Job Interview Tips
Got a hot job interview tomorrow.
Anyone got any tips? I know qt3 loves to give advice, and I am asking for the best you got.
Eye contact, never break off a handshake, and always end every sentence with a thumbs up. I think I got it.
1. Don't cry.
2. Don't lie.
3. Don't ask awkward questions when the interviewer asks if you have any questions.
5. Dress professionally but comfortably.
6. Be prepared for the typical questions but don't over-rehearse your answers because you'll likely come off as phony-sounding.
7. No fist bumping.
That should cover most of it.
I have spent all day thinking of answers to these damn targeted selection questions.
Research the company ahead of time and ask enthusiastic questions about them.
No battle dancing.
If you know the names of people who will be interviewing you, Google/facebook/linkedin search them to find out who they are and what makes them tick. Rest assured, they are google searching you.
Don't be weird. I cannot over-stress how important this is.
It's OK to be nervous, but try to relax as the interview goes on, and remember that your interviewers are just people, and that they are hoping you are a good fit for the job, so work with them.
If you freeze up, or cannot think of answer to a question because nerves got the best of you, just say so. For example, "sorry, I totally froze up then and don't remember what you just asked me/can't think of a good answer right now, can you repeat the question?". Feel free to ask for clarification on questions too, so you cna better guage what they are trying to find out.
Do not make any stupid politically incorrect jokes, thinking that everyone in the room feels the same way as you and won't take it seriously, because hey its just a joke. Duh.
ALWAYS ask questions when they ask if you have any. Always save at least one question for the end. ALWAYS.
I have interviewed --- thinking--- probably 260 people. Based on that, here's my two cents worth:
1. Think of good, honest answers to why they should hire you instead of the other people they will be interviewing. Somehow, the interviewers have to decide amongst a group of people, many of whom will be very similar in skill sets, experience, etc. So why are you the best choice?
2. In about 27 years of hiring and firing and managing people, the one commonality I have found in a very diverse group of people that everyone considered to be top performers: they all proactively sought out what needed to be done and then proactively tried to find a way to effectively get it done. They didn't sit and wait for someone to tell them what to do. I actually started a little study back when I was a young manager and was trying to figure out, in ratings meetings, "why does everyone agree that these top rated people deserve to be top rated?" It wasn't education, it wasn't smarts, it wasn't a lot of things. What did hold was that motivation factor, that proactive nature. THOSE people everyone wanted on their team and in their groups.
SO - when I interview someone who, in the interview, can give good examples of where they have shown high motivation, where they have seen something that wasn't really their responsibility but it needed to be done and so they stepped up and got it done, etc. - that person immediately distinguishes themselves from that pack.
It doesn't really matter what the field: think of examples you can bring up in the interview to demonstrate your proactive, highly motivated nature. They can teach you skills, you'll gain experience, but it's tough to "teach" someone motivation and "make it happen" characteristics, and that is what will make that hiring manager's life easier.
Don't be cynical. Lots of people are cynical by nature, but coming across super-negative in an interview is not good.
Originally Posted by mkozlows
And don't try to be cute, or extremely witty, etc. Really.
Smile, show high energy, be a professional, ask good questions, show you've done your homework and know the company and what it does well, what the competition looks like, and give good examples (they don't even have to strictly be from work situations) of why you are a highly motivated, proactive individual.
Backing up answers with examples is very powerful. "Well, I really like people!" OK, so did my Golden Retriever, but I wasn't going to hire her into this job. On the other hand, a good example of how you contributed to a team effort of some kind, your role in making it successful, how you overcame a tough people problem or situation, etc. will go a long way.
Don't list "good at making out" as a skill.
Don't shit on your shirt.
Originally Posted by Creole Ned
--- "Do you always wear your hair like that?"
--- "Does the health insurance policy include free STD testing?"
--- "If the company goes under, what sort of severance package should I expect to get?"
--- "Do you frown on employees nabbing a few reams of paper here and there?"
--- "Do you happen to have the time?"
--- "Could you give me a ride back to the bus station when we're done here?"
Still king of lost
Don't mention "running a guild in an MMO gave me some great management experience."
I interview a gajillion folks. Here's one of the worst--and I mean absolute WORST things you can do:
Talk over me.
I want you to have questions when I interview you. And then I want to answer them. And when I'm answering them, I want you to be silent and listen. If you're interrupting my answers, what you're telling me is that you're untrainable, and that when I have one of my subordinates working with you to teach you your new position with my company, you'll be even worse at talking over them and not absorbing and listening to what they say. I don't want that in an employee, and I won't hire you if you do that.
I think I can top that. I was interviewing a guy in person and as we wrapped up the conversation I told him to wait here and that I'd check with the director about who he should meet with next. Did he stay there? No, he gets up and follows me out of the interview room and walks past me saying, "I'm going to check with the director myself and see what he wants me to do next." He did not get the job. When your interviewer asks you to do something you should probably listen to them.
Originally Posted by triggercut
If there is an ackward pause in the conversation pipe in with an excited, "Is anyone else as turned on as I am right now?"
Don't bag on your last (or current) company. If you're seeking out another job when you currently have one, make sure you've got a good answer to why you're looking that doesn't involve "I hate my manager's guts" or "everyone in the company is an idiot".
Even though that might be true.
I had a job interview once only a few days after I quit a horrible, horrible job working for a family-run electronics shop. It was a terrible work environment, similar to what working for the Borgias must have been like. There was a patriarch at the top who was still working in the store even though he was like 80s years old, and his three sons fought amongst themselves for influence like some cut-rate Shakespeare production. I lasted a year-and-a-half, which to give you some idea was quadruple the length the next longest person to have held my position.
So this job interview is out in the middle of nowhere at some warehouse that makes and stores bathroom fixtures. During the interview, they asked me "Why'd you leave your last job?" and, because the toxins were still fresh from the electronics job, I went off on a insane rant about how you should never work for a family business because families are all fucking crazy and they stock the business with their worthless fucking sons who ride the coat-tails of their dictator father who should have dropped dead from sheer spite forty years ago.
There's a long pause, and the interviewer cleared his throat. "Um.... you know this is a family business, right?" And that's where that interview ended.
6th Grade Spelling Bee Loser
World's End Supernova
1. Don't forget the name of the company you're interviewing with during a phone screen.
"Do you have any questions for me?"
"So, tell me what it's like working for... for..." Shit.
What type of job?
I've got a fair bit of experience on both ends of the interview process (for programming jobs). One thing to note: a big part of interviewing is figuring out what your interviewer wants out of the process. We can all give you advice but ultimately we're not interviewing you -- so take all this advice with a few grains of salt and make sure you listen to find out what your interviewer really wants. In fact, you might just skip wall of text below and go read some blogs/columns giving interviews for the type of position you are after. Not only will this give you a good laundry list of likely questions but it will give you a bit of insight into what your interviewer is likely to be looking for.
With that in mind:
1) Many interview questions are designed to make you squirm. You can't take them too personally. Don't think that you have to get the exact right answer and don't apologize if you can tell your answer isn't exactly what they're looking for. Don't be afraid to ask for clarification and/or to talk the question through with your interviewer.
2) Corollary: if you're asked something, you have absolutely no clue and don't think you'll be able to work an answer, then you should probably just state that up front. If you spend 10 minutes talking about the thing that you don't know then they'll remember that far better than if you take 10 seconds and move on.
3) Before you go to the interview, think of whatever anecdotes you have that relate to the position you're interviewing for. Be ready to unload these as answers to questions. I have a list of interesting problems I've solved in past jobs that I go back to. Also think of answers to obvious questions ("why do you want this job?", "what's your weakness?", "how do you deal with working with someone who is difficult?", "why did you leave your last position?").
4) When answering simple questions, keep things short and sweet. Generally just pick one thing and state it succinctly. For example if asked why you left a job, just give one reasonable reason and don't make a big story out of it.
5) Make sure to indicate your excitement for the job (feigned or real). Half of a job interview is proving that you can do the job. The other half is proving that you want to do it and will do it. I like candidates to be passionate just as much as I like them to be smart and qualified.
6) Ask a lot of questions about the company with the intent to make them sell you on the job. My favorite question (to give and to hear) is: "do you like working here?" Ask about: work hours, benefits, vacation, who you report to, who you work with, what your career advance opportunities are, etc.
7) If they can't sell you on the job, don't take it! This may sound obvious, but too many people decide they want a job before they go interview. Some of the best career decisions I've made were jobs I turned down (in one case I turned down a $15k raise, for example, and it was one of the best moves of my career).
8) This advice is more general and for the future but it's advice that has served me well: take any interview for any job you're remotely interested in. As long as you're willing to say "no" there's nothing to lose and a lot to gain. Specifically: it's a great way to practice and to learn about other jobs. It may seem a bit selfish but employers don't think anything of bringing in 10 candidates even though they're going to turn 9 down.
Last edited by StGabe; 02-01-2010 at 08:17 PM.
I am not too worried about this interview.
It is for a job at a local lab. I have had 2 long phone conversations with the guy who is interviewing me about his job, as he is a friend of a friend. So, I am on good terms already.
I am very excited.
Above all else, do not lie. The days of being able to lie on your resume are long gone. If they have your social security number, they can find out evrything about you work related, including jobs you quit or were fired from. Be honest. If a job didn't work out, just say so and give a reasonable reason why. Make sure you come across with the thought that professionalism is an attitude, not an income level.
1) Bring extra copies of your CV or resume (like 3), and keep them with you.
They probably already have a copy of it somewhere, but it sometimes makes things easier if you have a copy right there to hand them. Heaven forbid they lose the original. Or you never know if at the last minute they switch interviewers to someone that never received a copy.
2) Write a short thank you note afterwards and drop in the mail the same day. Virtually no one seems to do this anymore, so I don't think it hurts you if skip this. On the other hand, it is almost a guaranteed way to make you stand out.
Depends on the work environment/culture/age. When people do to this to me it seems vaguely creepy and/or insincere so it actually probably hurts more than it helps (but clearly nto everyone feels that way).
Originally Posted by Hiredgoons
Originally Posted by seventimessix
... unless you're willing to prove it.
A combination tactic works well here on just about everyone.
Originally Posted by StGabe
Save one of the list of questions you're compiling and don't ask it on the interview. Obviously you don't want it to be a completely trivial question nor one that is so "duh obvious" you should have asked in person, but find one in between those extremes. After you interview send an email to the person most obviously running point on the technical side of hiring with your question and in it mention how great a time you had on your interview and such, basically like a thank you note hidden inside a question email.
No, they're not. Some of them may *make* you squirm, but that's the fault of something in your career history. I may ask you about gaps in employment. I may ask you why you've worked for four companies in five years. Those questions may make you squirm, but they're not designed to deliberately do so, they're designed to tell me whether you've got some sort of glitch in your personality that I may or may not want anything to do with.
Originally Posted by StGabe
But no, as an interviewer, I'm not trying to make my interviewee squirm. Quite the opposite, actually. I want to make the person as comfortable as possible so they open up and move past the standard interview answers (if I hear one more server tell me that they like the restaurant business because they "like people", I swear I'll scream) and get to some answers that will really help me get to know and understand the person on the other side of the desk. I wouldn't want to work for a boss who wanted to make me feel uneasy as a condition of my employment. Hey, there are things that maybe need a frank and open discussion on someone's resume/application, but that doesn't have to be a negative thing. If you took a year off work to care for a terminally ill family member, that's cool with me. Tell me about it if you can, and what you took away from that experience.
As an example, I interviewed a kid who didn't have the kind of experience I'd usually want for a job but who was engaging and bright and had mentioned in his resume that he played in a country/bluegrass band. We must've spent 20 minutes talking about music and crap just so I could put him at ease, and then he managed to ace the rest of the interview so completely that I think we're gonna give him a chance.
Interview questions are designed to make you squirm if you are unqualified or unprepared.
6th Grade Spelling Bee Loser
World's End Supernova
But yeah. Do try and remember the name of the company you're interviewing for.