Simple Tips to Ace Interviews

Simple Tips to Ace Interviews

By Izatul Lyana 

Guest Writer, KOTO Association 

Do we need someone to lead us through the interview process?  

Yes, we do! Whether we seek advice or assistance from friends, lecturers, employers, or the internet, we still want guidance, particularly for recent graduates seeking employment. Got you a few tips before and during the interview! I hope it will assist you in your job search in the future. 

5 Tips before and during the interview 

1. Get enough research about the company 

According to Heather Huhman, he mentioned that there are 7 things to research before doing the job interview. To begin, conduct research about the talents and experience that the company requires. Second, become acquainted with the company’s main players and be informed on the company’s current events. Learn about the company’s mission, cultures, and values so we can determine whether or not we are a good fit for the company’s working environment. The next step is to determine who the company’s client is, as well as what product or service the company provides or produces. We can also read reviews of the company on various websites or blogs. Last but not least, finding about the person who will be interviewing you will help you in learning the interviewer’s background and their common interest. 

2. Practice answering frequently asked questions during the interview 

Start preparing for your interview by practice answering commonly asked questions. The most common question that will be asked by the interviewer is tell me about yourself. As we all know, the question seems simple but it’s crucial. Continue to describe yourself, including your strengths, work experience, and talents, rather than just introducing oneself. Other common interview questions include: how did you learn about this position, why should we hire you, what is your weakness, what is your best accomplishment, and so on. They will also present you with a circumstance and ask you to resolve the disagreement or issue. 

3. Understand the task and the role of the position  

Before applying for a job, you should study the job description that the company has published. Learn about the roles and the tasks that will be assigned to you. Recognize your abilities and determine how they relate to the role. Find essential factors such as required expertise, experience, and quality. Make sure that you are fully understanding about the role, your skills and experience will help you to become capable in doing the task. We always want a job that will challenge us, but not to the point where we will fail. Most of the time, a challenging yet achievable goal is a good goal. 

4. Make a list of the questions you want to ask during the interview beforehand. 

You can ask the interviewer a few questions, such as concerning the job scope and requiring the interviewer to explain on the job in precise terms. It will give the impression to the interviewer that you are genuinely interested in the job. Aside from that, you can inquire about how your performance will be evaluated if you are hired. Furthermore, inquiring about specific requirements that the organization seeks for that job will offer you a better grasp of the role, allowing you to determine whether or not the position is a good fit for you. 

5. Associate your skills with your accomplishments 

In terms of this topic, it might also be one of the questions asked during the interview. You may be able to connect it to a recent event. You can explain the situation and context of your accomplishment before relating it to your abilities. Briefly describe how your abilities enabled the event to be a success. How you overcome the challenge also will become one of your skills. After that, Explain the kind of results you achieved. When describing the outcome, if possible do mention the numbers and quantifiable facts. If possible, include numbers and quantitative facts while summarizing the conclusion. You can share facts or a slide about the incident to give your interviewer a positive impression of your accomplishment. 


Soft Skills: How Does It Impact Our Growth?

Soft Skills: How Does It Impact Our Growth?

Soft Skills: How Does It Impact Our Growth? 

Monica Shoshatre 

Guest Writer 

Soft skills are the personality types, behaviours, and interpersonal abilities that we use while interacting with others. They symbolise our ability to work successfully and peacefully with people in the workplace, and as such, they are precisely the sort of talents that employers want. To put it another way, soft skills are not generally linked to certain professions, but rather to our personalities, making them highly adaptable skills. Employers will respect any qualifications you have that indicate a willingness to enhance them, even if they’re less concrete than hard skills. 

The question is, what are the soft skills you need to achieve career growth—and how can you brush them out?  

Let’s find out. 

5 Top Soft Skills You’ll Require For Personal Growth 

1. Communication 

Your capacity to communicate successfully with people is the part of successful workplace communication. You will be more productive and accomplish greater outcomes if you can communicate to people effectively and respectfully while also listening empathetically to what colleagues, customers, or clients have to say. Communication is a highly important talent since it is used every day. It requires verbal, nonverbal, and written abilities, as well as an awareness of active listening. Practice makes perfect, as they say. You may enhance your communication by concentrating on the fundamentals, such as clarifying your message or evaluating how your body language may be affecting your communication skills 

2. Emotional Intelligence 

Emotional intelligence is commonly described as the capability to understand and regulate one’s own emotions as well as the feelings of others. It consists of five essential components: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social competence. It may not appear to be the most necessary skill for career growth and success, but it is in some situations. So, ask yourself, can you have the ability to empathise with others? Can you establish connection and pleasant interactions with others? Just think of a situation in your workplace where all of your emotions might have worked against you, and think of how would it affect you and your surroundings. This can be your first step in developing self-cautious and awareness to improve your emotional intelligence 

3. Team Player 

Unknowingly, you’ve been working on a soft skill: the ability to work effectively with people. Whether you’re an individual contributor or a people manager, you’ll have to collaborate with others in meetings, brainstorming sessions, and on a variety of cross-functional initiatives. Team harmony requires a positive, can-do attitude when dealing with others, which means you must be able to lead an efficient and inclusive meeting, be open to new ideas, and work respectfully with others. To get to know and operate effectively with each team member you encounter, you must develop this talent inside yourself. 

4. Adaptability 

The capacity to adapt to change and a good attitude toward change goes a long way toward building a successful career, regardless of your profession or field. If you’re uncomfortable with frequent changes on your team or at your firm, jot down your thoughts and feelings rather than addressing them right away. You’ll be able to differentiate real issues from complaints that don’t need to be shared with your team if you write down how you feel and why you feel that way. 

5. Active Listener 

You can pretty much tell when someone is hearing your words but not actively listening to them. Meanwhile, active listeners pay careful attention to meeting speakers, ask clarifying questions, and go back to notes during subsequent conversations. They don’t need things repeated since they already heard them, making active listeners not just courteous colleagues, but also more productive workers. One technique to challenge yourself to be a more active listener is to take minutes during meetings. 

Importance of Soft Skills 

Soft skills are required in almost all interactions with people. You may be negotiating terms contract, presenting your fresh concept to co-workers, networking for a new position, and so on at work. We apply soft skills on a daily basis at work, and honing them will help you earn more business and advance faster in your profession. 

Soft skills as communication are used outside of the job to form social groups and meet suitable partners. You may be discussing the cost of your new home’s makeover or spending the weekend teaching your next-door neighbours’ children. Both professionally and personally, soft skills are helpful. 

Let’s look at some specific examples of how soft skills are important. 

1. Promotion and progress in your career 

Employees with stronger soft skills are more likely to be promoted to management positions than those with more years of experience but lower soft skills. If you want to advance in your profession, you must acquire these abilities since they will set you apart from the competition in interviews and on the job. 

2. Soft skills are required by customers and clients. 

Consumers nowadays have a plethora of options for where to shop, thanks to the internet and smartphones. Because convenience and low costs are easy to come by for many customers, customer service is typically the deciding factor in their decision to utilise a certain company. The capacity to interact with consumers on a human level is so essential to a company’s growth. 

3. Recruiters demands person with good soft skills 

Soft skills are in great demand in the workplace and will continue to be so in the near future. As a result, we know that soft skills cannot be taught, therefore individuals must acquire them via self-learning and improvement to demonstrate to recruiters that they can adapt, despite the fact that this is difficult to automate. 

Above all, a positive mindset is what ties all of these soft skills together. It may sound corny, but thinking that there is a positive outcome in all difficult situations can help you get through the day-to-day of your job while also making others want to engage with you. These soft skills are more difficult to teach, but the reward might be even greater, so make sure you’re assessing and developing your soft skill set. Keep this in mind and try to move forward to ensure a better future! 


The Do’s and Don’ts of Bootstrapping a startup

The Do’s and Don’ts of Bootstrapping a startup

Akinpelu Babatola
Guest Writer

Bootstrapping a startup means launching the startup yourself without any sort of external funding. Usually, you would have to dip your hands into your savings and personal income to do this. This is a challenging thing to do, but an entrepreneur who succeeds at bootstrapping can expect to reap incredible benefits from it.

So how do you ensure you and your startup succeed at bootstrapping? Well, there is no way ensuring 100% success, but here are the Xpress Train’s dos and don’ts of bootstrapping to raise your chances.


  1. Do choose a worthy cofounder: Pick a cofounder that complements you. While they don’t need to have skills similar to yours, they should have something they can add to your startup. This will allow the easy assignment of tasks and responsibilities.
  2. Do cut your overhead expenses: Overhead expenses are the biggest drainers of funds for any business or startup. While bootstrapping, your funds are severely limited, so you should try as much as possible to reduce your overhead costs.
  3. Do limit things to just your team: Outsourcing can be an expensive venture if not adequately managed. As such, you should try to keep tasks within the team as much as possible. This will allow you to save on costs while also building on your team members’ existing skillsets.
  4. Do cut your personal expenses: While you should keep your business and personal lives separate most times, this doesn’t apply when you bootstrap a startup. Your personal funds are what is going into the business. So, you try as much as possible to reduce your personal spending, so you have more money to invest in your startup.
  5. Do sell your services: Angel investors are not the only ways to raise money for a startup. If you have a handy skill and some free time, sell that skill as a service to others. By doing this, you will raise additional funds that you can invest in your startup. No matter how little you make, remember that every cent counts.


  1. Don’t get a loan: Startups fail almost every day. Rather than racking up debt while launching, wait until you start to earn profit from the startup before even considering a loan.
  2. Don’t chase funds with just an idea: Angel investors and venture capitalists are more likely to open up their wallets if you already have something up and running. If you are still at the idea stage, try to build, launch and grow your startup alone, and the investors will come running later on.
  3. Don’t expect instant results: Startups are difficult work. They take years before they break even, and even more time before they begin to yield profits. So take your time, get your hands dirty, and the profits you want to see will undoubtedly come your way.
  4. Don’t give up: As we already mentioned, startups are difficult work. They are not meant for the faint of heart. So prepare yourself for the long journey and don’t give up along the way.


Virtual Hiring: What you should know

Virtual Hiring: What you should know

Josephine O. Edwards
Guest Writer

Many businesses have been forced to take their operations online thanks to the pandemic. For larger corporations with a prior online presence, this transition was relatively easy. But for smaller businesses or new startups, things haven’t exactly been easy.

Most entrepreneurs and business owners were initially focused on how to drive their products online. But as they soon discovered, existing in a digital space didn’t remove the need to hire or recruit new staff. Instead, it only changed the process into a virtual one, birthing what is now known as virtual hiring or virtual recruiting.

Together, we will take a look at what the virtual hiring process is all about. Let’s get started.

What is Virtual Hiring?

As the name implies, it is a hiring process that takes place virtually. It involves remotely interviewing potential candidates without any face-to-face or physical interaction. The entire process is possible, thanks to current technology trends.

Thanks to recent technological innovations like video conferencing and other chat solutions, businesses can now hire, train, or onboard staff anywhere in the world.

Virtual hiring sets itself apart from the normal recruitment process in many ways. However, the most distinct difference lies in the fact that it can be an automated process. Recruiters can choose to administer the interviews themselves or have chatbots conduct the process on their behalf.  

It should also be noted that virtual events such as seminars, webinars and career fairs can be considered forms of virtual hiring.

So what are the pros and cons of this new hiring process? Let’s take a look.

 Pros of Virtual Hiring

Currently, the most significant advantage of virtual hiring is that it makes it safe to meet, albeit virtually. Businesses can still hold interviews and meetings while keeping their employees and candidates safe from the pandemic.

 Other advantages of virtual hiring include

  • It reduces the cost of the recruitment process. Rather than having to do things manually, virtual hiring allows for automation. Through this, the expenses a business might incur from hosting an interview are significantly reduced.
  • It saves time and protects the schedules of all involved. By taking advantage of the digital process, recruiters can conduct more interviews in a shorter time. Chatbots, online assessments, and one-way video interviews are tools that can help with this.  
  • It reduces bias and opens doors to the global labour market. Virtual hiring can take place remotely. As such, recruiters can interview and hire candidates from all over the world. Thanks to this, they can also avoid some hiring biases and pick candidates who are most suited for the job.

Cons of Virtual Hiring

Virtual hiring isn’t a perfect process. While it has its benefits, it also has drawbacks that limit its impact. These drawbacks aren’t necessarily absolute limitations, but they are challenges that must be navigated with care.

The limitations of virtual hiring are

  • It is difficult to determine if a candidate is a right fit for your business. Physical interviews allow recruiters to gauge how well a candidate will match your business culture. Virtual interviews do not offer this benefit; you may hire a candidate only to discover they don’t fit in with your team.  
  • The experience of the candidate could suffer. Doing things virtually may cause a communication gap between you and your new employees. As such, they may end up feeling undervalued and removed from the other team members. If care is not taken, this might cause a drop in performance or even lead to them leaving the business.

Virtual hiring does bring change to the recruitment process. But it is up to you as an entrepreneur or business owner to fine-tune the process. That is the only way to ensure your efforts aren’t wasted.


Does your startup really need venture capitalists?

Does your startup really need venture capitalists?

Akinpelu Babatola
Guest Writer

Launching a startup is no easy feat. You will need not just a feasible idea but a whole lot of money too. Usually, most small scale startups are funded from the personal pockets of the owner(s). In order situations, they tend to source money from others.

One of such sources is venture capital.  

A startup can quickly raise most of its necessary funds and start operations pretty quickly by choosing this option. But the question remains, is it really worth it?

To answer that, we must go about learning what venture capital is, and the pros and cons of venture capital.

Let’s begin

What is venture capital?

Simply put, venture capital is funds provided by an investor in exchange for equity shares in your company. Investors are usually classified as venture capital funds or angel investors.

Venture capital funds are known for investing in several companies; usually referred to as a portfolio. While not all of these investments earn returns, most do and end up paying back their investments.

Angel investors, on the other hand, are individuals with funds to spare for investments. Typically, they choose one company or industry that they are familiar with to invest in.

Regardless of which type of investor you find, they have specific characteristics in common. Some of which are,

  • They usually vet your startup or business before investing in it
  • They are willing to be patient and earn their returns over a long period.
  • They exchange their funds as investments to have a say in how your startup operates.

The Pros and Cons

The Pros:

  • It is a source of funds: Venture capitalists usually provide all the necessary funds you need to get your startup up and running. If you are also trying to grow your business beyond what it currently is, consider finding such an investor.
  • It is a source of necessary resources: Venture capitalists are not just sources of funds. They are also willing to shoulder the burden of providing some resources and connections that you might need. This eliminates the need to start from point zero in any market.

The Cons

  • Your goals might differ: the main point of any investment is to earn returns on it. While venture capitalists may be patient to play the long game, they also want to earn profits. This may lead to them selling their stocks or exiting the company at a later point if your goals start to differ.
  • You lose your independence: Once you bring a venture capitalist on board, they end up having a say in how you operate. You have to run your decisions by them, and depending on how much stock you gave away in exchange for funds, you may end up having to do things their own way.  

Before bringing on a venture capitalist, you should weigh the projected benefits against the potential demerits. If you are unsure, then it’s best to turn to other sources for your required funds. If you can handle having them on board, then, by all means, go for it.


How to grow your business

How to grow your business

Josephine O. Edwards
Guest Writer

Build, launch, and grow; these three words define the journey of any startup or business. Building and launching might be daunting, but they aren’t as difficult as they appear. Growing is another issue entirely.

Ask any established business owner; they will tell you the same.

Growing a business is an uphill task. It takes a lot of effort, time, dedication and sometimes, even risks. The change you want to see won’t happen overnight, or even during the coming week.

Instead it will be a gradual change that will require you to keep moving forward in other to achieve it.

If you are serious about growing your business and think you have what it takes to keep going, here are some of our tips on how to grow your business.

  1. Improve customer loyalty: Most startups choose to focus more on getting new customers. While this is not a bad idea, your efforts could become wasted if your customers are not loyal. You have to make sure that your customers keep buying from you and not your rivals. To achieve this, you can reward them for their loyalty and remind them that you appreciate their business.
  2. Take advantage of social media: Without a doubt, social media is one of the most popular technology trends currently. New platforms keep popping up one after the other every day. It would be best if you took advantage of as many social media platforms as possible to grow your business. This will improve your business reach and readily provide information about any of your business’ promo events.
  3. Network as much as possible: A business does not grow by staying in the same place. Make sure to attend as many networking events that are related to your startup as possible. You will come across people who are willing to help or provide insight into improving operations. So take your time to network and build connections for your business.
  4. Improve your customer service: if you manage to impress your customers with your customer service skills, then chances are they will come back to buy from you or use your service. If you provide discounts to your customers on some particular goods, they are bound to spread the word about your business to others too. This will yield more customers for you as well as loyal customers too.
  5. Source for more funds: Growth is impossible without extra funds. You can acquire these funds in several ways. Investors may be asked to invest more, banks may provide you with loans, or you can use personal funds. As long as you can raise the necessary funds, then your business is bound to grow if managed correctly.