Author Topic: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts  (Read 68054 times)

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Offline millahh

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Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« on: December 01, 2009, 08:47:11 PM »
So Iíve reached the point in my career that I interview candidates for open positions in our department.  As such, Iíve seen a lot of good and bad things from interviewees.  Iíve complied the following list of interviewing ďdoĒs and ďdonítĒs as a public service to DTF.  And yes, I have encountered every single one of them.

-----
When asked a question to which you donít know or canít remember the answer:
DO: Say ďI donít know (or donít remember exact details), but I will get back to you with an answerĒ
DONíT:  Stall for one minute, waiting to get a different question.  Don't do this on consecutive questions.
----
When asked if a certain establishment is acceptable for the lunch portion of the interview:
DO:  Either say ďyesĒ, or ďnoĒ.  If ďnoĒ suggest a reasonable alternative, or offer some guidance.
DONíT:  Describe in detail what will happen to your digestive system if you eat a certain food that might be available at the restaurant.  Donít try to find a way to shoe-horn this into the conversation.  Please.
----
If an interviewer asks if you want to leave your jacket in his office, as youíre going outside for a bit and itís a hot day:
DO:  Politely accept or decline.
DONíT:  Decline, following up by saying that the reason is that you forgot to wear an undershirt.  Do not then follow that up with a detailed description of the varying nature or pit stains to be contended with in different climates.
----
DONíT: Insult or makes jokes about a certain nationality, especially if a person of that nationality is in the room.
----
If youíre the ambitious type:
DO: Say that youíre excited to discover how your skills an energy can best serve your prospective employer.
DONíT:  Have the attitude that youíre going to ďfixĒ or change the culture of the company, especially when you essentially know nothing about the company.  Not only is it arrogant, but itís also a big red flag that youíd be a bull in a china shop.
----
DONíT:  Say that a colleague or partnerís work ďmade you want to kill themĒ.
----
DONíT: Express shock when told that the position requires occasionally interacting with colleagues.
----
DO:  Know the answers to any reasonably anticipated technical questions.
----
DO:  Have examples ready for behavioral interview questions.
----
DO:  Remember that you are interviewing the company, just as much as theyíre interviewing you.
DONíT:  Reek of desperation, even if you are desperate.  Obvious desperation causes the interviewer to question your sincerity.
----
DO:  Be yourself.
DONíT:  Try to be the person you think the interviewer wants you to be.  Itís very obvious, and itís another big red flag.  Very few employers (in professional environments) want ass-kissing yes-men.  If you donít have a spine in the interview, why would we expect you to have a spine in a critical work situation?
----
DONíT: Be a blatant ass-kisser, either to the interviewer or the company.  Yes, I sort of said this before, but itís sufficiently important to be stated again.
----
DO:  Have business cards with an email address on them.
DONíT:  Have the email address be with AOL.


Feel free to discuss or add to the list.
Quote from: parallax
WHEN WILL YOU ADRESS MY MONKEY ARGUMENT???? NEVER???? THAT\' WHAT I FIGURED.:lol

Online El Barto

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2009, 08:58:18 PM »
If your email address includes 420, don't give it out. 

The interesting question would be did any of the don't people get a job anyway?
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Offline millahh

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2009, 09:02:09 PM »

The interesting question would be did any of the don't people get a job anyway?

Only for the 1st one.  And I was quite surprised.  However, he was slotted into an almost purely technical position, rather than a more "organizational" position.  He also came it at the same rank as me...despite having ~18 years of industry experience compared to me having four years.  And he only got an offer because our top two choices both turned us down...it was hitting desperation time for us.
Quote from: parallax
WHEN WILL YOU ADRESS MY MONKEY ARGUMENT???? NEVER???? THAT\' WHAT I FIGURED.:lol

Offline XianL

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2009, 09:10:25 PM »
DO: Give a firm handshake.
_ _ _ _ _

DO: Speak clearly, and look the person in the eye. Don't stare, but be focused on the conversation.
_ _ _ _ _

DO: When enquiring for available positions (at least in a casual environment), ask to speak to the manager directly, and ask them in person.
_ _ _ _ _


Worked for me, anyway. First two at least are givens in a professional environment, but there are some young'ins on the board.

Offline Space Invader

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2009, 09:11:07 PM »
DO: Give a firm handshake.

THIS!!!!
I don't think it can be stressed enough.
Everything can, should and will be progressive.

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2009, 09:19:34 PM »
DO: Give a firm handshake.

THIS!!!!
I don't think it can be stressed enough.

I interview potential new employees once a semester and a limp handshake is very awkward.

Offline ReaPsTA

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2009, 09:37:20 PM »
What do you guys have to say about dress for interviews?
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Offline Shadoshi

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2009, 09:39:29 PM »
Also, what's the story behind the AOL e-mail address? Why does it matter?

Offline ReaPsTA

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2009, 10:02:48 PM »
Also, what's the story behind the AOL e-mail address? Why does it matter?

Using AOL indicates basic computer illiteracy. If you're interviewing for a job working in technology, your employers don't want such a drastic indicator of incompetence with it. At least, that's what I'd guess.
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Offline shadowfex

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2009, 11:22:34 PM »
-----
When asked a question to which you don't know or can’t remember the answer:
DO: Say “I don’t know (or don’t remember exact details), but I will get back to you with an answer”
DON’T:  Stall for one minute, waiting to get a different question.  Don't do this on consecutive questions.

It's staggering how many people can't seem to admit they don't know the answer to questions.
"Once he had forests and mountains that were only his - listening to him. Once he would run through the summer days catching memories for ages to come. Now he is dressing this naked floor with his flesh and blood, and time passes by. His trade of pain might just have lead him to deal with consequence for some change as time passes by"

Offline yeshaberto

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2009, 11:37:53 PM »
the last job I got they asked me who I would want to have lunch with...I was stumped and asked if I could think on it as they continued the interview.  Something they said reminded me of Gary Larson and I used him because I would love to spend time with someone with such "out of the box" humor.  The interviewee was a fan, and I got the job  :lol

Offline Neon

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2009, 06:52:42 AM »
The hard part for me seems to be getting interviews in the first place.

Any tips for writing cover letters?  I feel like it's impossible to write them WITHOUT sounding corny.


And another big problem I'm running into:  I'm pushing 30 and I've got a ton of work experience, and I have a college degree.  However, it seems that somehow or another I'm not actually qualified enough for any position I'm applying for.  I have a degree, but it's never in the right field.  I have work experience in this area, but not enough, and not with the right software programs.  I know MS Word inside and Out but I've only ever viewed Power Point from afar.  I feel like this is hindering my chances...and the fact that I haven't even so much as gotten a phone call for an interview despite the amount of places I've applied to makes me feel like I'm right about this. 

It's really very frustrating.
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Offline Neon

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2009, 06:57:14 AM »
And while I'm at it:

How long should I wait before getting a response?  A week?  Two weeks?  And how long should I wait before sending a follow up email to ask if I'm still in consideration?

I don't want to badger people and be a pain in the ass, but I also would like to know where I stand and if I should keep wasting my time checking on the status of my application.
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Offline Hyperplex

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2009, 07:11:12 AM »
When asked to name your biggest weakness:
DO - Name something that, while a weakness, shows your work ethic, i.e. "I tend to focus so much on the details that I can sometimes be distracted from the big picture..."
DON'T - Run down a list of every plausible way that you have failed in the past, thereby giving the interviewer no reason at all to believe you could even tie your own shoes and brush your teeth in the morning without maiming yourself.
--------
When the interviewer indicates an interest in your experience in the field:
DO - Explain, succinctly, the broad scope of the works you have done, going into greater detail when prompted.
DON'T - Spout off buzzwords, clichťs and catch-alls that you think will wow your potential employer when in reality you have just demonstrated that you are nothing more than a lemming with limited experience at best.
--------
Come prepared. If you're interviewing for an artist position, BRING A PORTFOLIO! Always have a copy of your resumť, regardless of whether you have already submitted one. If you walk in empty-handed, you will leave empty-handed.
--------
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT present work you completed for your aunt to help her 2-year old godson learn to read as the first piece (or any piece, for that matter) in your portfolio.
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Offline Sir GuitarCozmo

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2009, 07:14:24 AM »
Also, I'm told NEVER leave an interview without asking the prospective employer questions of your own.  Always have questions, even if it's only one.

Offline Neon

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2009, 07:20:50 AM »
Also, I'm told NEVER leave an interview without asking the prospective employer questions of your own.  Always have questions, even if it's only one.


That's a tricky one, because the only ones I can usually think of off the top of my head involve pay rate and benefits.  And I know you're not supposed to ask those on the first interview, if at all- generally you're supposed to let the interviewer bring that kind of stuff up. 
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Offline Hyperplex

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2009, 07:22:30 AM »
Ask about where the company sees itself in a few years, or ask about the history or a typical day in the life of an employee. Something to show your interest in the company and the position.

Familiarize yourself with as much as you can to make yourself a more valuable candidate. You can always send an email thanking your interviewer for the opportunity the day of the interview, a few hours later. Give them a week or two, depending on the scope of their process before following up.

Cover letters ARE corny. Introduce yourself, briefly express your interest in the position and tout your skills. It should make then want to read your resume to see what you're made of.
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Offline YtseBitsySpider

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2009, 07:24:14 AM »
Neon, take a powerpoint course, or download it and create several presentations at home instead of being on here....oh...and the power of "being a woman" still wins at interviews. I've seen pictures of you....Im still amazed at how the chick got the job because somehow her dress choice of "slutty meets classy meets work appropriate" worked for her in the interview.


Shoes Shoes Shoes.....its amazing how many people look at shoes first. Nice shoes. Polished or buffed.

It's old school like my other example but its still very much true.
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Offline Sir GuitarCozmo

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2009, 07:28:53 AM »
I've progressed through five different job titles in state government, in 8 years.  Never once have I had the need to know PowerPoint.  I know enough to get by if need be, but 99% of everything I've done required Word or Excel.  I know some places are big fans of PowerPoint though.  Hopefully you can avoid those places.  :)

Offline Chino

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2009, 07:32:31 AM »

Offline millahh

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2009, 07:33:52 AM »
I'll expand a bit on what i said above.  I'm one of seven people a candidate interviews with, along with them giving a seminar to our entire group.  These are all Ph.Ds, almost all with at lest 4 years of experience after getting their doctorate.  Pretty much everyone is going to be qualified to perform the basic job functions.  What we are trying to discern in the interview is how well they would fit into our corporate culture (not from a conformity standpoint, but someone who is either a complete jellyfish or else a bull in a china shop will be a problem), and what they can bring to the table in terms of potential & new ideas, and whether they're likely to flourish in our company.


Also, what's the story behind the AOL e-mail address? Why does it matter?

Using AOL indicates basic computer illiteracy. If you're interviewing for a job working in technology, your employers don't want such a drastic indicator of incompetence with it. At least, that's what I'd guess.

Yep.  It's not a deal-breaker by any stretch, but it will raise eyebrows.  It presents the appearance of not being with the times, and being either a dinosaur or a technophobe.  Obviously, this doesn't much matter for some jobs, but if you're applying for something computer intensive, it will bring some unwanted scrutiny.

If your email address includes 420, don't give it out. 

Yep.  Have a professional looking email address.  If your current address is nancyboyFTW@yahoo or gluesniffer@gmail, make a new email address just for job stuff.

What do you guys have to say about dress for interviews?

For professional potitions, a suit is appropriate.  Doesn't have to be black...grey, brown or blue are fine.  You also don't need to go all out with pocket squares and whatnot.  For other types of jobs, it will likely be a bit different.  But no matter what, be reasonably clean shaven, have you clothes be clean, and don't smell.

-----
When asked a question to which you don't know or can’t remember the answer:
DO: Say “I don’t know (or don’t remember exact details), but I will get back to you with an answer”
DON’T:  Stall for one minute, waiting to get a different question.  Don't do this on consecutive questions.

It's staggering how many people can't seem to admit they don't know the answer to questions.

In this situation, it wasn't that he wouldn't admit that he didn't know.  Rather, it was something that he used to know, and couldn't quite pull it from the memory banks.  That happens, and no one will hold it against you.  the problem was that he was awrkwardly stallign for about a minute while he was trying to remember, and was uncomfortable for everyone in the room (this was during the Q&A portion of his seminar).

Neon:  Unfortunately, I don't have too much to offer...I don't make decisions on who we bring in to interview.  but:
-Cover letters:  There are good examples online, and i've found them geared towards all different types of jobs.
-Seeming unqualified:  If you have a diverse work background, use it to your advantage...it can illustrate adaptability and that you're a quick/enthusiatic learner.
-Powerpoint:  Do you have access to a computer that has it?  If so, get to it!  There are online tutorials/guides, and it's really not a difficult program.  Try making a couple of practice presentations with it...say, one about dominant themes in Neal Peart's lyrics, or one Phladelphia sports history.  With PPT, the thought process of making presentations is just as important as using the program itself.


Out of ~15 interviews I've done, I've only received two thank-you emails, and no actual thank-you letters.  Is it no longer customary to send these after an interview?


----
DO:  Give us a reason to hire you.
DON'T:  Try to get hired by default (i.e. that we simply can't find anything terribly wrong with you).
----
Quote from: parallax
WHEN WILL YOU ADRESS MY MONKEY ARGUMENT???? NEVER???? THAT\' WHAT I FIGURED.:lol

Offline millahh

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2009, 07:37:57 AM »
Also, I'm told NEVER leave an interview without asking the prospective employer questions of your own.  Always have questions, even if it's only one.


That's a tricky one, because the only ones I can usually think of off the top of my head involve pay rate and benefits.  And I know you're not supposed to ask those on the first interview, if at all- generally you're supposed to let the interviewer bring that kind of stuff up.  

In addition to what Hyperplex said:
-Ask about advancement potential.
-Ask what attributes are possessed by their most successful employees.
-Ask about the biggest challenges that the company faces, both in day-to-day operation and long-term.


Are you on LinkedIn?  If not, get on there (it's like a facebook for professionals and job-seekers).  I've had a few people (whom I didn't previously know) contact me regarding possible jobs and internships through it.  As much as I don't care for yuppies networking, it works.
Quote from: parallax
WHEN WILL YOU ADRESS MY MONKEY ARGUMENT???? NEVER???? THAT\' WHAT I FIGURED.:lol

Offline Neon

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2009, 07:38:39 AM »
Another question:

For the past five years I have been working for my family.  I think this gives me a ton of experience, as I can run a small business from the inside out.  I've done everything from store management to bookkeeping to HR/employee type of stuff.  

Would a potential employer see this as valid work experience?  Or would they just see it as "Oh, whatever, she worked for her family, that must have been a cake job, that doesn't count for anything."

In a cover letter or in an interview, should I disclose that I've worked for family?  Or should I just state it as, "I've run a small business with three locations?"  

(And it would be easy enough to hide, as my mom and I don't share a last name).  





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Offline millahh

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2009, 07:50:30 AM »
Another question:

For the past five years I have been working for my family.  I think this gives me a ton of experience, as I can run a small business from the inside out.  I've done everything from store management to bookkeeping to HR/employee type of stuff.  

Would a potential employer see this as valid work experience?  Or would they just see it as "Oh, whatever, she worked for her family, that must have been a cake job, that doesn't count for anything."

In a cover letter or in an interview, should I disclose that I've worked for family?  Or should I just state it as, "I've run a small business with three locations?" 
(And it would be easy enough to hide, as my mom and I don't share a last name).  

There's you're answer!

You're under no obligation to disclose that it was a family business...unless they outright ask, in which case, you don't want to lie.  I don't think many people would assume that working for the family business is a cake job.  In fact, I think many family businnesses push people harder, as there's the sense of family obligation along with the usual employee responsibilities.

The only slight complication I could see is when it comes to references...if it specifies no family members, that could be complicated.  In which case, I would simply ask the relevant HR person how they want you to approach it, since your boss was a family member.

Sounds like you should have an ass-kicking resume.
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WHEN WILL YOU ADRESS MY MONKEY ARGUMENT???? NEVER???? THAT\' WHAT I FIGURED.:lol

Offline lordxizor

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #24 on: December 02, 2009, 07:53:00 AM »
Out of ~15 interviews I've done, I've only received two thank-you emails, and no actual thank-you letters.  Is it no longer customary to send these after an interview?
I always have sent a physical letter in the mail to everyone that I interviewed with. I thought this was the customary thing to do as well.

should I disclose that I've worked for family?
Just mention the company name that you worked for. Don't hide the fact that's it's family if they outright ask, but I wouldn't make a big deal out of it. Stress your job duties and successes you had there.

It's tough feeling like you're not qualified for anything despite having education and experience. But keep in mind that when companies list the qualifications for the job, chances are that no one out there will fulfill all of them. Don't not apply for a job because you don't think you're qualified. If you think you meet half of the criteria you're looking for, chances are you're qualified enough for at least an interview. That's where you need to be able to sell yourself.

Offline Sir GuitarCozmo

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #25 on: December 02, 2009, 07:55:30 AM »
Out of ~15 interviews I've done, I've only received two thank-you emails, and no actual thank-you letters.  Is it no longer customary to send these after an interview?

I try to at least send an email (state government is nowhere near as particular about these types of formalities as private businesses are) to say it was nice to meet them and to thank them for their consideration.

Offline Neon

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #26 on: December 02, 2009, 07:56:59 AM »
Thanks so much for your help, everyone.

Searching for a job really is aggravating.   :lol
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Offline moonflower

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #27 on: December 02, 2009, 08:03:28 AM »
I've said all kinds of things in the past to get a teaching job.
Once i went into an interview and they said "Tell us three interesting things about you!" And it completely threw me, so I told them I was a keen geographer (?) I liked reading, and the best one - When i was younger i was on the youth olympic swimming team (??) Luckily i didn't get that job.

Another one, I heard one of the other candidates talking about the interview questions after she'd gone in before me, and they were talking about this new assessment thing called APP over here, having never heard of it, i dropped it into conversation with a member of staff from the school and asked them what it was, then went into the interview and blew them away with how much i (didn't) know - i just repeated this other womans words. Didn't get that one either, can you guess why?!
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Offline ZeppelinDT

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #28 on: December 02, 2009, 08:04:19 AM »

----
DONíT: Insult or makes jokes about a certain nationality, especially if a person of that nationality is in the room.
----


:d'oh:

Offline millahh

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #29 on: December 02, 2009, 08:09:58 AM »
Once i went into an interview and they said "Tell us three interesting things about you!" And it completely threw me, so I told them I was a keen geographer (?) I liked reading, and the best one - When i was younger i was on the youth olympic swimming team (??)

Ah yes...a behavioral interviewing question.

They're looking for things that will somehow be an indicator of how you'll approach the job.  The concept of behavioral interviewing is using your past behavior as a predictor of how you'll perform in the potential new role.  Think of things that say something about who you truly are, rather than just "factoids" that don't really say a whole lot.

This link gives a reasonable explanation, and has a good list of the qualities that you might want to try to illustrate with your answers:
https://www.jobinterviewquestions.org/questions/behavioral-interview.asp
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WHEN WILL YOU ADRESS MY MONKEY ARGUMENT???? NEVER???? THAT\' WHAT I FIGURED.:lol

Offline millahh

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #30 on: December 02, 2009, 08:12:00 AM »

----
DONíT: Insult or makes jokes about a certain nationality, especially if a person of that nationality is in the room.
----


:d'oh:

Yeah, that was a good one.  The guy made a joking, slightly derogatory reference towards Germans...and all 15 or so of us in the room all turned to look at the German guy.  The expression on the candidate's face at that moment was priceless.
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Offline YtseBitsySpider

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #31 on: December 02, 2009, 08:15:18 AM »
the org I work for is using the STAR format(gotta love HR and their accronyms)
S-situation
T-task
A-action
R-results

all the responses need to come in that format.
what was the situation, what was your task or job, what action did you personaly take, what were the results of the action you took. Come to the interview with good and bad examples.
Take care everyone - Bet you all didn't even notice I was gone.

Happy Lives to you all.

Offline millahh

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #32 on: December 02, 2009, 08:40:49 AM »
One more:

If you have to spend the entire interview talking about how you're a perfect match for our company, we are not a match.
Quote from: parallax
WHEN WILL YOU ADRESS MY MONKEY ARGUMENT???? NEVER???? THAT\' WHAT I FIGURED.:lol

Offline Sir GuitarCozmo

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #33 on: December 02, 2009, 08:46:03 AM »
One more:

If you have to spend the entire interview talking about how you're a perfect match for our company, we are not a match.

Deja vu?

https://www.dreamtheaterforums.org/boards/index.php?topic=6820.0

Offline cthrubuoy

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Re: Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts
« Reply #34 on: December 02, 2009, 09:03:27 AM »
This thread is made from the fibres of win. I'll likely be looking for a job in the new year so hopefully I remember it exists in a month or so.