10 Expert Interview Tips Singapore – Career Guide

The cornerstone of every successful hire all too often lies in one’s performance during the interview. Interviews indeed can be daunting, but with this Expert Interview Guide, you will be provided with interview tips to nail your dream job! Learn these 10 interview tips from the Experts.


Before the Interview

Interview Tip #1 – Do your research

Preparation is key for an interview. 

The most helpful job interview tip we would provide you from the Expert point of view, would be : Prepare and research for the interview. This will require efforts on your part to set your mind first to be truly present at the interview and secondly by preparing, ahead of time, the possible questions that would be asked of you and developing compelling answers.  Yes, we said, ‘compelling’ and we mean it.  It is no point for you to give generic answers to the interview questions which do not qualify you as believable and intentional.  Preparation sometimes take  a minimum of 2 to 12 hours.

Some candidates believe they can succeed with only 10-15 minutes of last-minute preparation, quickly browsing company websites and related information.  They get all anxious because they did not digest the information ahead of time.  It is really  self-sabotaging, to not give yourself adequate time to digest the company and the expectations of the role. 

Hence, we really advise that you always do your homework on the hiring company. A good way to start is by learning about the team, achievements, and even their annual reports. Use the publicly available information on the Internet to help you understand how you would fit in and contribute to the needs of the employer.  We were very impressed with a Senior Analyst candidate who came well-prepared, having read the employer’s annual report. His readiness allowed him to articulate key answers effectively during the interview.

“A good way to start is by learning about the team, achievements and work they have done… to help you understand how you would fit in and contribute to the needs of the employer.” Knowing their customers and major competitors will also provide you with a competitive edge. 

Interview Tip #2 – Remember your documents

Do not forget to bring along important documents, such as transcripts and academic and professional certificates. These certificates are useful references especially when professional certificates are used to to back up academic qualification. e.g. you have picked up Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence skills, etc. to enhance your credibility to the role and qualify you as a better-fit candidate, then forgetting them may reflect poorly on you. Complete any necessary forms and documentation beforehand, as these tasks can be time-consuming. 

Interview Tip #3 – Do mock interviews

If possible, familiarise yourself with the interview by practicing with someone who understands the recruiting client’s culture or the direct hiring manager. As an Executive Search company, Citadel Search will be able to brief you on the culture and strategise questions that may be asked during the interview with candidates. 

You will be provided with professional guidance and interview tips to ace your interview. We will highlight specific questions potential employers might ask and brief you on the interview process to set clear expectations. We will then guide you and give feedback on your strengths and weaknesses.


Interview Tip #4 – Dress well

Dress appropriately for the interview. 

First impressions matter and the impression you want to make to your potential employers is one that exudes competence and professionalism. Your attire should be comfortable and professional.

For ladies, putting on basic make-up and accessorise sparingly shows you care to put in effort.  Make sure your hair is neat and your nails are tidy, maintaining them if colored.  

For men, roles that are in the Financial, Consulting/Professional Services sectors,  do wear leather laced closed shoes to project a more formal air. Choose a solid coloured dress shirt as a patterned design may be too flashy to an employer. The tie you should wear, however, depends on the job you are applying for, but a regular tie is always preferable to a skinny one. Wearing a suit is not mandatory, but recommended for senior executive positions.  However, if it is in the Technology, Innovation, Start-up, Manufacturing sectors, the requirement to dress formally may not be so critical. However, still be neat and tidy and not to turn up with an cringely shirt.  

On the topic of first impression, body language is key in job interviews, often speaking louder than words. Sitting up straight and maintaining good eye contact can show confidence and engagement, making a great first impression. 

A genuine smile can create a warm connection with the interviewer, while nodding occasionally shows you’re really listening. On the flip side, fidgeting, crossing your arms, or looking away might suggest you’re nervous or not fully interested. By being mindful of these non-verbal cues, you can reinforce what you’re saying and present yourself as both professional and approachable.   There was a candidate who enjoyed using hand gestures a lot, pointing and using his fingers to make a point. His gestures were very distracting, so we gave him feedback to restrain himself. He was surprised, admitting he hadn’t realized his body language was menacing and distracting until we pointed it out.



Interview Tip #5 – Use the STAR framework 

Use results-oriented instead of task-oriented language, announcing objective accomplishments instead of describing the job functions you do, during the interview. Familiarise yourself with the STAR framework: Situation or Task, the Actions you took, and Results you achieved. With over a decade of experience in grooming a diverse pool of talents for interviews, we have found that candidates who follow this framework usually engage the interviewers better and nail their interviews more successfully.

Why this framework? It helps address top interview questions about your prior experiences. Many candidates often provide basic answers that don’t showcase their specific competencies to potential employers. 

Following this framework will help you convey your skills and experiences effectively, convincing project managers that you’re a good fit for the team and a suitable team player. This approach smoothens the hiring process, avoiding a back-and-forth game between interviewee and interviewer.

Get into the mind of interviewers and learn how best to answer interview questions. Read this article here!


Interview Tip #6 – Ask questions to show interest

Always ask questions to show genuine interest in the job and to clear up misconceptions and doubts you may have. Avoid asking inane questions to show off what you know. Instead, ask short and concise questions related to whatever you have researched prior to the interview to evaluate if the role is something you can excel in. We suggest asking questions such as what deliverables are needed, how the role aligns with the team’s needs, or what qualities are sought for the role. This helps benchmark what you offer against the client’s expectations

By doing this, you’ll understand how your previous roles and work experiences can contribute to future projects. This could also help determine whether the role you applied for is suited for your career path. 

Confidence is good, but overconfidence is off-putting for many hiring managers. Nor should you be too meek and conservative. Instead, try to strike a balance by exuding quiet confidence while remaining humble.

As an Executive Search firm with more than a decade of experience, everyone here at Citadel Search has seen our fair share of candidates from both ends of the spectrum.

One professional candidate from private banking, for instance, was selected from a pool of candidates as he was the most talented amongst the few in Singapore who had a strong background in investment management. However, due to his defensive attitude, he had a dispute with the hiring manager and the interview ended up as an argument of philosophies. Of course, he didn’t get the job!


Interview Tip #7 – Don’t discuss salary too early 


Avoid asking about salary expectations and benefits unless the topic is raised, especially in the early stages of an interview. “While it may not immediately disqualify you from the job you applied for, it could cloud the judgment of the interviewers and create a bias that may work against you.

“Confidence is good, but overconfidence is off-putting for many hiring managers. Nor should you be too meek and conservative. Instead, try to strike a balance by exuding quiet confidence while remaining humble.”

Do not worry though – the job descriptions from the ad will usually detail the estimated range that could be offered. You don’t want to be seen as a greedy, money-grabbing person, do you?


After the Interview


Interview Tip #8 – Thank your Interviewer

An email to thank the Human Resource personnel immediately after the interview is usually well-received. However, you should be aware of who you send the email to. From our time liaising between clients, we know that certain industries, such as Banking, have a strict policy to disqualify candidates who disregard the chain of command for hiring. Communicating directly to the hiring managers is a huge no!

Of course, do not post anything regarding the interview on social media.


Interview Tip #9 – Inform your referees

Do also inform your references that they may be contacted. Give them a day or two to prepare themselves for it and seek to get references who have objective impressions of you. Additionally, if you are still working in your previous job, avoid using your direct boss (aka your previous employer) as a reference. Otherwise, things may get awkward…


Interview Tip #10 – Follow up with your recruitment consultant

Following up with the recruitment consultancy firm, like Citadel Search, who got you the interview is also a good step in showing sincerity.

Send an email three days after the interview, and then call the recruitment consultant agency again three days after that. Although you may want the job badly, hold back on calling them too often to follow up.

Once you have been accepted, it is in bad taste to negotiate for better terms or compare two or more job offers. If you wish to consider the offer, it’s important to communicate your decision criteria to the firm or employer. This allows them to understand the information you require to make a final decision.

Congratulations! You have successfully nailed your interview!

Not sure if you are fully prepared for your next big interview? Citadel can help to equip you with the skills you need to ace your interview! Check out our Interview Preparation Services or contact us  to get the help you need now!

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