Page 1 of 1 [ 7 posts ] 

Einfari
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 22 Dec 2011
Age: 25
Gender: Female
Posts: 563

11 May 2013, 12:09 am

During the coming week, I will have my first job interviews. One is on Monday and the other is on Tuesday. I've had a job before, but I didn't need to interview for it. I just applied and got the job. The first job involves caring for fish in the same building where I do volunteer genetics research. My friend that I volunteer for set up the meeting. The other job involves working at a video store. For anyone who has done a job interview before, what types of questions do the interviewers ask? How should I answer them? Are there any questions I should ask? I'm a bit nervous for the interviews, so what is the best advice you have? I need a job this summer because I need money for college.



Stargazer43
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 Nov 2011
Age: 34
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,681

11 May 2013, 1:37 am

Talk about a hefty question! I'll try my best to provide advice. They are a truly nerve-racking experience and you will need practice to get good at them, but try your best to calm yourself. Nervousness is one of the biggest interview killers unfortunately.

1.) I'll start with the easy part first, at the end of the interview, they will ask if you have any questions for them...always ask them at least 1 or 2. It shows that you are interested in their company and your potential career.

2.) You never know what they'll ask, but there ARE some questions that are asked so frequently in interviews that you should have answers ready. These are: "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" (I'd recommend having at least 3 of each that you can discuss), "Why would you be the best candidate for the job?", "Describe an experience where you _____________". This last one is the hardest in my opinion. An example of one I get asked a lot is "Describe an experience where you had to work in a team, and one member was causing conflict within the group". Or "Describe a situation where you exhibited leadership over a group or team". They'll probably ask things about your academic and work experience also. But really they can fill that blank in with anything that may be related to the job. I have actually become pretty good at answering interview questions, so if you have any that you're struggling with I can do my best to help out.

As for how to answer, I recommend using the STAR answer format for any answers where you are describing your actions in a situation. STAR stands for situation, task, action, result. This means that you start out by describing the situation you were in in detail. Then, you describe the particular task you were attempting to perform in that situation. Next, you describe any actions that you took, and finally you explain the result of those actions. A *very* brief example for leadership (I made this one up for the record, I've never coached anything lol...and a real answer should be much longer in an interview): "Last summer I was involved as a coach for a youth soccer team. It was my job to get them in shape for a big game against a rival team. I was able to inspire them to work together as a group by implementing several team-building exercises, and as a result the team was able to win first place in the division."

Oh, and two other things! First, always try to use examples from work experience over academic, assuming that said work experience is in the same field as the job. For whatever reason, employers put a much greater weight on work experience than they do on anything academic, which I personally strongly disagree with, but it's the way of the world. Second...I actually forgot what I was going to say lol, but if it comes to me I'll edit it back in here!



uncompahqre
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

User avatar

Joined: 4 Jan 2013
Gender: Male
Posts: 29

11 May 2013, 7:11 pm

Stargazer43 wrote:
These are: "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" (I'd recommend having at least 3 of each that you can discuss)


@stargazer43 gave really good advice. One thing I would add regarding the above is be careful when you talk about your "weaknesses". If you are too open or honest about this, you will fail the interview. The trick is to couch the answer in terms of your talents. I answer with: "My greatest weakness is that I'm impatient. I get things done much faster than others, and I expect others to be able to keep up". That way it is a qualified weakness insomuch that it's there because of a strength!

In general having a positive attitude, showing enthusiasm for the job, and being inquisitive are all very important. It helps to do some research about the position and then come up with questions based on that. This shows you are motivated and enthusiastic. Good luck!



Stargazer43
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 Nov 2011
Age: 34
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,681

11 May 2013, 7:52 pm

Spot on about the weakness question. But please, for goodness sakes, do not say "My biggest weakness is that I'm a perfectionist". Every time I hear someone say that I seriously cringe inside lol.

A paraphrase of my personal answer to the question is "My biggest weakness is time management. It can often be difficult to juggle multiple tasks at the same time, so to combat this difficulty I have developed a comprehensive time management and scheduling system that I use not only in the workplace but in my personal life as well. Ever since devising this strategy, my productivity has increased dramatically and I have been able to meet all deadlines without issue." You want to give a real, concrete weakness, but then you want to explain why your weakness is not a problem, and why it will not hinder you at all on the job. Any steps you've taken to deal with your weakness are welcome additions as well.



uncompahqre
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

User avatar

Joined: 4 Jan 2013
Gender: Male
Posts: 29

12 May 2013, 7:32 am

Agree regarding the perfectionist answer. If you answer with something insincere, a good manager will see right through it. Stargazer's approach is good too -- illustrate that your are aware of a weakness and then discuss how you overcome it/manage it. Another one I use is that I don't have the greatest memory (except with what I'm hyperfocused on). So I write copious notes to ensure I don't forget what has been said in meetings.



Mitrovah
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

User avatar

Joined: 17 Jan 2013
Age: 31
Gender: Male
Posts: 339
Location: Iowa USA

10 Jul 2013, 7:51 pm

This is a bit post factum but for anyone else who reads this I would say be concise as possible Is a good way to answer questions; no commentary, no opinions, no personal viewpoint. Say as much as necessary literally answer the questions and let the interviewer ask for anything and still stick to it. In a sense being purposefully being opaque without looking as if that is what you are doing. That may be not the usual gameplan for a neurotupical but it will keep people like us saying something that seems innocuous but could easily be misconstrued by "the thinking" of a neurotupical



managertina
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 29 Oct 2012
Age: 35
Gender: Female
Posts: 700

10 Jul 2013, 8:05 pm

In response to the weakness question, I tried doing the perfectionist route. I also tried saying I was too generous. In the same interview. And was caught both times, and asked a third time for a weakness, and said I had none. Three bad answers to give!

What you can do is mention a weakness that is technical and that you are in the process of fixing or know how to fix. Do not make it a weakness that is central to the job description. So, if it's a cashier job, don't make it regarding math or customer service. It might be something like, fixing DVD players or memorizing all the different dvd player make types, but what is most important is having a fix plan for that weakness, so you can show that you are enthusiastic and that you can fix some problems.

Above all, do not lie. Lying about past jobs will be caught out in the background checks, or your lack of skills you would have gained will rat you out.