Do First Impressions Really Count?

Here’s the hard truth: 80% of hiring managers will decide within the first 10 minutes of an interview whether to hire you or not. While every second in that interview room might feel like forever, anxiety might affect your responses to your potential employers. Here’s how you can work on the first impression that you’re putting forward.

Do Your Research

Before the big day, find out as much as you can about the company. A few simple clicks on the organisation’s website will usually reveal the company’s history andother useful facts, like their employee headcount, or who’s in charge of the department you’re hoping to work in.

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…And Know Your Interviewer And The Company

With this knowledge, you’ll sound more prepared and stand out as a candidate who is interested in the particular company. Showing interest in the company can also be translated as a “fit” for the company’s culture, boosting your chances of interview success.

Get There On Time

This cannot be stressed enough! Always plan ahead and arrive earlier than the scheduled time. If the interview venue is particularly out of the way, or located in in an area that you’re unfamiliar with, do your research online or go down in person!

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Dress to Impress

The saying “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” still holds true here. We’ve shared tips on what to wear before; find them in our “5 Things To Remember At Your Job Interview” post here.

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The First Handshake

It may not seem like much, but 60% of employers say that they will judge a candidate based on their handshake.

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Never, ever offer a limp fish/dead fish handshake. Practice until you achieve a firm grip that means business.

Your 30-Second Pitch

Also known as your “elevator pitch”, you should be able to sum up your career history, achievements, and personal qualities within 30 seconds. Who are you? What do you do? Where do you want to go, or what are you looking for? These are the 3 questions that should be answered by the end of your half-minute.

Tips for your pitch include telling stories or anecdotes, eliminating jargon, practicing your pitch on friends and colleagues, and recording yourself on video to spot your own verbal cues and body language. Is your mini-speech interesting enough to captivate your audience? Is it even interesting to yourself? Practice your pitch regularly.

Body Posture

Speaking of body language, this graphic taken from one of our previous blog posts captures the essential body language to-dos during an interview.

Ask The Right Questions

From our post about “Interviewing Your Interviewer”, we mentioned that asking your potential employer questions lays down two things:

“Firstly, when done correctly, the questions you ask confirm your qualifications as a candidate for the position.

Secondly, you are interviewing the employer just as much as the employer is interviewing you. This is your opportunity to find out if this is an organisation where you want to work.”

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More on what questions to ask your interviewer here.

Overall, practice, practice, and practice. You’ve got one shot at what could potentially be the best experience in your career, and now that you know how important the first 10 minutes are, you better start preparing for it!

Interviewing Your Interviewer

When candidates walk into an interview, they forget that they’re there to ask questions as well. Asking the right questions at an interview is important for two reasons:

Firstly, when done correctly, the questions you ask confirm your qualifications as a candidate for the position.

Secondly, you are interviewing the employer just as much as the employer is interviewing you. This is your opportunity to find out if this is an organisation where you want to work.

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3 Things You Want To Achieve

When you ask the right questions, you want to achieve three things:

• Make sure the interviewer has no reservations about you
• Demonstrate your interest in the employer
• Find out if you feel the employer is the right fit for you

There are an infinite number of questions you could ask during a job interview, but if you stay focused on those three goals, the questions should come easily to you.

I recommend preparing three to five questions for each interview, and actually ask three of them.

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The 10 Questions You Might Ask In A Job Interview

1) “What skills and experiences would make an ideal candidate?”
This is a great open-ended question that will have the interviewer put his or her cards on the table and state exactly what the employer is looking for. If the interviewer mentions something you didn’t cover yet, now is your chance.

2) “What is the single largest problem facing your staff and would I be in a position to help you solve this problem?”
This question not only shows that you are immediately thinking about how you can help the team, it also encourages the interviewer to envision you working at the position.

3) “What have you enjoyed most about working here?”
This question allows the interviewer to connect with you on a more personal level, sharing his or her feelings. The answer will also give you unique insight into how satisfied people are with their jobs there. If the interviewer is pained to come up with an answer to your question, it’s a big red flag.

4) “What constitutes success at this position and this firm?”
This question shows your interest in being successful there, and the answer will show you both how to get ahead and whether it is a good fit for you.

5) “Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?”
This question is gutsy. Also, you’ll show that you’re confident in your skills and abilities.

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6) “Do you offer continuing education and professional training?”
This is a great positioning question, showing that you are interested in expanding your knowledge and ultimately growing with the employer.

7) “Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?”
Notice how the question is phrased; it assumes you will get the job. This question also tells you about the people you will interact with on a daily basis, so listen to the answer closely.

8) “What can you tell me about your new products or plans for growth?”
This question should be customised for your particular needs. Do your homework on the employer’s site beforehand and mention a new product or service it’s launching to demonstrate your research and interest. The answer to the question will give you a good idea of where the employer is headed.

9) “Who previously held this position?”
This seemingly straightforward question will tell you whether that person was promoted or fired or if he/she quit or retired. That, in turn, will provide a clue to whether: there’s a chance for advancement, employees are unhappy, the place is in turmoil or the employer has workers around your age.

10) “What is the next step in the process?”
This is the essential last question and one you should definitely ask. It shows that you’re interested in moving along in the process and invites the interviewer to tell you how many people are in the running for the position.

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With luck, the answer you’ll hear will be: “There is no next step, you’re hired!”

Adapted from: “10 Job Interview Questions You Should Ask” by Joe Konop for Forbes.com

4 Questions Fresh Graduates Should Ask Before Joining An MNC

It’s a confusing world out there after your graduation. Degree in hand, many questions are bound to pop up in your head. “Should I work at a large company or a startup?” “Will I learn enough or will I get bored of the job after a month?” “What if I don’t find something relevant to my major?”

Why not let a fresh grad offer per perspectives on corporate life? Brendal Chung recently joined Capgemini, one of the world’s largest consulting, technology, and outsourcing companies. Find out more about Capgemini and the company’s admirable culture, through the words of a new graduate!

Brendal Chung, Associate Consultant, Capgemini

I joined the Capgemini Graduate Program in September 2015. During my time in the program I worked onsite with a client for a project and was also in the solution team for RFP (request for proposal) responses and bid management.

  1. Why did you join the Capgemini graduate program?

Capgemini is a global company and is growing rapidly in the Asia-Pacific region. The interview process was very informative, and I also met a lot of people from different backgrounds who were very engaging and experienced. I joined the program because I wanted to work with people who are experienced, and I felt that Capgemini was where I wanted to start my career as a graduate.

  1. How has the graduate program benefited you?

During the program I worked both on a project and for solutions team, and I felt that I managed to cover both breadth and depth in my work. Breadth-wise; working in solutions has given me countless insights into a wide range as I am working on opportunities from different industries, different technologies, and in different countries. Depth-wise; working onsite and offsite for a project has really helped me understand different aspects of the project, such as budgeting, financials, and PMO (project management office) activities. It’s been very rewarding so far!

  1. What do you enjoy the most about working for Capgemini?

The responsibility. Even as a new member of the company, I feel that I don’t really do admin or ad-hoc tasks and that I am actually of value when contributing to both teams and Capgemini as a whole. I am working directly with the client on issues such as billing and approvals. I am the bid manager for a wide variety of opportunities. And I am working with colleagues ranging up till the Vice-President level collaborating on tasks such as revenue forecast and project resourcing.

  1. Tell us about the culture at Capgemini and what you like about it.

The diversity at Capgemini is great; I work with people from different backgrounds, cultures, countries, and levels!

I feel comfortable talking to anyone and working with them. I don’t feel like I’m just a graduate. Everyone is very supportive regardless of what level they are within the organisation, and are willing to offer guidance and help you achieve your personal career goals!

Come excel in this affirming company culture with over 180,000 potential colleagues in 40 countries! Apply to Capgemini’s Technology Graduate Program, Singapore 2016 batch now:

For Business Consultants: https://www.hackertrail.com/capgemini-business

For Technology Consultants: https://www.hackertrail.com/capgemini-tech

A Fresh Grad At Her First Job

What’s it like working for a multi-national company with over 180,000 employees? Find out from one of the new employees at Capgemini, one of the world’s largest consulting, technology, and outsourcing companies. If you’re a fresh graduate hoping to land your first job, read on:

photo 1.3 gabrielle Gabrielle Fourmoy, Associate Consultant, Capgemini

1) What is it like working at client site as part of the Capgemini Graduate Program?

What is remarkable about working at the client site is that you start working from Day 1. You will contribute to the project right away, regardless the team you join. You get to collaborate with a skilled and knowledgeable team dedicated to achieve the same goal: deliver the project to the client’s expectations in terms of time, quality, and budget.

In addition, although we do not work face-to-face with our colleagues when we are on the client site, we still get constant support from them whenever needed.

2) What is one of your most valuable experiences so far?

Capgemini gives you multiple opportunities to grow different skills. You will get to meet people from different countries and of diverse backgrounds. I’ve worked onsite in the delivery of project, as well as on bid management. Looking back on the past year, I would say that one of my most valuable experiences in Capgemini was the ASE (Accelerated Solution Environment) I got to work on. The work was really intense but fulfilling, as there was a real team spirit. In two words, it was fun and enriching.

3) How have you been supported as a graduate?

Although sometimes people may be busy with project deliverables, they are always willing to spare some time to lend a hand and share knowledge. When you have a question or when you encounter a hurdle, you just have to send an email, or call for a colleague to help you. In addition, each graduate is assigned to a mentor who will provide you with the guidance and support so you can be successful.

Capgemini will give you opportunities and support, and the rest is up to you.

4) What would be your advice to graduates?

Capgemini looks for people who share the same values and are collaborative thinkers!

Be proactive; don’t wait for things to happen. Just be committed to self-development and be determined to make the most of the on-the-job opportunities Capgemini has to offer!

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Come excel in this affirming company culture! Apply to Capgemini’s Technology Graduate Program, Singapore 2016 batch now:

For Business Consultants: https://www.hackertrail.com/capgemini-business

For Technology Consultants: https://www.hackertrail.com/capgemini-tech