How can a candidate work on building these strengths?

Develop the self-awareness to ask interviewers the right questions when clarification is needed, and the organisation and good judgement to figure out which examples to cite in your responses.

Prepare Well For Your Interview

Interviews are never a walk in the park, but if there’s one piece of advice that can’t be said enough, it’s to be well prepared with a deep understanding about the company that’s assessing you as a potential employee.

Good preparation wins half the battle for you, as you know you’re not going in blind and will be less likely to find yourself stumped by an interviewer’s questions.

The traits and characteristics that will set off the green light differ from one employer to another. Since there’s no one-size-fits-all, you could be feeling lost trying to figure out how to impress.

Reading up about a company’s values and culture will help you form an idea of what they’d like to hear about you. Then, when you answer questions like “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” and “Why do you want to work here?”, you can make more meaningful connections between yourself and the firm.

Lastly, don’t forget that interviewers are people too. They’ll want to talk to someone who shows an interest in the job opportunity and the conversation, so bring it out when you meet them! Good luck!

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