News:

BREAKING NEWS:  Dream Theater reunites with drummer Mike Portnoy (10/25/23)

Main Menu

Job Interviewing - Do's and Don'ts

Started by millahh, December 01, 2009, 07:47:11 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

cramx3

Mind sharing what you do to prepare then?

As someone who hasn't been on an interview in 6+ years, I guess my thought would be to do research online of the company, maybe ask myself and pretend to answer typical interview questions, jot down my own questions for them, if I knew someone with experience in the company or the type of position then give them a call.... what else are good preparation tips?

Chino

#456
Quote from: millahh on September 15, 2020, 07:24:06 AM
So here's another question I got during a recent interview, which caught me a bit off-guard:

"What did you do to prepare for this call?" 

It's an interesting twist on a behavioral interview question, because those are normal about something fully in the past, whereas this was present tense, bordering on meta.  I think she was looking to get a sense of how (and how much) I prepare for important things, and how much I try to understand something before opening my mouth. And maybe how seriously I was taking things (which is a big thing for her). And as much as it surprised me, it wasn't a "gotcha" question, I think it was a way for her to understand some very important things about me quite quickly; it was also later in the conversation, after we'd established a rapport, so it wasn't intended to throw me off balance.  But still...keep in mind that this is a question you could be asked.

For the job I have now, I wrote down all the questions I had about the position and company, and then I researched all of them. The ones that I couldn't find answers to are the ones I brought up in my interview. I also recorded myself answering about 30 questions that I thought could be asked in the interview, and I played that back to myself on a non-stop loop for the day leading up to the interview (including the drive to the interview). I'd recite the responses alongside the recording like I was listening to a song. It made it really easy to not freeze up or drop unwanted "ums" and "likes" during the interview.

I don't know if I'd actually give that response though.

millahh

Quote from: cramx3 on September 15, 2020, 07:45:47 AM
Mind sharing what you do to prepare then?

As someone who hasn't been on an interview in 6+ years, I guess my thought would be to do research online of the company, maybe ask myself and pretend to answer typical interview questions, jot down my own questions for them, if I knew someone with experience in the company or the type of position then give them a call.... what else are good preparation tips?

This call was the preliminary phone interview with the hiring manager (after passing the phone interview).  What I answered was that I read all of the patient-facing information on their website (as it's a biotech focusing on rare diseases), read their corporate deck, and watched a couple of interviews with the CEO on YouTube.  I also said that I had thought about some of my own high-level questions to assess whether I thought this could be a good fit.

My full preparation goes a bit beyond that, though of course will vary based on what stage the interview is:

-Looking at the LinkedIn profiles of the interviewers
-Thinking through reasonable questions I could get, whether behavioral, technical or philosophical (i write these down ahead of time, and them usually spend the hour or so before the call scribbling out my thoughts, so it's fresh on my mind, and not over-rehearsed)
-Coming up with my own big list of questions, trying to gauge things like culture, individual empowerment, stability of the business, etc.
-Re-read my CV & cover letter, to remind myself what I said ( :biggrin: ) but also to remind myself of what I'm about and where I'm strong
-I remind myself that this is a conversation, not a cross-examination, grilling or judgment.  And it's as much about whether I want to work with them as they want to work with me.

cramx3


millahh

Quote from: Chino on September 15, 2020, 07:52:47 AM
For the job I have now, I wrote down all the questions I had about the position and company, and then I researched all of them. The ones that I couldn't find answers to are the ones I brought up in my interview.

That is an excellent point... Don't waste interview time on questions that could have been answered with a quick Google search. It's not a good use of time, and it makes you look like you didn't give enough of a shit to put even cursory effort up front.

Stadler

Quote from: millahh on September 15, 2020, 07:24:06 AM
So here's another question I got during a recent interview, which caught me a bit off-guard:

"What did you do to prepare for this call?" 

It's an interesting twist on a behavioral interview question, because those are normal about something fully in the past, whereas this was present tense, bordering on meta.  I think she was looking to get a sense of how (and how much) I prepare for important things, and how much I try to understand something before opening my mouth. And maybe how seriously I was taking things (which is a big thing for her). And as much as it surprised me, it wasn't a "gotcha" question, I think it was a way for her to understand some very important things about me quite quickly; it was also later in the conversation, after we'd established a rapport, so it wasn't intended to throw me off balance.  But still...keep in mind that this is a question you could be asked.

See, that's a question that would throw me, because I over think things.  I would answer as truthfully as I could, but I'm almost certain I would wrap myself around the axle of "well, she knows I'm bullshitting, because I asked this question" or "wait; I answered that other question like THIS, is she calling me on that?".    I'm my own worst enemy in situations like that, because I have to sometimes remind myself that the value, the connection, is in the conversation itself, not the answers.

millahh

Quote from: cramx3 on September 15, 2020, 08:40:00 AM
Good stuff, thanks for sharing.

I forgot another big one:

-Re-read the job description thoroughly a few times. Can guide how you approach the conversation, what Austin's your ask, and can also be a good way to figure out if there is a disconnect between the hiring manager and the HR person who may have written the listing about what the position truly entails

bosk1

It is also VERY common for job descriptions / position descriptions to not be accurate, for several reasons.  It could be that the person who wrote it is different from the person you will be working for, and has a very different understanding of what the job entails.  It could be that it is simply outdated because the job has evolved.  It could be because they don't know and copy/pasted from what they thought was maybe the most similar position.  Lots of reasons.  (True story:  I had a case a few years back where we needed to look through a stack of job descriptions for various positions throughout a very large employer, and some of them were so old that you could tell from looking at them that they were printed on a dot matrix printer; it was safe to say that many of them were not accurate descriptions of what the current job entailed, even if they might have been very accurate at the time they were created)

Bottom line:  It's never a bad idea to ask questions about the job description, and how closely it may match the day-to-day duties you can actually expect to perform.  You may hear that it is a good indication, or that it is simply a baseline expectation, but is fluid and flexible, or that it is outdated and the day-to-day actually looks much different.  It can lead to some good discussion and information-sharing that you might not otherwise get.

jingle.boy

Quote from: Stadler on September 15, 2020, 09:08:39 AM
Quote from: millahh on September 15, 2020, 07:24:06 AM
So here's another question I got during a recent interview, which caught me a bit off-guard:

"What did you do to prepare for this call?" 

It's an interesting twist on a behavioral interview question, because those are normal about something fully in the past, whereas this was present tense, bordering on meta.  I think she was looking to get a sense of how (and how much) I prepare for important things, and how much I try to understand something before opening my mouth. And maybe how seriously I was taking things (which is a big thing for her). And as much as it surprised me, it wasn't a "gotcha" question, I think it was a way for her to understand some very important things about me quite quickly; it was also later in the conversation, after we'd established a rapport, so it wasn't intended to throw me off balance.  But still...keep in mind that this is a question you could be asked.

See, that's a question that would throw me, because I over think things.  I would answer as truthfully as I could, but I'm almost certain I would wrap myself around the axle of "well, she knows I'm bullshitting, because I asked this question" or "wait; I answered that other question like THIS, is she calling me on that?".    I'm my own worst enemy in situations like that, because I have to sometimes remind myself that the value, the connection, is in the conversation itself, not the answers.

Are you Norm Peterson?
Quote from: TAC on July 31, 2021, 06:55:07 PMIf I can do it, it's idiot proof.
Quote from: Stadler on January 03, 2024, 09:00:00 AMThat's a word salad - and take it from me, I know word salad
Quote from: hefdaddy42 on November 04, 2021, 05:14:36 AMI fear for the day when something happens on the right that is SO nuts that even Stadler says "That's crazy".

millahh

#464
Just ran through my interview presentation with my wife.  At the end, she asked "So what was your point in all of this?".   >:( :lol  Not that it was incomprehensible, but more, why was I saying what I said, and that it came off more like I was selling my idea, instead of selling myself.  I have a hard time with self-promotion, and tend to walk to walk and not bother that much with the talk. I like to demonstrate competence and have that be enough.  And I always say "we", even if something was my idea or I did all the work.  I can re-orient myself before tomorrow morning, right?

EDIT: I hate rehearsing presentations far more than actually giving them

Stadler

Quote from: jingle.boy on September 16, 2020, 04:44:15 AM
Quote from: Stadler on September 15, 2020, 09:08:39 AM
Quote from: millahh on September 15, 2020, 07:24:06 AM
So here's another question I got during a recent interview, which caught me a bit off-guard:

"What did you do to prepare for this call?" 

It's an interesting twist on a behavioral interview question, because those are normal about something fully in the past, whereas this was present tense, bordering on meta.  I think she was looking to get a sense of how (and how much) I prepare for important things, and how much I try to understand something before opening my mouth. And maybe how seriously I was taking things (which is a big thing for her). And as much as it surprised me, it wasn't a "gotcha" question, I think it was a way for her to understand some very important things about me quite quickly; it was also later in the conversation, after we'd established a rapport, so it wasn't intended to throw me off balance.  But still...keep in mind that this is a question you could be asked.

See, that's a question that would throw me, because I over think things.  I would answer as truthfully as I could, but I'm almost certain I would wrap myself around the axle of "well, she knows I'm bullshitting, because I asked this question" or "wait; I answered that other question like THIS, is she calling me on that?".    I'm my own worst enemy in situations like that, because I have to sometimes remind myself that the value, the connection, is in the conversation itself, not the answers.

Are you Norm Peterson?

Up until the "knick-knack paddy-whack" part, pretty much, yup.   

Nick

I know this is for resumes, and not job interviews, but I've recently posted another job and it's reminding me of some trends I wish to see go away, quickly.

1. #readytowork - I don't want to see any hashtags on your resume, and certainly not one that should be implied by the fact that I have your damn resume attached to a position you applied for.
2. "Authorized to work in the US for any employer" - Again, why the fuck do I have your resume if this is not the case?
3. Preferred pronouns in header - Look, I'm all for calling someone whatever they wish, but pronouns do not need to be up there with name, phone number, and email, ESPECIALLY when they are the pronouns you know damn well I'd use by default in the first place.

millahh

Quote from: Nick on September 22, 2020, 07:27:02 PM
I know this is for resumes, and not job interviews, but I've recently posted another job and it's reminding me of some trends I wish to see go away, quickly.

1. #readytowork - I don't want to see any hashtags on your resume, and certainly not one that should be implied by the fact that I have your damn resume attached to a position you applied for.

#wtf.  A fucking LinkedIn hashtag on an actual resume?  That is something LinkedIn came up with to help recruiters find candidates on their site.  Do people somehow think it holds magical power outside of LinkenIn?

Quote
2. "Authorized to work in the US for any employer" - Again, why the fuck do I have your resume if this is not the case?

This one is a little more justified, even I get asked this in the course of getting screened. I think a lot of places have been burned by getting a good way into an interview/hiring process only to discover that the person wasn't eligible for hire.  I don't think it's necessary, but it's no worse than "references available upon request".

Quote
3. Preferred pronouns in header - Look, I'm all for calling someone whatever they wish, but pronouns do not need to be up there with name, phone number, and email, ESPECIALLY when they are the pronouns you know damn well I'd use by default in the first place.

This strikes me as a uniquely bad idea to put on there, from the point of view of the candidate.  Anything demographic you offer up about yourself is an opportunity for unconscious bias to creep in. Age, ethnicity, sex, religion, or in this case gender/pronouns.  Nothing good can come from this, unless you're applying somewhere that involves social work.  As a candidate, I want an employer to see my accomplishments and history for what they are, without the tint of a demographic lens. As an employer, the less I know about the candidates demographics, the better, as I'm aware of how much unconscious bias can creep in, and I want the best person for the job (and I don't want to be a part of perpetuating inequalities).

---

I had (most) of my biotech interview yesterday.  I'd give myself about an 8.5, with individual interviews ranging from a 7.5 to a 9.5.  The boss had stuff come up and so I still have to have another call with here (it would normally have been my last interview of the day).  The irritating thing was that I had a 30 minute window for my presentation...about 20 minutes to present and 10 minutes for Q&A.  But a couple of key folks were late and we couldn't start until eight minutes late...and my presentation was 22 minutes.    So, there was no time for questions, and it kind of gives the feel that I can't manage time, even though it was out of my control.  And the boss had to drop before my final slide, so she left without a sense of how much longer I was going (and she missed the "punchline" of the presentation). Definitely frustrating, especially as it was the first thing on the day's agenda.  It probably bothers me more than it bothers them, but still....

Time to go write some thank you emails, which includes giving someone some follow-up on a question where I couldn't remember the specifics.

Stadler

I asked my daughter about this (she's a 19-year-old "woke" college student) and her response to the third one: "I wouldn't want to work at any company that would have a problem with that."   I guess, but I've got too much real life experience that not every job can be a perfect confluence of "my passion" and "my morals" and "my politics".   I need to work, I need a job.   If my company isn't the most woke in the world, I can live, and so I'm not going to undermine my chances by that kind of statement.

On the other side, I don't think it's bigotry or -phobia to see that and ask the question, "is this going to be a team player, or is this a person that's going to make every event, decision, opportunity into a political statement?"   "Work" is not "Facebook" or "Twitter".    If I'm hiring an engineer or a administrative assistant or a legal intern, I'm looking for someone to - on company time - do engineering, or administration, or legal work, not be a political operative.   

Nick

Quote from: Stadler on September 23, 2020, 07:28:56 AM
I asked my daughter about this (she's a 19-year-old "woke" college student) and her response to the third one: "I wouldn't want to work at any company that would have a problem with that."   I guess, but I've got too much real life experience that not every job can be a perfect confluence of "my passion" and "my morals" and "my politics". I need to work, I need a job. If my company isn't the most woke in the world, I can live, and so I'm not going to undermine my chances by that kind of statement.

What it comes down to is what millahh said combined what you said about being "woke". If someone is requesting pronouns you wouldn't normally use/assume then I can see it being somewhat justified, though I still don't think that's the best place for that.

It is really when Manly Manliman is applying and has to put in there "he/him". It just screams, "LOOK HOW WOKE I AM!".

And I understand your daughter's concerns about not wanting to work for a company that cares about it, but just so my comments aren't misconstrued it's worth noting that none of my points would keep me from potentially moving forward with a good candidate, I just find them off-putting.

millahh

I'm not inclined to see it as throwing down a gauntlet of wokeness (unless there is other stuff in their application that would back that up), it's just a changing of norms towards being more inclusive.  But it's still a distraction in this context.  And even if a hiring manager has no conscious problem with it, it's still going to be an opportunity for unconscious bias to creep in (even if the person is cis/het/conforming all around, it is still likely to emphasize that the person is young and so might bias the manager to see them as less experienced than they are).

There is very clear research that the identical resume, just changing the sex, ethnicity or age of the applicant, will be received quite differently by reviewers. So why put anything out there that could give the bias more to work with?

Stadler

By the way, minor point, but to be clear, my daughter said THE ARGUMENT is "that I wouldn't want to work at any company..."  Not that she is actually that morally strident (she is, after all, my kid!  :)). 

Orbert

Kids are so cute when they're young and idealistic.

Seriously though, I remember saying things like "This is who I am, and I don't care about anyone who has a problem with it."  Then I grew up and understood that the world does not bend your will and whim.  You learn to live in the world.  It's great to have your personal beliefs and convictions, but when it comes time to get a job and pay the bills, saying stuff like "I would never work for a company that won't call me <preferred pronoun>" is just stupid.  I'm sorry if that offends anyone, but it's true.  We all pick our battles, and the choice between having a job and not having a job because you decided that you want to be called something that most people still don't "get" is stupid.

Stadler


millahh

Well, holy shit.  Offer incoming on the interview I had yesterday!

axeman90210


Orbert


Stadler


cramx3

Quote from: millahh on September 23, 2020, 04:25:40 PM
Well, holy shit.  Offer incoming on the interview I had yesterday!

:metal :metal :metal congrats!

gmillerdrake

Quote from: millahh on September 23, 2020, 04:25:40 PM
Well, holy shit.  Offer incoming on the interview I had yesterday!

Nice Work!!!  :tup

millahh

Thanks all!  My head is still sort of spinning from it.  I had my follow-up with the COO last night, and at the end of the call she said she wanted to make me an offer. I had always envisioned it coming via email from HR and so it caught me completely off guard.  I didn't know this at the time, but they had their debrief about half an hour after my interview ended, so she already had everyone else's perspectives in-hand.  I guess I knew I was in good shape where there was a topic I spoke about and she responded with "ok, now you've won me over", but I still wasn't expecting things to go the way they did.

Now comes the comp discussion.  It will be...interesting.  Moving from a big company to a small company, but making a jump in title.  I might not get what I'd ideally like, but it's also something of a dream job, with the opportunity to carve out my own niche and potentially be a part of leadership for the long term. Plus the financial benefits that come with that.  Not looking forward to this part of it, but I'll most likely survive...

Nick

Quote from: millahh on September 24, 2020, 11:05:56 AM
but I'll most likely survive...

By the grace of god above, everyone will survive.

kirksnosehair


jingle.boy

Quote from: Nick on September 23, 2020, 08:08:55 AM
Quote from: Stadler on September 23, 2020, 07:28:56 AM
I asked my daughter about this (she's a 19-year-old "woke" college student) and her response to the third one: "I wouldn't want to work at any company that would have a problem with that."   I guess, but I've got too much real life experience that not every job can be a perfect confluence of "my passion" and "my morals" and "my politics". I need to work, I need a job. If my company isn't the most woke in the world, I can live, and so I'm not going to undermine my chances by that kind of statement.

What it comes down to is what millahh said combined what you said about being "woke". If someone is requesting pronouns you wouldn't normally use/assume then I can see it being somewhat justified, though I still don't think that's the best place for that.

This is fair.  Like when you see "Roger (she/her)", it's probably a good thing they gave you a heads up.
Quote from: TAC on July 31, 2021, 06:55:07 PMIf I can do it, it's idiot proof.
Quote from: Stadler on January 03, 2024, 09:00:00 AMThat's a word salad - and take it from me, I know word salad
Quote from: hefdaddy42 on November 04, 2021, 05:14:36 AMI fear for the day when something happens on the right that is SO nuts that even Stadler says "That's crazy".

jingle.boy

Oh... and awesome-sauce millahh!   Lay the smack down on that comp plan.  "You pay me this fuckin salary, or I bust your fuckin kneecaps!".  Or something like that.
Quote from: TAC on July 31, 2021, 06:55:07 PMIf I can do it, it's idiot proof.
Quote from: Stadler on January 03, 2024, 09:00:00 AMThat's a word salad - and take it from me, I know word salad
Quote from: hefdaddy42 on November 04, 2021, 05:14:36 AMI fear for the day when something happens on the right that is SO nuts that even Stadler says "That's crazy".

cramx3

Not really any interview post, but figured it might fit here...

The founder of the company I work for who left after he sold the company to a very large well known fortune 50 company is apparently starting up a new company (not in the same field, but focusing on tech still) and looks like a few of the top engineers here who have been here longer than almost anyone who is still around are leaving to go work with him again.  The guy has a track record now of starting companies before selling them for lots of money.  I miss the way my company used to be ran as well when he was CEO.  Makes me want to jump ship as well... but they are wayyyy too small and only have like 4 open positions for nothing that relates to what I bring to the table.  However, makes me think I should keep my eyes open if I start seeing people from the operations side (my branch) flock over. 

Now that I think about it, twice I've flocked with others who left for another role and brought trusted coworkers with them, both times to great benefits to my career.  I guess that goes along with the "who you know" thing, but also why it's good not to burn bridges.  Maybe in a couple years I'll be able to get in on that start up, who knows. 

millahh

I think going into a salary negotiation might actually be more stressful than interviewing. Their offer is a little above what I was told the range for the position is, and so I feel kind of guilty asking for more.  And yet, I'm probably worth more, and a trusted colleague thinks I could probably move the needle 5-10%.  When it comes to salary, it's so hard to break the conditioning of "be grateful for what you're given", when it should be "feel comfortable asking for your worth".  Sigh.

kirksnosehair

Quote from: millahh on September 29, 2020, 06:34:52 AM
I think going into a salary negotiation might actually be more stressful than interviewing. Their offer is a little above what I was told the range for the position is, and so I feel kind of guilty asking for more.  And yet, I'm probably worth more, and a trusted colleague thinks I could probably move the needle 5-10%.  When it comes to salary, it's so hard to break the conditioning of "be grateful for what you're given", when it should be "feel comfortable asking for your worth".  Sigh.


A small piece of advice on this from someone who does a lot of hiring...yes, you should absolutely tell them how much you think you are worth.  But understand also that if you price yourself too aggressively (meaning too high) you risk leaving them with the impression that if you did take the position you'd be working for a lot less money than you wanted and that makes you a flawed candidate because people who feel they're underpaid are much more likely to seek higher compensation elsewhere while they are in your employ. 


I'll just use some numbers from my most recent hire - I was hiring an entry-level I.T. guy for day-to-day help desk support and a bit of light server work - basically downloading and installing specific Microsoft updates and rebooting servers all day.  The kind of work I could train the janitor to do in about 15 minutes.  We advertised the position as "entry level I.T. position" and I received a fair amount of resumes, almost all of them way, way overqualified.  But there were a couple of young(ish) students so I brought them in first.

The first kid comes in and he's got a suit and tie on and he's very clean-cut.  After talking with him a while I think he's probably the perfect candidate, but then I ask him what he's looking for in terms of compensation and he deadpans: $80,000  :lol   I let out a little laugh but he was dead serious.  He was also instantly disqualified  I was looking to pay someone maybe $25/hour which is about $52,000.

Next guy that came in wasn't quite as clean cut but when I asked him how much he wanted he said "I know it's entry level so I was hoping it would be at least $20/hour"

He's been with me for two years now and he's making $27.50/hour and says he's a "lifer" with this company now  :biggrin:

The moral of the story is, of course, don't oversell yourself.  The minute that first kid blurted out $80,000 hiring him was out of the question.

jingle.boy

If I was in that position (and to some degree, I have been with my existing company and role - ie, not during an external hiring process), I would simply state that I wouldn't want either of us to feel short-changed (you underpaid; them over-paying) ... that I'm committed to the role and company, but not at the expense of being significantly under-valued.  Something along those lines.
Quote from: TAC on July 31, 2021, 06:55:07 PMIf I can do it, it's idiot proof.
Quote from: Stadler on January 03, 2024, 09:00:00 AMThat's a word salad - and take it from me, I know word salad
Quote from: hefdaddy42 on November 04, 2021, 05:14:36 AMI fear for the day when something happens on the right that is SO nuts that even Stadler says "That's crazy".

millahh

I'm certainly not going to do anything silly or out-of-range for the role/region.  The logic I'm going to use is that my soon-to-be-former employer had very generous equity grants, so even though the base is a good increase, I'd actually be taking in less in total comps in the new role (which is a higher title and more responsibility) than in my old one.  And I'm really getting the sense that it's reasonable to negotiate in the 5-10% range, but beyond that you risk looking like a loon.  I think my ask may be for about 8%...which I'm not sure if they can meet, as it's a much smaller company, but I'd think they could at least do something.