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How to Impress during the Interview
So you got the call or email invitation to attend an interview with your potential hiring manager and HR manager at your dream firm. You are excited, and are sure that you are the right person for the role. How should you prepare so you ace the interview and make a good impression upon your interviewers?

1. Refresh Your Application 
This may sound like an unnecessary step, but it is very important to recall what the job position is all about, the roles and responsibilities required, as well as qualifications stated. Re-read the job description sent to you, or job ad where you applied the job from, so as to get a better understanding of what is expected of you. It also helps you reflect on whether your qualifications and experience are really suited for this role, and how you can "link" them to impress upon your recruiters that you are The One.

2. Research on the Company
You need to know what this company is all about, if they are niche or have major well-known competitors. If they made the news, it is vital for you to know why as well. These knowledge on hand helps break the ice with the interviewers, and show them you have a keen interest in the company you are looking to join.

3. Research on the Interviewers
If you know who is interviewing you, conduct a short research on your interviewers (think, LinkedIn), so you have a better understanding of their background and experience. This would help you prepare for whom you are dealing with, serves an ice-breaker, and show them that you are well-prepared.

4. Prepare your Documents
In some cases, the HR or Hiring Manager might have emailed you some forms to fill out (application form, PDPA forms, etc), and probably request for copies of testimonials, certifications and passport-sized photos, even if it is just for the first round of interview. Ensure that you have printed out all the necessary forms and documents, fill them out meticulously, and place them neatly in a file.

If you have a portfolio or curricular vitae (resume), prepare them as well, so it makes it easier to discuss your expertise and experience with your interviewers.

5. Dress for the Part
You don't have to look expensive during the interview, or extremely beautiful. But do ensure that you are neat and properly-dressed. That said, neatly-combed hair, shaved chin, crease-free shirts and ties for the men; and for the ladies, no revealing tops or mini-skirts. Heels and covered shoes are always recommended, as well as a blazer over a dress. Some makeup is important as well - not war paint - just to show that you care about your appearance and looking the part (to some people, a little lipstick, at least, is a sign of respect).

Conventional interviews usually mean long-sleeved shirt and pants for the males; and skirts / dresses for the ladies. However, you need to know which industry you are going to interview with. If you are in the creative industry or fashion industry, you might be expected to dress in something more low-key but trendy.

6. Be Early
If the interview is at 9.00am, please arrive by around 8.45am so as to create a good impression. It also gives you time to compose yourself before the interview, observe the office to get a feel of the surroundings / people here, and time to complete any forms required prior to the meeting itself.

7. Impress your Interviewer
After the handshake and introductions, take a seat only when you are asked to (do not just flop into your chair while they are still standing or trying to pass you their name cards). Maintain a smile at all times, and keep your attention on the interviewers. When they are talking, do listen, and leave your questions to the end.  Sit up straight, do not place your chin in hands or slouch; and do not cross your legs.

8.  Ask the Right Questions
Interviews these days work both ways, and allow the candidates to find out more about the role as well as company, therefore questions are always welcomed.  If you must ask questions relating to remuneration and benefits, be tactful. Questions on growth opportunities in the company are always welcomed, and avoid questions such as addressing their flaws (i.e. "Your company came out in the news last week. Is the rumour true?" or "Your turnover is high and targets are high. Can we attain?")

9. Thank the Interviewers
When the interview has concluded, always thank the interviewers. If you have their email addresses, send a thank you note over; if not, send a small thank you card. This may sound old-fashioned, but no one is doing it nowadays - so you do it if you want them to remember you (out of the hundreds of candidates they talk to).

10. Thank the Recruiting Officer
If this interview was arranged for by a recruiting officer (or headhunter), or a referrer who works in the company, remember to thank them as well. You never know the strings they could pull for you, or what's their relationship with the hiring company.

All the best!

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