How should I prepare for an interview?

Get a good understanding of the company that you applied for. For example, for a minimum, one should get an overview of the business / industry activities, company information including locations, number of staff and profile, goals and visions. One should further learn about the recent happenings to the company and the industry and business. Such information can be obtained through media or people who are in the industry. Try to talk to people who are in the industry, as these people have the experience and can share with you how the real situation is. Some interviewers like to ask questions on your final year project or your software engineering course project. You should organize how to present the technical details (e.g., database design, user interfaces and system architecture) as well as your technical accomplishment before the interview. I have received comments from companies that some HKUST applicants are not well prepared as compared with other applicants when they attend interviews in February or March. Please check with your final year project team mates to clarify the details so that you have a good overall picture of your final year project. In addition, have the necessary documents such as original and copies of official certificates and transcripts ready, resume being kept up-to-date and equip yourself with some passport-sized photos as well as some stationery as companies may require you to fill in forms or proceed on for tests. Stay calm and have enough rest to feel good for the interview. Arrive about 10-15 minutes earlier for an interview and never be late.

What questions should I ask in an interview?

Towards the end of an interview, interviewees are often checked whether they have any question to ask. You should ask questions that show your enthusiasm towards joining the company. For example, ask some questions about the company's future plan and development. Do not ask factual questions which can be found easily in publications or company homepage. This gives the interviewer a bad impression that you are not well prepared and are not interested in this job.

Should I dress well even for an aptitude test?

I believe that one should be professional in any stages of the selection process. Proper attire can create good impression and this may help you in gaining further opportunities.

What are the common tricks in an interview?

Be attentive and patience to whatever challenges that the interviewers present to you. If possible, try to get to know who your interviewers are so that you know who your target audiences are. It is common to have an interview whereby interviewers ask questions to get to know more about the candidate. Try to create an impression within a short period of time by structuring your answers in an easy to understand manner. Hence, preparation for common interview questions is essential. Common questions include introducing yourself, reasons of why you are suitable for the post. Such questions may be answered in English, Cantonese, Mandarin or other languages depending on the requirement of the interviewers. Companies like to recruit employees with broad exposure and enthusiasm in information technology. For example, they might give priority to applicants who participated activities beyond their course studies. Examples are UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities), President Cup, various contests, developing some interesting mobile apps or participating into open source projects as an amateur. In addition, there can be written tests including IQ test, psychological test, essay-writing test, numerical test, test specific to the industry (such as computer code writing on the spot).

What is the life of an accountant?

There are various fields one can develop their career in accounting, including audit, tax, corporate finance, forensic. Attention to details, cautious, interest and commitment to the profession are some of the qualities being looked for in an accountant profession. Accountants usually work long hours, especially during peak season such as month-end or year-end closing.

What is the life of an IT developer?

Depending on what level of IT developer one is in, the level of skills and qualifications vary. In general, one needs to get an understanding of what is the deliverables for the project, pay attention to the time schedule and meet them accordingly. Good interpersonal skills as well as professional project management skills are something being looked for.

When do large enterprises start their recruiting processes?

It depends on different companies. There are usually career talks and seminars held by large enterprises on a yearly basis or whenever there is an urgent need to do recruiting. Such enterprises usually advertise such upcoming event via university notice board and via media such as their company webpage. Hence it would help to be on the look out for information by paying attention to your surroundings. Some companies do selective recruiting process by approaching professors in university. Consult your professors in university for information.

What attentions should I pay to when conducting a phone interview?

In general, it is not a good idea to conduct a phone interview using mobile phones. If you really need to do so, please make sure that (i) you are in a quiet place, (ii) the reception quality is good, and (iii) your phone has enough battery. If you receive an interview call on your mobile phone, you may politely ask the interviewers if you can call back using a wired phone.

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