Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My tips on successful job interview... Part II

This is the 2nd week we interview candidates to fill up the 3 vacancies in my department. What interesting about this week is we have a few very quality and outstanding candidates we are considering to hire.
As promised, this is Part II of "My tips on successful job interview". So, here we go...
#5. Be prepared for IQ and Arithmetic Test
Some companies (mostly Banks and Factories) like to set an IQ test for the candidates. Don't worry, it's not quite to gauge how smart are you but it is more on how are you doing under pressure.
a) They want to know how you handle pressure - How many questions you can answer correctly in a limited time frame and in that stressful environment;
b) They want to know what kind of worker you will be - Are you carelessly try to answer all questions but failed in most questions in the attempt to do that? Honestly, no one ever managed to finish all the 100 questions in 1 hour or half an hour, so don't put too much pressure on yourself. Answer it carefully but quickly. The number of questions does not count but the number of the correct ones will be your benchmark.
c) They want to quickly eliminate the non potential workers from potential ones (this is due to the number of people turn up for the interview which is usually very high).
So, I would like to share with you a few tests that you may DEFINITELY pass if you know the twists and turns.
Sharing my experience - Number crunching test:
I went for an interview back in 2002 in one of the Japanese electrical manufacturing company. The test; every candidate was given 1 sheet of paper containing simple numbers 1-9. There was 50 numbers in each row and there were 100 rows.
The instruction was very simple, add the 2 numbers side by side but only write down a single number (1+2 = 3 write down 3, if 9+8 = 17 just write down 7). The exam was timed, and for every row they gave 30 seconds only. When time's up 30 seconds, they would shout "NEXT!" to answer the next line.
Interesting enough, people were very eager to answer at the beginning and starting to slow down as the test progressed to the 30th or 40th row. Mainly it's because your hands already tired and you could no longer think straight.
At the end of the exam, what the HR people did in front of us was; he took a marker pen and started to link the lines (last answered in row 1 down to row 100). Hahahaha! Busted! For those who already slowed down half way, they would get a declining graph. Interesting isn't it?
Myself, of course I scored handsomely because my Business Math lecturer back at the University, Prof. Razak (thanks dear Prof) had already shared with us in class his experience and how to tackle this kind of test. What you must do is, 1) start slow, take your time 2) then only start answering aggressively towards the end.
The philosophy behind it was:
a) People is expected to perform better (improve) when doing repetitive/routine work (answering row 1 to 100 requires the same method of calculation).
b) People is expected to maintain a good performance as time progresses (if you show declining traits, it gives the impression whether you are a quitter or easily loose motivation)
c) It is normal for people to get really enthusiastic during the early employment (aggressively answer the early questions and slows down towards the end).
Sharing my experience - Cue Card Role Play:
This was one of my latest 3 interviews which I attended (my current job, the Islamic Bank and this one). It is a multi-national shipping company. There were 3 levels, 1) you have to pass the written test; 2) you have to pass the cue card role play 3) then only comes a formal interview.
What I wanted to highlight is the cue card role play. You are given 1 situation, then you must act (role play) to handle the issue. If you succeeded the 1st, a 2nd card will come with more challenging problem but you still maintain your role.
In my case, the situation was, I was a Factory Manager of a chemical company. People around the area started getting sick and they blamed my factory for causing the problem. My factory had all the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) in place and we did not dispose any harmful material into the drain.
Card 1 : Villagers send their representative to talk to me and demand my company to pay for all their medical expenses.
Card 2 : The "green peace" demonstrate in front of my factory. They did not want to move until I meet their representative. All of them blocked any vehicle from entering the building by laying on the road.
Card 3 : The Y.B interfere and came with the Health Ministry Director. They demanded to close my factory for a week to do investigation.
Card 4 : An employee of my factory was sacked for disciplinary problem. As a revenge, he made up stories that my factory was polluting the drain with harmful material. The media is now covering the story.
Well, my tips to you guys is - defend your company at all cost! In fact, it's not like your company was involved in any illegal operation or anything. This was more towards 'crisis management' and showing your loyalty towards the company.
Of course, we will not just sit there and defend bluntly. Try to create something that was not mention in the cards i.e your company already got approval from Jabatan Alam Sekitar or complied with Akta Kualiti Alam Sekitar 1972 or anything you can think of that can give alibi to you. Be creative :)
After they were convinced with you, then only they would start with the formal interview (Level 3).
This cue card was fun though, looking at the interviewers' faces when you counter their facts with made up facts which were not mentioned anywhere in the cards, ehehehe!
Moving on ...
Well, my arwah bapak once said, "Jangan tamak, offer mana datang dulu, itulah rezeki kita. Bagi peluang orang lain pulak"... Even I successfully gone through all the 3 interviews I mentioned earlier, my current job was the first to be offered. This is an Assistant Manager position while the other 2 were Manager positions. For the Islamic Bank, we mutually agreed that there was no room for negotiation as long as the status "contractual" remains. As for the shipping company, the offer only came 1 month after I started working here, which was too late. I would never leave my current company just for the sake of a better offer; even I could easily tendered my resignation in 24 hours during that probationer period. In fact, I felt bounded by duty because my current CEO, Datuk A personally interviewed me before I joined.
Part III will be coming soon ...
I think, enough already for today's posting. Insyaallah my Part III posting of "My tips on successful job interview" will be coming soon. I'm glad that I can share it with my readers. And, I'm pretty sure others out there have many interview experience to share. Feel free to drop a comment here and share them with the rest of the visitors. I thank you in advance.


Aqil Dot Com said...

macam taktik guna untuk pulau impian jer ... hehehehe

Pedang Bertuah said...

Yup... ingat lagi hang ek?

The good old days :)

kinshuk said...

Nice thing that you concentrated on specific tips rather than listing out hundreds of them without going in details. This is much much better.
Job Interview Tips