Handling Tough Questions with Great Answers – The Commonality between Dating and Job Interview


“What are your weaknesses?”

  • No “correct” answer
  • Don’t share weaknesses related to the job at hand
  • Take a weakness and put a positive spin on it
  • Tell the employer how you’re improving upon it
  • Don’t give a strength disguised as a weakness (for example, “I am a perfectionist.”)

“Why did you leave your last job?”

  • Employers want to see if you’ll talk badly about your former employer
  • Don’t give into the temptation!
  • Even if you left for negative reasons, an interview is not the proper place to share dirt about your last employer
  • Stay professional
  • Great answer:“The cultural fit wasn’t right for me at that organization. This company would be much better because of [something in the culture you’ve researched].”

“Tell me about yourself.”

  • Keep your answer concise but comprehensive
  • A prepared elevator speech (30-to 60-second pitch about yourself) is a great tool to use for answering this question
  • Talk about accomplishments, traits, education and experience
  • Resist the urge to drone on and on –the interviewer will be asking more questions. No need to share your life story!

“Tell me about the worst boss you’ve ever had.”

  • Again, resist the temptation to divulge dirt on past experiences
  • Don’t vent frustrations
  • Great answer: “I’ve had all types of bosses, and some were much better than others at managing and communication.” It’s broad enough so you don’t come across as unprofessional, but still answers the question

“Why should I hire you?”

  • To answer this question, you need to have a strong handle on your fit at the organization—which requires some research
  • Perhaps you see that the organization lacks a clear marketing strategy, something you have experience in creating and implementing
  • Depending on what you find and your unique selling points, answer confidently and show the hiring manager how you will benefit the organization if they hire you
  • Talk about past accomplishments
  • Make them want to hire you

“Give me an example of a time when you had to [work in a team, think on your feet, work with a difficult client, etc.]…”

  • This is where the accomplishment stories in your cover letter and resume can come in handy
  • The worst thing you can do when asked to give an example of something is to panic and fail to come up with one
  • Come prepared with several stories that you can share about past experiences to show that you are capable in a variety of situations

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

  • Show that you’ve thought about sticking around the company and possibly moving up in the organization.
  • However, don’t say you see yourself in your interviewer’s position!
  • Discuss how your skills and traits can help you excel at the current position and benefit the company in the future
  • Don’t share anything too personal, such as plans to start a family or travel the world, which could take you out of the running for the job

DOs & DON’Ts

DO be courteous and respectful of every employee at the organization

  • You make your first impression at the receptionist or secretary
  • Make it a positive one!

DO bring extra resumesand/or your portfolio to the interview

  • The hiring manager might not have a copy in front of them or it could get lost in the shuffle
  • Your portfolio is a great tool to use to share examples of past work

DO give detailed examples along with your answers

  • Use accomplishment stories, past work assignments and projects and workplace situations to explain your point

DON’T answer questions in one word

  • A simple “yes” or “no” often isn’t enough explanation

DON’T inquire about salary/benefits/vacation/ etc.

  • There’s an appropriate time and place for this—and it’s not during your initial interview

DO ask for the interviewer’s business card and hand them one of your own.

  • This ensures you have the proper spelling of their name, their email address and telephone number

DO be honest and be yourself

  • Don’t exaggerate or lie during the interview
  • The hiring manager will likely find out and you’ll diminish your chances at landing the job

DO ask great questions

  • It shows your interest in the organization
  • It conveys passion about the opening

DO close the interview telling the interviewer(s) you want the job and asking about next steps

  • This helps to determine when you should follow-up and gives you a general sense of the timeline for the opening

DO write a thank you card after to the interview

  • Genuinely thank the employer for their time
  • Reiterate things you spoke about during the interview

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The “naked” truth of Andrew’s bicycle

My friend Yann did this video after I told him I appreciated his creative editing talents.

It was fun, more professional than most home-made videos and creative.

There are so many thoughts running through my mind after receiving this video…

1. We need to think and feel like a child at times when we get more creativity. Thinking out of the box requires certain humor at times. It’s good to be professional but the fun is gone if we are too serious for the sake of “looking too professional”

2. The video reminded me some natural talents I had when I was a child. Incidentally, I learned how to ride a bicycle almost instantaneously without anyone teaching me. The sense of balance was perfect at age 7. There are certain things in life we are naturally good at. Use it to the fullest. Some of them are discovered late but they are there for a reason, have we discover them?

3. We all have dreams when young to be someone great! I idolizes Bruce Lee in the early 70s and cried when he passed away. What influenced me wasn’t his fighting skills but his thought leadership which impacted the world in terms of extreme sports, dieting, art, and music. Most of the present thought leaders modeled Bruce’s philosophy of the “flow” or “way”. Are we still flowing with our dreams now that we are adults? Are we letting things come to us rather than going for it? Timing and shortest possible way is the foundation of Bruce Lee’s teaching :)

4. What did Yann see in me to relate it to a naked bicycle rider? :) Does he see me as someone really different? or does it shows the view of my world in his eyes. Only he can tell….but i enjoy the fun he brings to my life. Maybe I shall have my share of “revenge” in producing something similar for him :)

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What do dating and job interviews have in common?

CareerClicks! Seminar Series 3 presents…

What Do Dating & Job Interviews Have In Common?

Speaker : Andrew Chow

Date : 28 July 2011 (Thu),  Time : 11.30am -1.00pm

Venue : Centre for Management Development, ST Electronics (e-services) Pte Ltd

Address : 11 Tampines Concourse #01-01 S528729 (Gerbera Room)

Call 6876 5645 to register for the seminar

*Seats are on a first come first basis.


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How to establish rapport with 9 different personality types

The Enneagram is a system of personality development with ancient roots, based on what we can observe about how people think, feel, and behave. The word Enneagram comes from the Greek. ‘Ennea’ means nine and ‘gram’ means something written or drawn. The Enneagram is a nine-pointed figure drawn to represent the nine types of people and their relationship to one another

Type 1 – Mr Reformer is realistic, conscientious, and principled. They strive to live up to their high ideals. Being self-disciplined and working hard are his virtues.  They are always striving to be the best to bring out the best in their partner. The flip side is the high standard he has often make him disappointed with himself and his partner.  The way to establish rapport with Mr Perfectionist is to share his responsibility and never let him feel he is doing all the way. Acknowledge his achievement often, re-assure him he is doing well, and remind him you value his advice.

Type 2 – Mr Helpful is warm, concerned, nurturing, and sensitive to other people’s needs. He can relate easily to people and to make friends. He finds it very hard to say NO to anyone and often suppress their own feeling, and may eventually feel drained of over helping you. The way to get along with him is to tell him how much you appreciate him and be specific about it. Try to take great interest in his problem. If you really need to criticize him, be very gentle in your approach.

Type 3 – Mr Achiever is energetic, optimistic, self-assured and goal-oriented. They are able to recover from setback quickly and be driven again. They have no problem motivating you in life. However, they have little patience with people who are inefficient. They love to compare themselves with those who fare better in life, due to the struggle they have in hanging on to success. If you are dating Mr Achiever, you should leave him alone when he is busy with his work, try not to burden him with negative emotions unless you really need to share.

Type 4 – Individuals have sensitive feelings and are warm and perceptive. He is often creative and has ability to find meaning in life. Being perceptive and sensitive, they are able to pick up your feeling easily. However, they often very hurt when you misunderstand him. They may take a long time to forgive and forget. The way to connect with him is to be a supportive partner. Compliments means the world to him, as the world revolve around them. Never tell him he is too sensitive.

Type 5 – Investigators have a need for knowledge and are introverted, curious, analytical, and insightful. Mr Observer is able to stand back and view life objectively, very calm in a crisis. However, they are often seen as “slow” in showing their knowledge and insight to you. At the same time, they cannot stand other with less skills and talent doing better than them.  When you communicate with him, be brief and straightforward. Always remember, when he seems aloof, distant, or arrogant, it may be that he is just feeling uncomfortable.

Type 6 – Loyalists are responsible, trustworthy, and value loyalty to family, friends, groups, and causes. Their personalities range broadly from reserved and timid to outspoken and confrontational. Their weakness is procrastination mainly due to the fear of failure. They wear themselves out by too much worrying. To build rapport with Mr Loyalist, you need to be direct and clear. Do not judge him for his anxiety, assuring him consistently that everything is OK.

Type 7  - Adventurers are energetic, lively, and optimistic. They want to contribute to the world. Optimistic and spontaneous, they are usually outspoken. However, they always find not enough time to do all the things they want. They seldom finish what they started probably due to lack of focus. To get along with Mr Adventure, you need to engage with stimulating conversation and share plenty of laugher. Listen to his stories, appreciate his vision and do not try to change him.

Type 8 – Asserters are direct, self-reliant, self-confident, and protective. They always take charge and meet challenges head on. He may be extremely protective over you while being straightforward and honest. However, at times, he overwhelms others with his bluntness and drives others away inadvertently. May be extremely impatient at times and put too much pressure on himself. The way to connect with Mr Asserter is to be confident, strong and direct. Share your fears and give him space to be alone.

Type 9 – Peacemakers are receptive, good-natured, and supportive. They seek union with others and the world around them. Often non judgemental and very concerned about others around him. Has ability to see your side of the argument most of the time. However, they are confused about what they really want and often feel they are not being taken seriously. If you want him to do something, the way you ask is very important. He doesnt like expectations or pressure. Give him time to arrive at a decision.


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Personal Branding : YOU 2.0 on Social Media

Mindef Shared Service has invited Karen Leong and myself to speak on “Work the headhunter Scene” and “Personal Branding : YOU 2.0 on Social Media” respectively to a group of transitional SAF senior officers at Marina Mandarin Hotel on 28 Jul, 2-5pm

My outline is :

  1. Embracing the Social Media wave
  2. Expand your social network through Facebook
  3. Enjoy the Linkedin connection with influencers
  4. Elevate your thought leadership on Twitter

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www.andrewchow.sg is listed on Sgblog.com as “Ideasandrew”

Today is a great day as I was just told that sgblog.com has accepted my requested for listing as “Ideasandrew

http://www.sgblog.com/home/detail/4588/ideasandrew.htmlAbout SgBblog

About Sgblog.com

Started by Singaporeans. For Singapore.

They took roots in early 2004, started off as a community site and forum for Singapore bloggers to meet and get to know each other.

July 2004, they hosted a2e blog diary of 2 cyclists who cycled from Artic 2 Equator. SK and Sean shared their tales from Finland back to Singapore. By Jan 2006, after 25 countries, >23,000km and 17 months & 21 days, they finally made it BACK!

Since Sept 2006, SGBlog was relaunched as “The Singapore’s Blog directory” to provide local bloggers an avenue to promote their blogs and as an useful resource for fellow bloggers or international readers to find blogs written by Singaporeans.

In April 2007, they upgraded our directory to provide much improve listing features that allow blogs to be better search & more clearly listed. They enable members or visitors to review blogs and make it easy to recommend them to friends.

Over a period of 1 year, they have over 1300+ Singapore blog listings in over 186 categories. Thank you for all your wonderful support as they continue striving to be the most comprehensive and useful Singapore blog directory!



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Leveraging on Social Media for Strategic Marketing

14 July is an event day for me, shortly after finishing a talk in North East CDC, I rushed down to Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay hotel for Strategic Marketing Forum organised by the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM).

I am placed as the final speaker to wrap up the day.


Enterprises today are tasked with challenges to successfully implement good strategies, initiatives and ideas to achieve the desired results. Business needs are changing rapidly; active competition generates more choices and new technologies alter the business landscape. Pressured with volatile economic climate, restructuring, privatisation, downsizing and stiffer competition behind them, enterprises need to concentrate on growth and protect their business interests more than ever. This should begin with the marketing strategy.

This two-day forum is designed to provide an ideal platform to learn about how today’s consumers think and behave, how they react to the various media profiles and campaigns, where they search for information on products and services, what values organisations should develop and highlight to best meet their customers’ expectations, etc.

This forum is not just about marketing mix, brand extension, communication strategies or channel marketing. It also strives to look towards the future and provide insights for a successful relationship with the customers and clients. You will also gain practical knowledge on social media, emerging trends and marketing ROI, as well as from real case-studies.


Benefits to You

This forum is also a good opportunity to interact with a leading panel of speakers, and learn about:

·        New Perspectives on International Marketing

·        How to Align Marketing with the Corporate Business Strategy

·        Getting Valuable Customer Understanding from Your Research

·        The Rise and Wherefores of Social Media

·        How to Create Brands with Emotions

·        Defining and Measuring True Marketing Success Metrics

·        Why Everything in Marketing Has Changed and What to Do About It, etc.


Programme Outline

CONFERENCE – Thursday (July 14, 2011):


·         Product and Marketing Innovation Strategies

By Angela Koch, Chief Ideas Facilitator, Invitro Innovation

·         Revenue Accelerating Marketing and PR Strategies

By Frederic Moraillon, Executive Director & Co-founder, Anthony Alexander Partners

·         Strategic Marketing Research and Analysis

By Mike Sherman, Marketing/Insights and CRM Consultant

·         Aligning Marketing with the Corporate Business Strategy

By Jitain Shah Singh, Managing Director, Strategy Plus Consultants


·         How to Create Brand with Emotions

By Shauna Li Roolvink, Principal Consultant, BrandHub

·         Digital Marketing in Creating an Effective Brand Identity

By Shauna Li Roolvink, Principal Consultant, BrandHub

·         Measuring True Brand and Marketing ROI

By Angela Sim, Managing Director, Roi Strategy Consultants

·         Leveraging Social Media

By Andrew Chow, Founder, IdeaMart (Singapore)


WORKSHOP – Friday (July 15, 2011):


Workshop I:

Designing and Implementing A Strategic Marketing Plan

By Jitain Shah Singh, Managing Director, Strategy Plus Consultants


Workshop II:

Designing and Implementing An Effective Integrated Marketing Communications Plan

By Pamela Wigglesworth, Founder of Experiential Hands-on Learning


Who Must Attend

Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), VPs/Directors/GMs/Managers/Team Leaders/Senior Executives who are in charge of Strategic Marketing, which includes the areas of Branding, Marketing Communications, Advertising & Promotions, Customer Experience, Market Research, Business Development & Sales, etc.

Through open discussions and share of knowledge, you will get a practical perspective that shapes today’s marketing strategies and best practices:

·        Thought leaders providing insights into forthcoming marketing trends

·        Designed around your needs through industry research and analysis

·        Interactive workshops focused on practical solutions

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World Shaker & History Maker in our own small ways

I was very honoured to be invited to share “How to stay relevant by being social media-savvy” to a group mature PMET job-seekers in CareerClicks organised by North-East Community Development Centre (CDC) on Thursday 14 July.  I am truly humbled by some of the positive feedback received from Facebook and written copy. They are so keen to learn something new and inspiring in social media to position themselves better in order to stay relevant in this fast-paced world.

All other CDCs are welcome to invite me as keynote speaker to deliver inspiration and influence in social media or networking talks.


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IDEAMART : A Portal built for Exchange of Ideas about the Marketplace


Main portal page : IDEAMART

Finally after more than a year, I have created the portal I envisioned. A place where a community of social media savvy people can come together for exchange, testing and brainstorming of ideas for the marketplace.

IDEAMART, which is the portal named after my company for Brand Communication purpose, has the following features:


a. Membership profiling

b. Network structuring

c. Content Management

d. Activity Feeds

e. Advertising Opportunities

f. Anti-spamming features

g. Private Messaging

h. Membership Billing (option only)

i. System admin tools

j. Browse and Search

Additional Plug-ins : Members can enjoy the following

1. Album

2. Blog

3. Events

4. Groups

5. Forum

6. Chat/IM

7. Video sharing

8. Music sharing

9. Classified

10. Polls

11. Mobile version

IDEAMART makes diverse styles of social networking possible. You decide how your own community of friends will connect, share, and interact with each other. The objective is to share and exchange ideas to bring us to the next level in our business journey in the marketplace.



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