Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Interview At A Government Statutory Board

In June this year, I went to a government statutory board for a scholarship interview. I did not actually complete the application process for the scholarship, as I thought that I did not meet the minimum requirements due to my relatively poor high school results. Miraculously though, I received a call from the HR that I was shortlisted for an interview with one of the directors in the stat board.

I was over the moon when I receive this piece news, but foolishly, I did not actually prepare for the actual interview (though I could have easily googled for some tips). This could be mainly due to my own complacency and over-confidence in my own abilities.

As I stepped into the interview room, there was a female director seated right in front of me. It began relatively well, as I was asked to describe more of myself. However, the first stumbling block came when she asked me: “So, what do you think is the biggest challenge is your life so far?” This is actually a standard question that anyone who prepped for the interview should be able to answer, but due to my lack of preparation, I was thoroughly exposed as I gave a rather sloppy answer to a question which can explain a lot about my own life and my abilities to handle difficulties. Realising my own mistakes, I tried to salvage, but in my opinion, I did not even manage to convince myself, and definitely, not the lady seated opposite me either.

Some other questions that were posed to me included:
  • How much do you know about our organization?
  • What are some of the experiences you had in your past work experiences? (I actually gave a decent answer -  I had experience in the HR field, but the interviewer did not look too impressed by my experience)
  • Do you have any experience in learning another language, and what are you planning to learn? (From this question, I realize how important a third language is in setting you apart from the rest of your peers, and being bilingual is no longer sufficient in this highly competitive workplace now)
  • If you are given US$10m to invest, how would you consider investing this amount of money and what will you do to ensure that this amount of money is properly invested? (I actually gave a relatively concise answer, but the response from the interviewer was simply “That’s all?”, which prompted me to re-evaluate my own answers after leaving the interview)
  • What do you think is the biggest challenge is your life so far? (As mentioned above)
  • Do you see yourself as someone who can adapt fast to different environment and culture?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

As it has been half a year since my interview, these are some of the questions that have really stuck to my head. The stat board I went to actually offers lucrative job advancements and placements, but eventually, from the way I have described my experience, it ended up as a failure. This was actually the first major interview I had in my life (as it can be considered a career-defining interview due to the nature and scope of the interview). Although I flopped it really badly, I managed to take away some important life-skills, which are:
  • Never be over-confident of yourself, no matter how good you think you are. There are always more room for self-improvements.
  • Always prepare well for an interview. Google the company, understand what kind of employees the company is looking for, how you can contribute to the growth of the company, do a mock interview with a friend if possible
  • Understand my own flaws better.
  • There will always be more opportunities ahead, do not be afraid of failures.
  • Learn a new language. (This has been something on the top of my agenda which I hope to achieve in the upcoming year)

I cannot say that I am someone with a lot of experience in interviews, but I thought it is always nice to share. Hopefully, this post can be a help to the readers of this blog, as it is from my own personal experience.

Last but not least, wishing everyone a Happy New Year!!

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