I recently graduated with an MS in Marketing degree from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, and similar to all my classmates, I was eager to find the perfect job opportunity. Last month, I received an invite for a first round interview with Nielsen, Shanghai. It was my second interview after coming back to China so I did not prepare as well as I should have. Consequently, I learned three important lessons from the experience.
- Ask for the names of your interviewers beforehand and research the interviewers’ LinkedIn profiles or any information available. I should have researched the department, the team, and recent news about the company. I only looked through the HR LinkedIn profile but I did not know anything about the interviewers. Knowing the corporation is not enough, especially the multinational companies. I should have known the employer really well.
- Think deeper about the interview questions. I should have written answers for each sample interview question and consulted with others. If possible, I should have asked some professionals about the best answers for those questions. The Nielsen interviewers were not satisfied with my answers. For example, they asked “What skills can you contribute to the job?” I mentioned adaptability and communication skills. They highlighted that one is more related to their PR department and everyone needs adaptability.
- Find out why you genuinely want to join the company. The truth is that I do not have too much passion for Nielsen, but applied because of its reputation. They thought that my interpretation of workload in Nielsen is too naive and they didn’t believe I could really handle the workload. Before each interview, I should reflect on why I want to apply for a certain job.
I should have started job searching earlier, at least through the campus recruiting process. I didn’t pay too much attention to writing exams and doing practice questions. As for those companies with great reputation, it’s better to know something beyond the reputation before the interview. Also, dig deep into the industry you are passionate for. After all, the goal is a job you are interested in, not a job to have a job.