Job Interview Questions I’d Gotten

Standard

Interviews are the deal-breakers on whether you will get a job or not. Having an extensive (and suitable) experience encapsulated in a well-written resume earns you a ticket to the interview, but, the real work happens inside the interview room.

There are a number of typical interview questions that are related to the job and/or the company you are applying to, as well as related to who you are as an individual. For example, questions about your strengths and weaknesses, and also future career/study plans. Nevertheless, more often than not, interviewers can get really creative, innovative, and out-of-the-box in throwing interview questions (some of them were done to test our logic, some were to test our mentality).

What are the weirdest interview questions you have ever heard of? Here are a number of interview questions that I had once gotten and still remember.

In a consulting company:

How many packs of Indomie are sold in a year in Indonesia?

My private bus company has been losing profitability in the past 1 year. How should I respond to this situation?

In a technology company:

How would you sell UHT milk? What will your marketing and sales strategy look like? You have 5 minutes to work on the strategy.

The society has replaced “mineral water” with the word “AQUA” (from the brand) as its household name. Do you think it is a bad or a good thing? Why?

In a consumer goods company:

We have a product that is so commercially successful that one month after it was launched, we had zero stock, both in the factory and in the market. If you were its marketing manager, what would you do?

Why do you think we appointed her as our brand ambassador?

In a start-up:

How do you plan to launch our new product?

Next week, I will share the some tips (and tricks) on doing a job interview. In the mean time, I think it would be useful for you to check this Quora thread on the most common interview questions — and how to answer them.

Tell me: What is the weirdest interview question you have ever heard?

What I Do and Do Not Put in My Resume

Standard

After I shared some tips on how to get a dream job last week, I received some notes from you regarding how to structure and “write” a CV or resume.

There are heaps of resources available online about “how to write a CV or resume”. But, sometimes, we just cannot shake that feeling off our heads: how we think our CV does not look “special enough”, so boring, does not get us jobs, etc.

What I Put and Do Not Put in My Resume

To start off the week (and welcome the Monday!), I would like to share how I have been writing my resume all these years:

What I Do Not Put in My Resume:

  • Date of birth, gender, photo, religion, weight (???), height (???) — The only “personal data” I put are my name, address, email address and/or website, and phone number. I do not put all of the aforementioned elements because at this day and age, I do not think it is necessary anymore. When we put these on our CV/resume, it might distract the reviewer from what we actually do/excel at/can achieve. However, sometimes the recruiter asks for it. In this case, we do not have any option other than including it.
  • Hobby, or too many skills — I never put my hobby in my CV/resume, especially if I do not have any significant activity related to it. I also do not put “Skills: Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, WordPress CMS, etc…”.
  • Irrelevant “achievements” — Okay, so, I won a colouring competition when I was in elementary school. It was a big achievement for me, and I received a ‘big’ prize for winning (for a 7 year-old, that is!). Nonetheless, it is not relevant with any job or school I was applying to. Hence, I left it out. And many more irrelevant things.
  • Outdated education experience — I do not put my kindergarten, elementary, junior high, and senior high school names.

What I Put in My Resume:

  • Job description! — Sometimes we spend so much time writing this long list of educational degrees obtained, job titles, volunteering activities, etc. etc. etc., we forget to let people know what it is all about. When you say you have been a “business analyst”, what did you exactly do? I always write 2 to 3 sentences about my responsibility, daily tasks, and achievements in the job.
  • “School” description — I also always put a 2 to 3 sentences description about what I had achieved in school (both academically and non-academically) and how the school ranks between others (especially because back in the day, my university has not been as popular as other, bigger private or public universities). I also included the title of my undergraduate thesis, particularly because it is crucial in regards to my career interest/aspiration.

What I Do with My Resume:

  • Constantly update it — 3 years after graduation now, I still update my resume at least quarterly (if not monthly). Not because I have new achievements or new jobs, but simply because overtime, as we grow older, some things might not be relevant anymore.
  • Have a few versions — I have a “primary”, generally-written resume, which includes everything that I would like to be included in the CV. However, I have some different versions on top of it, and usually alter them prior to applying for an opportunity. For example, I have the “corporate job” resume – mainly highlighting my experience in different corporations, the “entrepreneurship” resume – mainly highlighting my work in Sinergi Muda and IndonesianYouth (and schools/fellowships related to it), and the “creative writing” resume – mainly highlighting my writing ‘hobby’. Because maybe, a manufacturing company is not really interested with the fact that I released a romance fiction; but a publisher is not really interested with my work in selling softwares either.
  • Keep it short and simple — My resume is 2 pages. I sometimes use bold, italic, underline, and different colours to highlight some stuff. But that’s it.

Do you have any tips regarding how to write a resume? What do you do with it — that is usually not done by others? Share in the comments box!

Get Your Dream Job

Standard

Since I moved to Melbourne in February, I have been intensively applying for jobs. Finding a job is not easy, let alone in a new city, or in my case: a new country! Adit has been juggling both graduate school and a part-time job for over a year now. So, sometimes it frustrates me how I find it very difficult to get a job, but he kept reminding me how it is okay not to have one (yet) and that usually things like these take time.Tips on how to land your dream job as a fresh graduate.

This period reminds me of a time in 2013 when I recently graduated from the university and was looking for a job. Here are some experiences that I could remember, might be useful for fresh graduates (or those who are going to be one soon):

Apply Early

Although some of us would like to have a gap year upon graduation, most of us yearn to directly have a full-time job upon graduation. If this is the case, my advice would be to apply early, even before you complete your thesis. I applied to Unilever in March while I was still doing my research. The interview took place in August and I started the job in September, two months before my graduation ceremony. Job search is an absolutely long process, so you might want to get ahead especially if there is a specific company we are rooting for.

get your dream job

Understand the Selection Process

Every company has different hiring mechanisms. However, usually, those who come from the same industry probably have similar characteristics. For example, I applied to the management trainee programme in around three or four companies from the FMCG industry. The selection process is pretty much like this:

Online application (or “CV/resume screening”)

This will be the company’s first (and can be only) opportunity for it to know whether you are suitable for the job or not. Consider this as the chance to “win” the ticket to do an interview.

Tests

Some companies ask you to do some tests to understand your logical and analytical thinking capability. In my case, I had to do IQ, Maths, and English tests on the online application. Most important tip for this one: get enough sleep before you do these tests! The tests are not that difficult, but usually require a constantly high level of concentration. I did online tests a few times, but there was also one time when I had to do it on paper in a campus hiring activity.

Focus Group Discussion (FGD)

The company wants to see how you behave in a group. Can you lead the group to reach a conclusion? Are you too passive to be able to work in their company? In my experience, those who are too passive and quiet during the discussion usually do not get the job, but those who try so hard to “stand out” and talk all the time do not get the job either. Try your best to be balanced.

Individual presentation

If you have succeeded in the group discussion, the company probably will give you a chance to shine on your own. The individual presentation, that can come in the form of a pitch or a case study to be worked upon individually, is your chance to showcase your strengths. If you applied to be a marketer, can you sell the product? et cetera.

Interview

Interview is the most common (and almost, always compulsory) element in a company’s selection and hiring process. Typically, you will get to be interviewed at least with someone from the Human Resource Department and your user (someone who will manage/supervise you in the office). Nevertheless, in other cases, especially for graduate programmes or management trainee programmes, the top management such as CEO or VP might be present to get to know you better.

Medical check-up

Rumour has it — if you have reached this far, it means you are already accepted! Be honest with your health issues, as this usually does not affect your acceptance status unless you are applying for a job that might get affected with your health issues.

Companies in other industries might have fewer or even more process. If you want to become a flight attendant, for example, the process is longer as there is physical tests that you have to take. On the other hand, smaller companies might only ask for your CV and directly invite you to attend an interview with the HR and the user.

Get the Job Offer

If you pass all the tests, including the medical check-up, the company will give you a job offer that outlines your job title, job description, and remuneration (salary and benefits). Review this document carefully and dare to ask questions if there is something that you do not understand. Things to thoroughly learn about (even though sometimes it sounds boring): career steps, job status (Permanent? Contract? Outsourced?), medical benefits, annual leave, and other things you want to know. Remember: the job will always be more than what is stated on the paper, yet, the benefits should also be more than the number on your payroll.

What is your experience in looking for and applying for jobs?

Journalistic Internships – and How To Do It!

Standard

Yes, it’s been a long time.

@VanyaViranda once asked me on Twitter about internships and how to become an intern in a magazine. I hope that I can share my experience with everyone.

Becoming an intern may means a lot of things, it depends on what you do, and how your company ask you to do it. I have tried a number of different kind of internships. From being a volunteer, flexible part-timer, and a full-time staff.

For your consideration, I’ve been a freelance writer for several magazines, including Gogirl!, Hai, and kaWanku. I also contributed for 21-Degrees for several months and sometimes write for JakartaConcerts.com. I contributed in one of Provoke!’s Student Editions and I have authored two books. All of them gave insightful, different experiences for me.

The real work? I worked for the marketing division of Millions Pictures for 6 months. They are the ones who made Queen Bee movie. I also worked as an intern for (almost) one month in Business Relations Division, British Council Indonesia.

If you want to be a freelance writer, it is actually very easy. You only need to write your own piece about anything you like, the things you are passionate about – like music or films or fictional stories, and then send it to a magazine that you think would publish your work. Before we send our work, we have to learn the characteristic of our target magazine. For example, if you want to write about life lessons in a girl’s point of view, you can not send it directly to a magazine. You have to learn the characteristic of each magazine. In my opinion, Gogirl! is more into trends and fashion, CosmoGIRL! is more into self-esteem campaigns, and kaWanku is more ‘think globally, act locally’ campaigns. Now, see the difference? The next thing you ought to do, is only to look around the magazine, find the office’s address (or e-mail!), and send your work. That easy. Wait until you get a call about your work. If not, go write another piece, try to write things that are more appropriate to be placed in that magazine.

Being a contributor is another thing. I got the chance to write for 21-Degrees and JakartaConcerts.com because I tried to maintain my relationship with them. I first met 21-Degrees’ Chief Editor when he went to my school and wanted to featured my school’s achievements. I shook hands with him and tried to get the opportunity to write in his magazine, and I succeeded. You guys should do the same. If one day you meet Anita Moran or Widi Mulia, ask them, “How can I write in your magazine? Because I want to, and I know I can.” It might be successful. If not, they won’t remember your name anyway, don’t be embarrassed. About JakartaConcerts.com, I knew Ryan Novianto & Dimas Wisnuwardono from my friend, Suryo. We chatted for quite some time and I decided to help them by writing for JakartaConcerts.com. I don’t get paid, even till now. But I do it with my heart, to help my friends, not for money. It’s all worth it. God will pay you back, no worries.

In Million Pictures, I was offered the job because they knew that I blog! So, I think you guys should start blogging seriously. Some people says that it’s a waste of time but I don’t think so. In British Council, I applied for the internship slot there. I chose two fields: Business Relations and Creativity. But, the BR team ‘stole’ me from Creativity. Anyone can apply for the internship position by logging into their website.

I don’t know what else to write but I am going to write a few things… I think you should do if you want to be an intern, especially in media our journalistic field:

  1. Research! That’s the first thing I’d like to advise. Write everything you need to know, and ask the things that you haven’t known yet. I have met tons of journalist who ask ‘What do you do?’ and ‘What is your cause?’ and ‘Where do you go to school?’. Didn’t they do any kind of research before? Come on, this world has Google.
  2. You have to be able to write things from different point of views. Not from your point of view, but from your company’s point of view. This is very important. You don’t want people to read your piece as if it’s your diary, right?
  3. Make sure that you write the ‘right’ thing. Ask your resources if needed. It pisses me off when anyone writes incorrect details about me, especially when they have interviewed me.
  4. Don’t think about money. Interns who are paid Rp100.000,-/day… are in heaven already. There are people who pay us Rp25.000,- or Rp50.000,- a day, it depends on what you do, and of course, how you do it. Some of them doesn’t even give anything to us, and be happy with it. The most valuable thing you get from becoming an intern is the experience.
  5. Take the bus. Bring your own lunch. Don’t even think about taking a cab or buying your lunch in the canteen. Waste of money. Save it for something, like, maybe, BlackBerry or MacBook :D
  6. Be friendly to anyone. One of the main aim of becoming an intern is to get the connections, expand your network. Talk to these people you are working with, with enough respect and enough friendliness. They are eager to help interns like you though they seem ‘scary’ at first. Talk about what you do (and say it excitingly and interestingly), and give them a clue that you need their help. That’s what I did in British Council. I asked these people’s help for IYC!
  7. Critical thinking is needed! Let them know what you think about what they do, give feedback, they really appreciate it. It’s time for our voice to be heard, right?
  8. Never give up. I have sent more than 100 applications in my life, to different institutions: to apply for internships, competitions, ask for sponsorships, ask for support. Some of them got back to me, the rest didn’t, and no hurt feelings. They are busy, just like us.
  9. Stop thinking that you can’t do something. YOU CAN. If you try. I hate listening to people say that “I cannot do this and that”. All you have to do is sit in front of your laptop and type something in Google. That’s how I got some things. That’s how I knew that British Council calls for interns. That’s how I found out that there’s is such thing like JakartaConcerts.com. If you only wait for people to tell you to do things, you won’t achieve something big.

Hmmm… Again, I don’t know what else, but let me know if you want to ask anything, I’d be glad to help :) I hope what I’ve written will give insightful knowledge for you, especially about internships in journalism.