5 things not to say at a job interview in Singapore

Tips for Interviewees

5 things not to say at a job interview in Singapore

PHOTO: Pixabay

The job market isn't looking so hot this year. Even if you waltz into a job interview looking like a supermodel with a strong dose of professionalism, you can be sure the guy before you came in looking even better, plus he had a first class honours degree.

You need all the help you can get. That means you want to avoid saying anything stupid during interviews, like the following:

Of course the MRT broke down again! But guess what, the MRT breaks down all the damn time, so this excuse is not going to cut it.

Given the unreliability of the MRT these days, you might want to take a GrabCar/Uber to an important interview, or leave the house early enough to avoid the rush hour crowd.

Arriving at an interview the slightest bit late, for any reason other than because your entire family just died in a freak accident, will make you look like a flake.

I really need the money

The main reason most Singaporeans work is to put food on the table. But for your own sake, pretend it isn't true when you go for an interview. You might need the money, but the interviewer mustn't think that's the only reason you want the job.

That's because if the interviewer smells desperation and knows you'll take the job no matter what, the company will try to shortchange you and offer you as little as they think you'll accept when it comes time to negotiate salary.

So even if you really, really need the job, play it cool and make it seem like you've got other options.

How's the work-life balance at the company?

Most local bosses don't really want you to have work-life balance. They want work to become your life so they can exploit you.

But even if the company does have good work-life balance policies in place and genuinely cares that their employees not work themselves to death, refrain from asking about work-life balance at an interview.

It makes you sound lazy and uncommitted compared to other eager-beaver applicants who will no doubt act like they're willing to sacrifice their limbs for the job.

I didn't like my last job or boss

A great many job applicants interview for jobs because they can't wait to get away from their existing jobs or tyrannical bosses.

But whatever you do, don't mention your hatred of your job or boss to the interviewer. No matter how true your anecdotes of your unreasonable boss or dysfunctional company might be, the interviewer is going to see it as you trash-talking your employer-and draw the conclusion that this is something you could very well do to his company.

What's more, by showing you don't get along with your colleagues and bosses, you're not demonstrating what assholes they are-in the mind of the interviewer, you are signalling that you are the a**hole nobody gets along with.

I can't do OT because I have to pick my kid up from childcare

This is a tricky one. The government has been trying to get companies to stop driving down the birthrate any further with their inflexibility and obsession with face-time.

But still, employers continue to be wary about employing parents of young children who make it seem like their kids are always going to take priority over their jobs.

Of course, if you absolutely need special arrangements like staggered hours, you will at some point have to raise the issue with the company.

But try your best to make it seem like you're a great, dedicated employee who just happens to have a kid but never lets that get in the way of doing a good job.

Not all employers will be unsympathetic and discriminate  against you for being candid about having to leave on time. But some will, and if it's a job you really want, it might be wise to err on the side of caution.

Back to Career Resources »

Related Articles

    Shortage of skills, not jobs, could cause future unemployment to rise: Lim Swee Say

Shortage of skills, not jobs, could cause future unemployment to rise: Lim Swee Say

Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say speaks about the true cause of the current unemployment issue.

    Public transport sector to create over 8,000 jobs

Public transport sector to create over 8,000 jobs

The public transport sector will create more than 8,000 jobs by 2030, as current positions are developed and new careers created.

    5 ways job hunters make themselves look bad on their resumes

5 ways job hunters make themselves look bad on their resumes

As a working adult, you know the whole drill-when you decide you've had it with your abusive boss, you update your resume, type up a gushing, fulsome cover letter and then blitz every company that has an email address.

    Sculpted to perfection

Sculpted to perfection

Focus on substance to make your resumé stand out

    Electronics giant sets up farm in S'pore

Electronics giant sets up farm in S'pore

Panasonic's indoor farm in Jurong supplies veggies to restaurant chain

    A day at 'work' for kids of OCBC staff

A day at 'work' for kids of OCBC staff

The inaugural OCBC Kids@Work event drew in around 50 children on Friday