Adulting 101: how to prepare for an interview, handle it like a boss, and make yourself memorable in a good way

By Nicole Moraleda

Interviews are all about first impressions. You only have a short amount of face-to-face time to convince someone you’re the best person for the job. We got some tips that could help you get the job of your dreams

By Nicole Moraleda |

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You’ve sent out loads of CVs, and you FINALLY receive an email from the company of your dreams, saying they want to meet you in person. Now, the only thing standing between you and your ideal job is the interview. That’s a lot of stress. That’s why it’s important to prepare in advance so you can go to the interview relaxed and ready to answer any type of questions they might ask. Here’s what you could do beforehand to nail that interview.

Know the company

It’s important to do some homework on the company before your interview. Head to their website and learn about their history, principles and current objectives. It’s good to know a little bit about the person interviewing you, too, if you can. A lot of times, an interviewer will end the interview by asking, "do you have any questions for me?" It really helps you stand out from all the other candidates they have to talk to if you actually have an intelligent and thoughtful question to ask. Even if it's as simple as, "what type of person are you looking for to fill this role?"

Dress for success

No matter how talented you are, or how much experience you have under your belt, it’s important to make sure you look sharp, too. This means you need to brush your hair, make sure nothing’s stuck in your teeth, and put a bit of effort into choosing what you wear.

Avoid wearing anything too loud or revealing and, as a general rule of thumb, don’t wear jeans and a T-shirt. Remember, dressing smart doesn’t mean your clothes have to be boring – add a pop of colour or an interesting accessory to your outfit. It might even help you to stand out from other candidates!

Be early!

One of the worst things you can do is arrive late to your interview. You should be at least 15 minutes early. That way, you don’t have to come in all sweaty and out of breath. It also shows that you’re organised and are able to manage your time well, which is a trait that most organisations, from cha chaan teng to investment banks, look for.

Practise your answers

You need to think about how you would answer typical job interview questions, such as “What are your strengths?” and “What are your weaknesses?”– and especially the questions you are hoping they won’t ask. It’s also good to think of some questions to ask the employer at the end of the interview as well.

It helps to ask a friend or family member to practise with you. The more you practise the better, but don’t try to memorise your responses word-for-word, as that will just add unnecessary pressure – and you’ll sound very stiff and robotic.

After the interview

Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? Before you leave, make sure you look the interviewer in the eye, give them a good, firm handshake, and thank them for their time. It’s also good manners to send them an email reiterating your interest and appreciation soon after your interview. (Within 24 hours is a good time frame.)

The waiting game

It’s normal for it to take some time before you hear back from the company after your interview. Give them a week or so and, if you still hear nothing from them, don’t be afraid to shoot them a follow-up email. Sometimes people get busy and just need a little reminder – but don’t overdo it and spam them with queries.

Handling rejection

No matter what happens, there are lots of things you can take away from an interview. Even successful people have been rejected multiple times, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the position you wanted. If you can, try to find out where you went wrong in your last interview, learn from those mistakes, and do better the next time.

Onwards and upwards!

Edited by Ginny Wong