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Interviews Review

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Alhamdulillah, last week was such an overwhelming week for me. After the news on Sunday, Monday, when everybody was supposed to be on holiday, Nuzul Quran, I took some time off the day to do a job interview.

  1. Byond Success
  2. Honestbee
  3. Shopee.com
  4. Qdees
  5. Cosmoderm

All either for a graphic designer position, content writer, speech and drama writer or corp. comm. exec.

A lot of the interviews I went for, as soon as I reached the office, required that I fill up a form that basically reiterates what’s already in the CV. I do not agree with the typical Malaysian companies that request we inform them of our family background, race, religion, age, IC and other personal information that is just too personal and nothing to do with the professional job scope. Maybe I wouldn’t mind so much to disclose those infos after recruitment but prior to that, it’s just plain intrusion of one’s private space. Those companies could be selling my profile, personal details…who knows. Abe reminded me not to put my IC on my CV as CVs gets dropped and fly everywhere especially on the internet. Even a passport photo is not necessary. I base my reasoning on the way American headhunters conduct their interviews.

Generally, employers should avoid questions that relate to classes that are protected by discrimination laws. – See more at: http://employment.findlaw.com/hiring-process/legal-rights-during-the-hiring-process.html#sthash.snlkAEzL.dpuf

Sigh, maybe Malaysia is just not there yet.

Woman during job interview and four elegant members of management; Shutterstock ID 370947476; PO: angelikiJ-for robin kawakami

1. First up, a quite renown business management consultant agency. After filling up the application form and personality test, I was called into a room that I should have been interviewed by a lady. Apparently there were two ladies. As the interview went on, a third on entered the room. The first big question they asked was “How long would you take to design a 200 page book?”. With no clear instruction whatsoever. So funny la. How would I know…a cover page with the same page layout inside or every page requires different layout or what? Is it a guide book, story book or etc? Copy writing provided? Photos? There wasn’t an example that they could show. All she said was, “Oh, it’s supposed to be in this laptop…but I would need to take the charger because it has ran out of battery”. After other questions being asked, they put me in a position where I had to design a cover page in 30 minutes. They provide a laptop (which I offered to use mine) but they took sometime and was struggling to get the internet going, so I offered to use my portable modem. Yes, I came prepared except for the part that it died on me, 5 minutes into it. Haih.Still, the interview lasted 3 hours. apparently they work 6 days a week, not including outside events. Ok. Pass. Plus, I thought they could’ve been more prepared and professional at handling interviewees.

2. An online startup that offers retail services and delivery. We had a face to face interview last week but they had been pretty slow at coming back to me as a follow up. 10 minutes after sending my CV, they asked if I could come now to Publika where their office is with a portfolio. Since it was impossible for me to come prepared in such a short notice, I requested to reschedule for tomorrow. It was all fine and good. Second stage to the recruitment, they asked when was the best time for me to do their design assignment. Just a simple design work in an hour’s time. The day I reserved to do the test, they didn’t reply to me. The day they decided to set me up for the test, I couldn’t possibly decline because I didn’t want to prolong the process unnecessarily but it was the day when I had to baby sit Miss B at home. Apparently from 10:30 – 1:30pm they gave four items to design i.e. a landing page banner, an EMD (email marketing campaign),  an FB post and an animated GIF. No logos of the company provided, no photos/logo associated to the brands as requested and no copywriting whatsoever. According to them since I’m good at writing, I could create my own content. Not while designing in such limited time, ma’am. Plus, I’ve never done any animated GIF before, some more. So imagine intermittently Ms. B wanted attention and required UHU (breastfeeding). While the clock was ticking, I tried to put Miss B together with myself, twice into bed. Overall she knocked off around 30 minutes plus off my three hours, she slept on my lap while I was designing and breastfeeding. Then Youtubeed tutorials how to do GIF. OK la, apart from the content writing, I did my best and surprised myself that I managed to finished them on time. The only thing that holds my back is the fact that the usually work over time and stay until late.

3. Thursday, I had a task and an appointment. That morning I did a content writing task. This company was reasonable. Clear instruction, good sample as an example, informed me of target market, 300 words in an hour. Salute salute.

4. That evening I had an appointment with an internationally well known edutainment nursery. It was in Cyberjaya…very ideal for me. I arrived on the dot 3:30pm after scouting through in the what seem like a deserted, spooky building. Usually I would onsite arrive 20 minutes before. It was weirdly quiet and nobody was around. With no signboard or signage of the company whatsoever, I was so glad I bumped into a janitor who asked me to go one level up, where I would find doors to many offices. Still, no signage and no sign of living. I knocked on the door and was asked to wait BEHIND the front desk. Oh I got the job already? Haha. Well, they didn’t really have a waiting space. For an internationally renown company, I expected a more lively space for their employees. The small space was crowded, dark but filled with their creatives – web developer, video editor, designer. It was so uninspiring. Already, I judged and my judgment says I didn’t want to work there. Seriously men. I felt so sad for them. These are creative people with big screens. They need air to breath and some colours on the wall. Still, no signage anywhere. It was quiet and everybody looked so serious. Oh dear…soon after I filled in the application form (againnn…plus, so the lengthy one laa), I was handed three blank sheets of A4. The lady said, “Now please make up a creative story for a pre primary school kids while including a good moral and an idiom. No internet, no reference. You are given half an hour, no words limit, you may use all these sheets”. Great. Really. Great. Im dead. Before I could complain thinking how I was going to be buried, maashallah, Allah out of nowhere inspired me with a story from a blog that I read in the morning before coming to this interview. Proudduck! haha and the story of “Those Black Things“. I added how they reminded me (as a child) of my neighbour’s (actually my arwah aunty), face moulds that were sharp and always poking me face when she kissed me. I was then brought into a meeting room and met the boss. She killer questions and was quite cold until she read my piece of writing. She then offered me a list of positions and introduced me to the Creative Manager at a different branch. Kelana Jaya. Oh dear…not so ideal anymore. The interview went OK but I wished there was something for me at Cybeyjaya instead of Kelana Jaya.

5. By Friday I was already burned out. Like seriously burned out plus, headache and bad morning sickness. Abe already advised not o go and I was leaping with joy on the inside. Knowing me, I cannot lie to myself saying that I have done my best when I plan to miss one just because “I’m burned out” or “feeling sickly”. Nope. Those are just excuses. Allah presented me with all these sources of rezq, I should at least show my gratification by going to all the interviews no matter how badly I screw up. So, while melepek on the floor like nangka busuk, I browsed through the company’s background and CEO. To my surprise, it’s a Muslim lady. Ok in that case, I had to do better than good. S required by the company, I should come prepared with the application form filled in (sent through email in advance. 100 points for this company!!! Saved so much time of the interview) and 10 minutes presentation analysing their digital platform and report. This was soo my thing! There were four execs. facing me including the CEO. They work 10-6pm, 3 month maternity leave, quite high salary basic, a full day event on weekends would be replaced with days off within a month. I was put on the spot when towards the end, the CEO asked to reveal my facebook and IG pages. Wow…totally floored. Their judgment was based on my captions. Thank God I had nothing to hide. Overall, I get the sense that this company offers the most reasonable and fair work life balance. I was offered on the spot and was given the weekend to finalize my decision. They are however, going to move to a new compound in Klang which is like an hour away from my place. Yikes. If they do so offer such heavenly and ideal work-lifestyle, I would consider moving with the company, hence moving home. That’s life. There’s always a give and take. May Allah help me thrive in this biotech company!

Thank you Allah for moving my heart to go for the last interview. I do have another one supposedly this week but I happily declined, inshallah knowing whole heartedly that I have done my best and settled with the one most suited for me thus far. Preggie or not preggie, I now know that I could not afford to be a stay at home mom for the time being. I hope this is best for both my family and I. I reflected back on my niyyah why I decided to quit my job last year and took care of Ms. B myself. Until I was convinced that I have found the best place for her, I wouldn’t let her go to just any day care. May Allah help those other mothers who want to go back into the workforce for the same niyyah I had when I decided to leave it. This is also part of prioritising family, in order that we could have a peace of mind toiling away for a piece of rezq. He knows your struggle. Don’t give up ladies! Don’t settle for less on anything that would cost your family.

From this you can tell that there according to the positions applied, there are many styles and stages of interview before you could land yourself a job. Give it time, don’t rush nor think that there’s nothing for you. Have hope, do your best and pray always.

Tips and Tricks

  1. Come prepared (with transcript of your educational backgrounds even though you are applying as an experienced professional applicant and not as a fresh grad)
  2. Expect the unexpected
  3. Always keep yourself in the loop of the industry you are in. You might be asked!
  4. Come in presentable and confident
  5. Practice the FAQs!
  6. Bring your laptop just in case they need an extra insights to your work
  7. Come in early
  8. Keep an open mind to whatever they may present
  9. Always reply in affirmative even though you may have decided that the company is not for you (you could always reject later)
  10. Check out the company’s review and rating first on Jobstreet, Glassdoor and their social media. Google review might have something in store for you too 🙂

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