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Here’s How Singaporeans Make Themselves Look Bad at a Job Interview

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Joanne Poh

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You don’t need need to be Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie to impress somebody at a job interview. On a Tinder date, maybe, but not a job interview, unless you’re looking for a job in Hollywood.

But despite the fact that you think your CV is the only thing that matters, there are many things you can do at the interview that will make the interviewers shake their head and then trash your resume.

And no, it’s not just about walking into the interview room with a big piece of kang kong stuck in between your teeth. Here are three ways you can make yourself look bad a job interview.

 

Faking enthusiasm unconvincingly

Maybe you’d prefer spending the rest of your days playing DOTA or watching Korean dramas, and looking for a job is something you’re doing only because it’s necessary for your continued survival.

Well, you’d better hope you’re a decent actor, because when employers reject a candidate for being a “bad fit”, it often just means the candidate didn’t seem enthusiastic enough about the job.

The fact that job hopping is a major problem in Singapore, especially amongst junior employees, makes employers even more wary of hiring somebody they think will be disloyal.

Other than asking yourself why you want to apply for a job you can’t muster a bit of enthusiasm for, you need to find a way to hype yourself up and get the endorphins flowing before your interview. Wake up early in the morning to go for a run, listen to upbeat music on your commute to the company’s office or treat yourself to a good breakfast. That way you’ll look less lethargic when you enter the interview room.

 

Not being able to conceal your desperation

So maybe you’re interviewing for this job because you desperately want to quit your company and get away from your demonic boss. Or perhaps you’ve been out of work for a while. You’ll take any job that pays you a decent amount.

Well, whatever you do, try not to come across as too desperate. Just as your blind date doesn’t want to know that you are ready to marry anyone who’ll BTO with you, your company wants to think you chose them because they’re special, and not because you they’ll be saving you from a bad situation.

When the company feels you’re desperate, they start doubting your value—if you were that great, you would have options.

Even in a best case scenario in which you’re actually hired (hey, your employer might be desperate too), you’re more likely to be shortchanged when it comes to salary negotiations.

 

Tardiness

So the MRT broke down that day, or there was a jam on the AYE. Well, even if King Kong attacked your block that morning thus making you leave the house late, you’ll look bad if you’re not early or at least on time.

And yes, that applies even if the company or industry is one in which employees are allowed to work flexible hours.

 

Sloppiness

No matter what the dress code might be in your industry, nobody wants to hire somebody who comes in looking slovenly at an interview.

In a Raffles Place-type corporate environment, that means you wear a suit no matter how hot it is outside, one that fits and isn’t too obviously borrowed from a parent who’s twice your weight.

Even in more casual working environments, make sure you don’t wear anything dirty, creased or obviously out of fashion to an interview. Your interviewer at that start-up might be wearing flip flops himself, but he sure doesn’t want to see your own toenails that have been uncut for 6 months.

Have you ever been guilty of any of the above? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.