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 Message Boards » » Job Interviewing Page [1]  
balls deep
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Hello all,

I thought it might be a good idea to develop somewhat of a rolling advice column on job interviewing. Many of us have been in the work world for quite some time, have been through the interview process, and have interviewed others. Every year we see these threads pop up regarding what to do/expect in a job interview, so I think this type of thread would really help.

The school year is coming to an end, and no doubt, there are those out there going through this interview process right now. Lettuce share some knowledge.

I'll come back in a little while with some sample interview questions, and/or what to expect.

3/9/2011 9:21:09 PM

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i thought you need street cred to get into old school, how will this thread be helpful here? Please to move to Lounge

[Edited on March 10, 2011 at 3:22 AM. Reason : ^lol]

3/10/2011 3:22:04 AM

Thots and Prayers
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This isn't Chit Chat v2. hopefully EMCE will clean this shit up (including my post).

3/10/2011 9:20:15 AM

All American
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I could see this being helpful as a knowledge base rather than a dialogue.

3/10/2011 9:24:22 AM

balls deep
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So be it.

3/10/2011 10:02:05 AM

All American
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I've been on several interviews. The worst was for a dot com company. Got there and they were completely unprepared for the interview. Sat there for 20 mins in the lobby while they tried to figure out what to do with me.

I do all right with talk about yourself portion of the interview. The worst part for me involves the "do you have any questions for us". After sitting there for 30 mins listening to them discuss the job, what it entails, what they are looking for they always answer my questions. I never know what to ask other then when can I start. Only other thing I always stress about is when to follow up after the interview or how to say thank you, either hand written note or email.

3/10/2011 11:37:18 AM

All American
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The biggest key to interviewing is having confidence, appearing relaxed, and instead of just answering the questions, try to turn the interview into a conversation. If you can get the interviewer to put his/her list of questions down and just talk to you then you will most likely get to the next step in the process. Also, if you do this you will end up asking all your questions during the interview and at the end when they ask you if you have any questions you can either say that you already had things answered in the interview or take that time to ask about what the next steps in the process are. You could always keep a few questions for the end as well, things like what makes a new hire in this positions successful and the like work well. The thing is, if you end up turning it into a conversation they won't care if you have some great question at the end or not because you have already won them over.

For answering the typical questions I would suggest googling behavioral interview questions and prepare a list of answers and quantify everything if you can. Example, say worked on project x and saved the company y dollars instead of just talking about the project. Having thought about these types of questions in advance can help you begin an answer quicker avoiding the awkward silence. Of course it all comes back to appearing relaxed, confident, and turning the interview into a conversation since once that happens you won't have to worry about the typical interview questions anymore.

3/10/2011 1:04:59 PM

All American
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^^ ask about the work environment and daily life. you are trying to get a picture of how it would be to work it. ask people what they like and don't like about working there, etc.

people who have experience have no problem asking questions because they know its important to find out how the work environment is. That makes the job

3/11/2011 4:11:01 PM

Drunk yet Orderly
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I never understood the sending a thank you note... Some people we interview send something, some don't. It has zero impact on hiring someone. My recommendation is to not waste time with it, it will not get you the job and it will not cost you the job if you don't do it.

3/11/2011 4:25:01 PM

All American
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^ I agree that it might not make or break you getting the job but a well written, thoughtful thank you letter can help you out. If you don't just write a generic thank you letter but instead mention something that you discussed in your interview or something along those lines it could help by, if nothing else, putting your name in the managers mind again. I have also heard with smaller companies, they received an impressive thank you letter (not sure what made it impressive) from a candidate and although they already selected someone else for the position they held on to that persons name for when another position opened up. Just one more way to set yourself apart from the rest of the pack and while some managers will just toss it in the trash without giving it a second thought, it only takes a little time and couldn't hurt (unless you spell the managers name wrong ).

Of course I have gotten just as many job offers from companies that I wrote thank you notes for as ones I didn't so who knows if it actually made a difference or not. The only time I will write one in the future is if I can write something in the note that I think would help my chances and not just, "thank you for taking the time out of your day to interview me." An email will work as well.

3/11/2011 6:06:21 PM

All American
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Write a thank you note just because it's common courtesy, not because you think it'll get you a job.

If you work in a small or tightly knit industry, a nice thank you note at least sets the tone even if you don't get the job.

3/11/2011 8:49:15 PM

balls deep
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Quote :
"...If you work in a small or tightly knit industry..."

And on that note, I think it's very important to note that the world is a hell of a lot smaller than you might think it is. I recently (a year ago) transferred to a new city and a new job in a new line of work... guess what.... the tech lead on my customer's side knew who I was before we even met. She used to work with one of my former tech. leads years ago, and he gave her a call to tell her I was on the way...and to look out for me. I now have an extremely close relationship with her.

anyway, here are some interview questions that some might find helpful, whether you're interviewing, or are preparing for an interview:

Planning and organizing

o Tell me about the time when your course load in college was heaviest. How did you get all of your work done?
o What types of scheduling have you done on your job? Tell me about some of the things you’ve had to schedule.
o How have you determined what constitutes a top priority in scheduling your time? Give examples.
o We’ve all had times when there just weren’t enough hours in the day to get all of your work done. When and how has this happened to you?
o Have you been responsible for managing a project? Tell me about one of those situations.

o Have you ever worked on a group project in your course work? How did you make sure that the other group members were doing their share of the project?
o How do you keep track of progress on delegated projects for which you are responsible? Give me some specific examples.
o How do you measure the satisfaction of your internal/external customers? Give me a specific example.
o We all encounter situations in which we get sidetracked. How you ever forgotten to send information that you promised to send? Tell me about one of those situations. What were the consequences?
o How do you make sure that materials are ready and delivered when you need them? Give me some examples.
o Can you think of a time when you challenged the status quo and took a stand on an important issue? Provide an example.
o One time or another, we all have found unusual or different solutions to problems or opportunities. Tell me about one of those situations.
o Tell me about an approach you developed to improve or replace existing procedures or systems. How did you come up with that approach?
o Tell me about some projects or activities you generated on your own. What prompted you to begin them? How did they work out?
o Tell me about a time when you tried new methods for completing (blank)? What was the result?

Tolerance for stress
o What conditions have been the most stressful for you? Why? How did you respond?
o Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the responsibilities of your job? Explain.
o Describe a time when you faced a particularly demanding situation. How did you react?
o To what extent have you had to work under very unpleasant work conditions? How did you cope? Examples.
o How much time does your work require you to spend away from home? How have you reacted to this? Examples.

Attention to detail
o Describe the things you do to control errors in your projects. When was the last time those methods helped you? What did you do?
o We all have had occasions when we were working on something and overlooked a small detail. When has this happened to you? Causes? Results?
o Describe a time when you identified an error or problem that had escaped other’s attentions.
o We all have times when we’re up against a deadline. When has this happened to you? How did you prevent items from slipping through the cracks? Tell me about one of those situations.

o Give me an example of a good decision you made recently. Why was it a good decision?
o We all make decisions that turn out to be mistakes. Can you think of a time when your emotions colored your judgment? Explain.
o Describe some of the best recommendations you’ve made to your manager, peers, or internal and/or external customers.
o Sometimes we make hasty decisions. Tell me about a time when you made a decision too quickly.
o Tell me about one of the riskiest decisions you made. Why was it risky?

Technical/processional knowledge
o What are some examples of projects that demonstrate your technical expertise?
o How did you develop your in-depth knowledge and expertise in this discipline?
o How much experience have you had operating?
o What training have you received in… ?
o Have you ever had to train a new employee in a technical task or area? Tell me about one of those situations.

o We’ve all had a close friend or sorority/fraternity member come to us for help on assignments/projects they were expected to complete on their own. Have this ever happened to you? How did you respond?
o Sometimes standard operating procedures make it very difficult to get our work done. Can you think of a time when you had to bend a rule to get your work done more efficiently?
o Have you ever been asked to do something that you didn’t think was right? What did you do?
o Tell me about a time when you’ve had to confront potentially unethical behavior. What did you do?

3/11/2011 9:14:02 PM

balls deep
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o Describe a situation in which you wished you’d acted differently with someone (colleague, advisor, etc.) What happened?
o Have you ever had any difficulty getting along with co-workers? How did you handle this situation?
o Describe a project where you collaboratively developed goals and plans with team members.
o Tell me about some of the toughest groups you’ve had to work with. What made it difficult? What did you do?
o Tell me about a new process you wanted your team to use. What did you do about it?

o What leadership roles did you hold in (school, job, etc.)? How did you lead? Give an example.
o Describe a situation in which you had to encourage others to think through and complete their own work? What did you say?
o Provide an example of successfully leveraging resources through both informal and formal networks. When and how were you unsuccessful?
o We don’t always make decisions that our team agrees with. What unpopular decisions have you made? How did you communicate the decisions?
o How have you recognized and rewarded others’ performance and ensured their visibility within the organization?
o When negotiation with others, we often must compromise on certain points. Tell me about a situation in which you used a strategy for selecting the right activities or issues to work on from a range of competing alternatives to get the desired outcome.
o Sometimes we’re given assignment/projects that don’t interest us. Tell me about a time when this happened to you. What did you do?
o Describe a time when you had to develop strategic alliances and partnerships that increased the company’s competitive advantage.
o What types of negotiation have you been involved in? What was your role? What type of preparation did you do? How was that data used?
o What lessons about negotiations have your learned? Examples. How did you learn them?

Customer service
o How much customer (internal/external) interaction do you have in your job? What percentage of your time were you spending with customers? Tell me about one of those interactions?
o Have your ever had to “go the extra mile” to satisfy an internal/external customer? Tell me about what you did.
o Sooner or later we all have to deal with an internal or external customer who has unreasonable demands. They of a time when you had to handle unreasonable requests. What did you do?
o Describe a time when you collaborated with customers to translate business and technical needs into value-added products/services. Give examples
o Tell me about a time when you were not effective in handling internal or external customer complaints.

o How was your transition from college to work: Any particular problems?
o Tell me about some situations in which you had to adjust quickly to changes in organizational or departmental priorities. How did the changes affect you?
o What types of managers have been the hardest to work for? Examples. Why?
o When was the last time you disagrees with a new procedure instituted by senior management? Why? What did you do?
o Think of a time when you had to handle a number of new job assignments simultaneously.

Analytical thinking
o How did you choose your major?
o Have you ever recognized a problem before your managers or colleagues in the organization? Tell me about one of those situations.
o What equipment have you repaired on the job? Describe the process you used to troubleshoot a particular problem that you had.
o Have you ever been fooled by a result? What happened? How did you solve the riddle?
o How have you demonstrated technical knowledge and the ability to improve technical solutions by identifying key problems?

Work/academic experience
o What classes did you like the best/least? Why?
o What do you like best/least about your most recent job? Why?
o All jobs have their frustrations. Describe some specific tasks that have been frustrating to you. Why were they a problem?
o In what ways have your previous job prepared you to take on greater responsibilities?
o What goals have you set for yourself? Why?

Work standards
o We don’t always agree with an evaluation of us by our professors and/or managers. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with a particular evaluation. How did you react to the situation?
o Tell mea bout a project in which you were motivated to achieve your highest capability. What was your role? Why were you proud?
o What do you consider your most recent contribution to your department? What was your role? Give examples.
o Tell me about a time when you missed a deadline? Why was the deadline missed? What did you do about it?
o Think about some times when the work you did was above standard and when it was below standard. What were some reasons for the difference in performance?

Ability to learn
o What courses were the easiest/most difficult for you and why?
o Being a (programmer, systems engineer, etc.) requires a lot of technical knowledge. How did you go about mastering new concepts? How long did it take you?
o Describe a time when you were able to learn something complex in a short period of time.
o Describe a time when you solved a new problem on your own. How long did it take you? How successful were you in applying your solutions?
o We’ve all had time when we felt we were over our heads on a project and/or assignment. Tell me about a time when that happened to you. How have you used that experience to improve your personal effectiveness?

o Tell me about a suggestion you made while at school to improve the way things worked. What was the result?
o What have you done to improve processes and eliminate unnecessary work in your current role? Why was the suggestion needed?
o Have you made any cost-saving recommendations to your manager? Examples.
o What have your done to make your job easier or more rewarding? Examples.
o Give me some examples of going above and beyond your job responsibilities at…?

3/11/2011 9:14:11 PM

All American
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I actually had an interview this week

here were a few of the questions that really stuck out for me:

"When working on a project, what are some of the things you least like to do, or even hate?"

"Tell me about a time when you put a lot of work into something and it fell flat"

"Imagine yourself in a situation where you've been handed a project that has been worked on very hard by a work partner, but you see some things that are wrong, or things that you don't agree with. How do you approach this to correct those issues?"

3/11/2011 11:48:24 PM

warning: not serious
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7/20/2012 8:00:53 PM

All American
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I recently applied for a specialty assignment within my agency and have the interview next week. I’m only one of 4 who will be interviewing for the one slot.

Here is the problem: I applied for the position most likely knowing that they have already selected one of the other candidates.

It’s a pretty a common practice here – by order the unit(s) have to make a general announcement but the unit(s) usually asks a certain someone to apply so they can select their buddies or the easy fit (i.e. someone already in the back office).

It has become such a common practice that nobody wants to apply for any positions because they figure it’s a done deal (and then nobody applies at all). It just happened to a unit here and they were so mad that they tried to cancel the process instead of hiring the one candidate who applied.

I really want the position and plan on interviewing like its mine, but still want to hint to the powers that be that this type is going to cost them hard working candidates to other places (without giving them an ultimatum or being threatening).

Good idea or bad idea?

I’m super loyal to my current employer because I felt like they hired me when people like myself where a dime a dozen, but it’s getting to the point where I need to see that there is a future here or I will seek out my own opportunities.

7/20/2012 8:29:22 PM

All American
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^^^Those are tough questions.

How'd you answer?

7/21/2012 3:35:12 PM

All American
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I have had about 20 interviews over the past 4 yrs. No offer yet.

8/5/2012 11:36:26 PM

All American
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^ Only 20? Last time I was looking for work I think I did at least 10 interviews a month. Shit sucked but you do what you have to do.

8/6/2012 8:41:55 AM

All American
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Why be super loyal when they will fire you in a heartbeat? I took my present job knowing it would be perfect experience for the job I eventually want.

8/19/2012 5:32:42 AM

All American
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I took my current job with the hope that they would pay for me to move somewhere else in the country. We'll get to see whether or not that was a good idea in a few months.

8/20/2012 11:05:52 PM

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hahhahahahah at all those fucking demeaning questions!

It's basically a test to check and see if you are an officefag.

I'd be like NO I am not your insurance salesman dressing, on time because I have nothing unpredictable in my life, look both ways before crossing the street new hire.

8/21/2012 12:36:56 AM

Duh, Winning
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After I got out of college, I worked stupid jobs for about a year, all the while trying to get a "real" job

I go to this interview for a big company, and while in the lobby I see people with much more know how and experience than me. Of course Im thinking OH SHIT

I go in there, thinking I have nothing to lose, after the basic questions I just say, "Look, I can tell you
what you want to hear, or I can tell you the truth" then went on about how I was not well qualified,
but everyone has to start somewhere, and if thats not what they want, then so be it.

I walked out thinking "well that was fun"

they called me the next day with an offer

They told me my assertiveness was the main thing they liked.

When you go to an interview, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, act like it.

8/21/2012 9:38:19 AM

?? ????? ??
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I had my third (and probably final) round of interviews on Tuesday, and the person running the process said she's trying to move quickly since she's about to leave the country for the next 2 weeks. I haven't heard back it appropriate to check-in and ask her for her projected timeline? I'm not personally in a rush but if I do change jobs I want to give my current employer enough notice and time to find a replacement.

5/11/2018 4:48:13 PM

All American
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^ Did you end up checking? I had a coworker who was in this situation last week, and I told him if it were me, I'd check in with them. He did, and they were all, "Oh yeah, you got the job. Can you start next month?" Not sure when they were planning to tell him, but my point is that just because you haven't heard back doesn't mean bad news.

5/17/2018 5:13:04 PM

play so hard
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Always follow up.

Even if you bombed the interview or otherwise know they don't want you.

5/17/2018 10:15:30 PM

All American
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Just went through a 3 hour series of phone interviews. Not very technical but it went very well. Looking forward to the next steps!

5/22/2018 2:11:48 PM

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Good luck, everyone. I gotta say it gets boring to talk about myself, but it always gets better if I can entertain myself and just try to impress myself

9/13/2018 3:47:26 PM

patent pending
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I interview a lot of folks... Things that I look for:

1) An resume/CV that focuses on accomplishments (major achievements)
2) Introspection: Someone who has spent some time understanding their own strengths and weaknesses and evolving as a person and employee (rare to find)
3) Technical competence

9/13/2018 3:53:36 PM

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9/13/2018 4:16:58 PM

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