Throughout the year, we have been meeting with students around Malaysia from our career talks for colleges and universities. And just recently, we have given a 180 pax online career talk with TAR University College students.
In the 30-minute Q&A session with the students, we stumble upon a few interesting questions that we think all interns should know before starting their internship:
1. Why do some jobs require mandarin speakers?
"...this requirement is actually very normal and valid and has nothing to do with racial discrimination"
Firstly, this requirement is actually very normal and valid and has nothing to do with racial discrimination. Secondly, this requirement is common nowadays because a lot of companies are dealing with Chinese vendors or clients, and hence, the need for mandarin speakers. What we have experienced is the use of translation tools when answering customer questions via email, but to be sure, checking with colleagues who read and write mandarin is ideal. Overall, it really depends on the hiring company.
2. Should I try for a job with very high technical requirements but also mentions “fresh grad may apply”?
Yes, always try for jobs that interest you. Since it is mentioned that fresh grads are welcome to apply, just apply and go for the interview. Research the company profile and products and prepare yourself for the interview if you are shortlisted. Even if you fail the first time, ask for feedback from your interviewers, and from there you will learn and avoid mistakes in your next interview. Don’t take it personally, take it as a learning experience.
3. How do I stand out from my peers in an interview?
"Be polite and show good manners toward your interviewers..."
Preparation is the key. Never go for an interview unprepared, always study the company’s profile, products and vision & mission. Rehearse with your family or friends but try not to memorize all the details blindly, for there are always out-of-the box questions that will surprise you. Be polite and show good manners toward your interviewers, and remember their names especially if you are going for a face to face interview. Do not boast during your interview, instead talk about your previous experience and show how you can bring value to their company / organization.
4. What are the soft skills needed by companies?
It really depends on the role you are applying for, for instance if you are applying for a sales role, you will definitely need some social and negotiating skills. If you are applying for a technical role such as an engineer, you will probably need problem solving and analytical skills. However, for a start always prepare to receive feedback and be humble to learn. Also, learn to be frank and take full ownership in everything you do. Be friendly to your seniors for they will be teaching you a thing or two.
5. Does a higher education certificate grant me a higher chance to get a job?
"...higher qualification holders with little experience will usually still get a higher salary than the peers..."
If you are financially capable, always go for higher education. This does not mean the company will not hire less qualified holders. But if we look at the salary scale, higher qualification holders with little experience will usually still get a higher salary than the peers from the same practice.
6. What is the most interesting interview question you have been asked?
The most interesting interview question is probably “Where do you see yourself in 3 to 5 years time?”. Although this question is a common one, we still find it challenging to answer. Since there is no right or wrong answer, you can say “I want to be the manager in this company” or “I just want to do what I am good at”. The way we see it, what really interests the interviewer is how you plan and execute your goals. If your answer is “I want to be the manager in this company”, then what is your concrete plan to steer yourself towards that direction? If your answer is the latter, what is your plan to improve your skills in that area? What are the actions you are going to take and what sacrifices (if applicable) are you willing to make to achieve your goal.
7. How do I choose my career path?
In our opinion, never stop learning in your job. Always remind yourself what you want to achieve in your new job / current job. Be proactive and approach your superior for new projects or new skills you would like to develop. Take up relevant courses to improve yourself and always look out for better opportunities. Slowly grow into what you like to be an expert in.
Given the uncertainties in the employment landscape brought on by the effects of Covid-19, it is imperative to always improve your skills and learn new technologies to stay relevant in the job market. After all, the best investment in job security is investment in yourself.
Let us know if you need any help with interviews.
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