7 Job Interview Questions You Need to Ask (In Singapore)

Singaporeans are competitive. Even our job interviews are like Quake 3 death matches. Forget about “negotiating to find the right fit” or any of that pansy stuff. A job interview in Singapore is more like naked shark wrestling; a one-sided struggle to bend the other to your will. If the Americans knew about it, they’d have our interview rooms on HBO 24/7. But…interviewers have all the advantages! They throw all the punches (read: questions) right? Wrong. Here’s a few questions that can be thrown back at them:

 

 

Why Question the Interviewer?

You don’t want to? Find then, go ahead and keep quiet. Don’t blame me when it turns out your “medical job” involves ramming enemas into disgruntled clients.

Asking questions establishes what it is you’ll be doing. You need to decide if you’ll be happy working there, and if the pay is worth the effort. But beyond that, questioning the interviewer is a way to demonstrate character. Like your resume and responses, your questions reflect your capability.

Sometimes, it’s the questions you ask that get you hired. Questions like…

 

 

1. How Are You Able to Cope With the Current Recession?

This question leads interviewers into describing their corporate practices. Once they reveal that “we do well because we emphasized innovation”, or “our core product is manpower intensive”, you’ll know how to pitch ideas to them.

When you’re asked to solve hypothetical questions (very common), you can use the information from this question. For example, if they ask:

“In this tight economy, how would you meet the sales quota?”

You could respond:

“Well, you mentioned you emphasize innovation. I would capitalize on your product’s uniqueness by…”

In effect, come up with your own ideas, and integrate them with the company’s advantages. But to do that, you want to ask this question early.

 

 

2. May I Ask What Your Role In The Company Is?

Singaporeans always forget to ask this. We assume the person interviewing us is in the same line of work. So if we’re being hired to handle IT, we start talking about LINUX kernels and crack bad Mountain Dew jokes, until the interviewer’s eyes glaze over.

Ask before spouting jargon. The person interviewing you may not be from the same line of work. This is especially true in large corporations, where the HR manager may not know the difference between RAM and a woolly, horned mammal. If that’s the case, stop and explain.

 

 

3. Can You Give Me An Example?

Another question Singaporeans hate to ask. Sometimes, the interviewer’s job description is more vague than a Chinese propaganda minister. Instead of just smiling and saying “Uh, yeah, I’m good at that”, maybe you should check.

If you’re not clear what the interviewer just said, ask for a practical example. Don’t just ask him to repeat it; if it wasn’t clear the first time, it won’t be clear the second time (kind of like the way your MP explains his salary). And if you aren’t clear what the job requires, you’re headed for a career that will last till about lunch.

 

 

4. So, What Do You All Like To Do After Work?

Ask this question toward the tail end of the interview. This question will reveal the reigning corporate culture; if it’s a relaxed, close-knit company, the answer will be immediate. If the answer is hesitant, or the interviewer is taken aback, it’s probably a more formal atmosphere.

A young company (like a start-up) will identify what different employers do by name. A more established company will focus on obfun (obligatory fun) activities, like family days or dinner and dance.

Be wary of answers like: “Oh, ha ha, we’re all too tired to do anything”. The employees might cliquish, or management could be very top-down.

 

 

5. Do You Have a Policy Regarding Transport Claims?

Never phrase this as: “Can I claim taxi fare?” or “Do you pay for petrol?”

You don’t want to suggest you expect it from them. That gives you a harsh, demanding image. You want to make it clear that it’s just an enquiry; you don’t think it’s a big deal. Wait until you’re out the room before rolling your eyes at “this cheapskate place”.

Try to follow this question with a statement about your commute. Throw in a: “Oh, because I live in Woodlands, which is like the lost world and where people still use bullock carts. So I’m just asking.”

 

 

6. What Are The Improvements You’re Looking to Make?

Use this question when presented with your job expectations. This question suggests you’re not just interested in “carrying on” a job; you want to do it better than your predecessor. You can also ask this question after looking at product statistics or sales.

The response clues you in to your key performance indicators (KPI). You’ll know what to focus on to earn a promotion. Also, you can gauge how realistic or demanding the management is.

 

 

7. Can I Show You This Document I Prepared?

Then you extract a short document (one or two pages) explaining solutions for the company. Yes, you need to do your research beforehand. And no, they may not be accepted. But that’s fine; you’re trying to demonstrate initiative.

You want to be able to go through your document, point by point, and explain how you “can do this for your company”. The hiring manager’s response also reveals a lot about the company; if he gets defensive, reconsider the job. It often suggests very closed-minded management approaches.

 

 

Image Credits:
bpsusf, Alan Cleaver, jo-h, Jeremy Vandel, UFSWS/Southeast, sethanikeen, Aaron Gustafson

What questions do you ask at job interviews? Comment and let us know!

Get more Personal Finance tips and tricks on www.MoneySmart.sg

Click to Compare Singapore Home Loans, Car Insurance and Credit Cards on our other sites.



More From MoneySmart
Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Pacquiao sees fist of God delivering win over Mayweather
    Pacquiao sees fist of God delivering win over Mayweather

    Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao is confident he can beat American arch-rival Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas on Saturday with the power of God, after abandoning a life he said was packed with sin condemning him to hell. Pacquiao is in top form both in mind and spirit after he traded his boozing, gambling and womanising ways for a devout life of prayer, his spiritual adviser, Jeric Soriano, told AFP in a recent Manila interview. Except the world got to him," Soriano said of Pacquiao's …

  • Profiles of foreigners due to be executed in Indonesia
    Profiles of foreigners due to be executed in Indonesia

    Eight foreign drug convicts are set to be executed in Indonesia after losing all appeals for clemency. Here are brief profiles of the inmates, who include two from Australia, one each from Brazil and the Philippines, and four from Africa. Myuran Sukumaran A ringleader of the Bali Nine drugs smuggling syndicate, Sukumaran was born in London in 1981 and moved with his Sri Lankan family to Australia when he was a child. Enticed by the prospect of easy money, in 2005 he helped to organise a …

  • Indonesia says will not delay execution of Filipina convict
    Indonesia says will not delay execution of Filipina convict

    JAKARTA (Reuters) - The execution of a Filipina drug convict by an Indonesian firing squad will not be delayed despite last-minute appeals by the Philippine government, the attorney general said on Tuesday. Indonesian President Joko Widodo earlier met with a migrant workers' group to discuss the case of Mary Jane Veloso, who is one of nine people set to be executed within hours. (Reporting by Rosemarie Francisco in MANLIA and Gayatri Suroyo in JAKARTA; Editing by Clarence Fernandez) …

  • Nine face midnight firing squad in Indonesia, hopes for reprieve gone
    Nine face midnight firing squad in Indonesia, hopes for reprieve gone

    By Kanupriya Kapoor CILACAP, Indonesia (Reuters) - Nine drug traffickers held emotional farewell meetings with their families at an Indonesian prison on Tuesday, after Jakarta rejected last-ditch pleas from around the world for clemency and ordered their mass execution to proceed within hours. "I won't see him again," said Raji Sukumaran, the mother of an Australian who will go before a firing squad along with a fellow countryman and convicts from Nigeria, Brazil, the Philippines and …

  • Aquino appeals to Indonesia one more time to keep Filipina alive
    Aquino appeals to Indonesia one more time to keep Filipina alive

    Philippine President Benigno Aquino said he made one last appeal to the Indonesian government to spare a Filipina among nine prisoners set to be executed for drug trafficking on Tuesday as she could be a vital witness in prosecuting drug syndicates. It was Aquino's third personal appeal, after the Indonesian attorney general rejected the Philippines' request on Monday for a second judicial review of the case of Mary Jane Veloso, who her lawyers say merely served as an unknowing mule to drug …

  • Cheapest motorcycles in the Philippines under PhP 40,000
    Cheapest motorcycles in the Philippines under PhP 40,000

    Are you hunting for an affordable motorcycle which you can use for personal use or a family service vehicle? Carmudi PH presents to you some of the cheapest motorcycles in the Philippines today. These budget friendly motorbikes will surely not hurt your pockets, and you may even buy them on the spot instead of monthly […] The post Cheapest motorcycles in the Philippines under PhP 40,000 appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • Labor Day heat index may heat feverish levels

    Temperatures could soar on Labor Day this Friday, with the "init factor" reaching the 40°C level in some areas of the country. Labor Day is a holiday in the Philippines, though many Filipinos are expected to go out to the streets to call for better working conditions. The so-called "init factor" or "heat index" gives the apparent temperature, taking into account the actual air temperature as well as other factors such as humidity. State weather agency PAGASA's Tuesday heat index indicated …

  • How Indonesia executes death row inmates
    How Indonesia executes death row inmates

    Indonesia is expected to soon execute by firing squad a group of nine convicts, most of them foreigners, for drug offences on the prison island of Nusakambangan in Central Java. The executions, which will be the second round under President Joko Widodo, have drawn international criticism and sparked diplomatic tensions with Australia, the Philippines, Nigeria and Brazil, which have nationals on death row. The group also includes a citizen from Indonesia. Recruits for the firing squad are …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options