#1: Be well prepared. Do your research on the company before you even turn up for the interview. Know what you are going to say to the interviewer(s) when you meet them. Try to think of expected questions that they may ask so you’ll know how to answer. It’s also good to show up slightly beyond 15 minutes of the interview so that you have more time to cool down and un-nerve (is there such a word? haha) yourself.
#2: Be slightly humorous. Make the interviewers laugh. When you are able to humor them with something you say (dont be too absurd with your statements though), they will tend to relax more and the interview would seem less formal. When they relax and smile, you know that you’ve managed to “break the walls” down since they have loosened up, and they are able to see your interpersonal skills.
#3: Be proactive. Take the initiative to introduce yourself if they hadnt said a thing about self-introductions yet and get to the gist of your experiences that is of relevance to the job. Interviewers are busy people so they may not have all the time in the world to listen to your long winded, fairy tale stories.
#4: Be interested. Show visible interest via your body language and non-verbals apart from verbals. Smile, nod your head, rephrase what the person has said, maintain eye contact with all of them to show that you are giving them attention. If you are interested in a particular position and the staff from other departments are also part of the interview panel, don’t neglect them.
#5: Be curious. Find out from the interviewers about their personal experiences in the job. Ask appropriate questions that will reflect your interest in the job. If the interviewers ask if you have any question, try to come up with at least 2-3 questions (for example: “what training opportunities are available for the staff here?”) Do not ask questions like “what’s the salary like?” if you have not been offered the job yet. No one likes to hire someone who is more concerned about the salary than to contribute to the organisation’s growth and development.
#6: Be honest. If they ask you whether you have applied for any job offers, tell them the truth. When I went for the PH interview, I told them that I already had a scholarship job offer from another company but I was still very interested in this job and I hope that they would consider having me on board”. Somehow, after knowing that the other company wants to offer you a job, they may end up trying to beat the other company in recruiting you as part of their team if they really like your personality that you’ve shown during the interview.
#7: Be positive and polite. Even if you are taken aback by the questions the interviewer has thrown your way, keep calm and try not to let if affect your hopes of getting the job. If you are going to say something negative, try to end off the sentence with something positive. Be polite and thank the interviewers sincerely after the interview. You may want to drop them a “Thank You” email to show your appreciation of having the opportunity for an interview with them.
(my “read more” link was supposed to appear but no idea why it isnt coming up D:)
There is a demand for social workers and only two local schools in Singapore offer the social work degree. UniSIM is a part-time program and it’s still considered as a private university (till 2018 when it becomes a public university i think) despite substantial government funding/grants for the programs. In terms of getting hired, NUS graduates would definitely be preferred as their curriculum is full-time and more rigorous. Let’s talk about non-social work degree programs. In Singapore, many companies prefer to hire graduates from public universities like NUS/NTU/SMU. Meritocracy is favored across the Ministries and Statutory Boards in SG…which is why education is largely emphasized by the government. Grads with FCH, and SCupper would have more advantages to being hired and often given better positions like policy implementation/review/planning. Recognition is given to students from ivy league schools like Harvard, Yale, MIT which produces cream of the crops. Scholars would have better career opportunities and faster promotions too. If you’re lucky, you can enter the civil service/public sector with a SClower or TCH. Sad but true thing is that employers would usually prefer to hire university graduates whose course duration was at least 3-4 years. For students who did offshore distance learning in SG (eg short 2 years courses) vs a degree obtained directly on campus overseas, your chances of being employed by the public service is really close to nothing. & It does matter which school you study at as well (eg Murdoch vs Monash, and JCU vs ANU, the latter would be more recognised). It would be better for you to work in the private sector instead, where meritocracy is less subtle.
One of the challenges I face now is accepting the fact that I would have to enter the workforce as a fresh graduate. Medical social work usually requires a minimum of 2 years of relevant work experience in a social work setting. For a diploma holder with 3 years of prior work experience with children, I have to humble myself and start all over again as a degree holder with a job in a totally different sector. I’d have to deal with social welfare, handle financial issues, adjust to working in a fast-paced environment, manage different sets of stressful situations, work with other multidisciplinary medical team members. On a positive note, all I can say is that I’m blessed to have secured this job, with a decent salary increment that’s > 30% of my previous job. I believe my previous job in the education sector + my ~5 years of voluntary work experiences with the youth mental health division in Health Promotion Board could have been stepping stones to pave the way. Having been comfortable in my government job, I hope that I will be able to adapt well to working in the private sector (thankfully my organisation is government-linked so the work there is structured and organised). I’m looking forward to the journey ahead as a Medical Social Worker and bring joy into the lives of the patients and their family (: