April 10, 2006

More on interviewing.

Well the interviewing process is done. My post of interviewing tips was written after the first day, I really should have waiting until the end of the process before writing them. There are more tips to add.

-Calm down. If you are so nervous that you shake from head to toe during the ENTIRE interview, that does not give the best impression of you. We all know that the person being interviewed is going to be nervous. I take that into consideration, but when you are sitting in your chair shaking so hard that I can feel it through the floor into my chair and it’s vibrating the desk where I’m writing notes, that is NOT good.

-For the love of god, stay on topic. When we ask you a question, we want an answer pertaining to the question, not something that is completely off topic. IE. If the question asked is “As part of the position you will have to give negative feedback, have you ever given negative feedback and if so how did you go about doing it?” Do not answer: That’s a tough question, when I was learning how to do my last job I always had to do this task I wasn’t trained on. In order to do it I would look up the information in the manuals or ask my peers how to get the information. In doing so I taught myself how to do the job correctly.” WHAT?!?!?!?! Where did that answer come from? That’s a decent answer to a completely different question, but for the question asked it sucked!

-If asked what your greatest weakness is, the worst answer you can give is; “I don’t have any” Trust me, everyone has a weakness. When you say I don’t have one, it sounds very arrogant and egotistical. First this is a loaded question; it’s a BS question, it’s a question that interviewers ask to see what kind of personality you have. The best way to answer this is to find something that you aren’t the strongest at, state that and then turn it into a strength. The best answer I received to this question was: “My greatest weakness is that I’m over analytical. I will take extra time to analyze something I’m doing to make sure that it is done correctly. This has caused my production to drop off. At the same time I have near perfect quality. By analyzing every aspect of what I don’t make mistakes. It’s rare that something is returned to me for doing it wrong. However, after over analyzing everything I know exactly what I’m doing and what I’m looking for, so I no longer have to research as much and my production has increased.” My god, that is damn near a textbook answer.

-Do not lie, mislead or give false information. This is so important I shouldn’t have to tell people, yet out of the interviews I did I had no less then two people do exactly that during the interviews. I don’t know if they didn’t think I’d check on what they where telling me or if they were overstating their experience. Either way, when the interviewer finds out that you lied, mislead or gave false information, it’s more then likely going to move your resume to the “not likely” pile.

-Do not chew gum, suck on candy, or pop breath mints during the interview. It’s unprofessional and again gives a poor impression of you.

-Perfume/cologne is okay in moderation. If you wear so much that my eyes start watering, you have too much on. Scents should be subtle and barely noticeable, just hint of scent. Not a club of stink pretty. On the same note, do not drink a gallon of mouthwash before the interview. Sitting across a table from someone that smells like they ate a Christmas tree when they speak is rather distracting.

-Confidence is good, over confidence is bad, arrogance is just wrong. I interviewed a person that came in so over confident/arrogant that the position was theirs that even though they are in the running; it’s what’s keeping them from being a sure thing. I’ve never spoke with this person before; I really don’t know what they are like. If this was just something they did for the interview it can be forgiven, but if this individual is like that on a daily basis I don’t want them working for me. I don’t need a prima donna.

-For the love of all that is good, do not interrupt the interviewer while they are asking a question or speaking. Wait until they are finished, and then ask. Unless it is an emergency, i.e. the room is on fire and for some reason they don’t notice, you can wait until they are done speaking.

-Finally, there may be a thing as too much detail, but I have yet to see it in an interview. Remember, you are trying to convince these people you are the right person for the job. As long as you are on topic, (see above) go into as much detail as possible with your answers. You need to impress the interviewer with your knowledge and skills. I had one person go into so much detail, they where teaching me things. Yes, this person is a finalist.

If any of these tips helps even one person get a job, that’s great. I think some really qualified individuals may not get the job because they had some poor interviewing skills. They may even be the best person for the job, but they did not convince me that they where. That is what the interview is; making sure that the candidate is the best for the job. If you can’t convince me of that, then you aren’t going to get it.

Posted by Contagion in Tales from the Work Place at April 10, 2006 06:19 PM | TrackBack