Anyone here a pro at interviewing/questions?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Dodgeman, May 31, 2018.

  1. Dodgeman macrumors 65816

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    #1
    Just curious if anyone has any tips to some interview questions and ways to answer some questions?
     
  2. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

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    #2
    Might be good to know the purpose of the interview:
    New job?
    Possible promotion, or new assignment in your present job?
    Admission interview for uni, or other educational opportunities?
    Interview for membership in an organization of some kind, or a social group?
    Legal interview, such as a court deposition?
    Criminal interview, either by an investigative agency, or law enforcement?
    Other types of interviews, probably too numerous to list here.
     
  3. Dodgeman thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Lol Great feedback man.
    Typical job interview questions. (New employer)
    I can list some of the questions out.
     
  4. LizKat macrumors 601

    LizKat

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    #4
    Answer questions honestly. If you don't know and figure maybe you might have to know sometime, then just say you don't know but you know how to find out. Presumably you do, or are you showing up completely ignorant of even basic aspects of the job? I never memorized how to code stuff involving instructions to certain kinds of peripheral devices, but I knew those devices existed and that there was a section in the job control language manual that dealt with those commands. That got me past some question in a tech interview once about how to signal mounting a second volume on a tape drive when the data didn't fit on one volume. "Good enough," the guy said, "I don't have a clue either, why memorize it when you can look it up..."

    Be yourself. It's easier than remembering a made-up personality offered to a prospective employer. Otherwise that little fib you told about enjoying tennis on your days off comes back to bite you, right after you discover there's an annual company picnic and guess what, they hold it out at a nice country club where there are... yeah, tennis courts... and your project manager "knows" you love to play tennis because you said so, remember?

    These days you'll be caught out for any trackable discrepancies between your resumé or what you say in an interview versus those footprints out there. More employers bother checking stuff out these days. And that's because more people lie these days. So if you're of the type that never tells lies, try to keep it that way: telling them on a job interview is not the best way to break into our apparently popular culture of making everything up as we go.

    If you think you'll be less well thought of for some of the items in your track record (or lack of it), be honest about them and note how you're trying to improve yourself. Presumably you're always trying to improve yourself if you're in the job market... so.. make it happen. The people you're competing with are making it happen. It's called paying your dues and you have to be willing to invest some "spare" time in keeping up with advances in your chosen occupation. Either that or else spend some time each week making headway in learning more about an alternative, if you decide you don't like the kind of work you've ended up doing.
     
  5. NightGeometry macrumors regular

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    Apr 11, 2004
    #5
    Everything LizKat said. For me I don't mind an interviewee disagreeing with me, if it's in line with their experience, how they come across etc. I actually ask questions that I hope people will disagree on, because I don't just want a drone.

    We did have a candidate who actually ended up arguing with my boss, but not addressing her directly (which at that point made it really obvious he hadn't addressed her directly for the entire interview), before that point, which was the last question, he had been our favoured candidate. We dodged a bit of a bullet on that one...

    I also take note of small things I suspect people just say because they are trying to fill a gap. Later in an interview I'll ask specific things about the item I made a note of. I really don't care if they can't extrapolate on a point, or say they were just adding detail. I don't want someone to lie about something though. It's back to don't tell lies, you end up having to cover little lies with bigger more obvious ones. If you get caught in a 'half truth' own up to your mistake, that shows at least some character :)

    As an interviewer I am just going with Joel Spolsky's old advice. I want people who are smart, and who get stuff done. If a candidate clearly gets both of those across, I can probably teach them anything else I need, and we're all good. I don't think many interviewers necessarily explicitly go by this but I suspect even those who aren't will be hooked if you can get those two points across.

    Also, for me, the point where I ask do you have any questions for me is where I mostly stop paying attention. At this point I would like someone to ask one or two questions that demonstrate they know of the company/industry/role I'm interviewing for, but I've kind of finished interviewing by then. That is unless someone asks something stupid, outrageous or just downright weird. I would always advise don't ask any meaningful questions, ask one or two superficially interesting ones. You can destroy a good interview here, but you can't really recover a bad one. There's no upside. (Others may disagree).


    Not specifically interview related, but a CV comment. I see no upside in adding hobbies or other interests. It is possible you may have an interest that makes you a better candidate, but it's very rare (and if it is highly related to the position I'm interviewing for, I'm going to suspect you made it up).

    (Just for context most of my recent interviewing has been done for people to work on investment bank trading systems - it's a fairly stressful and aggressive environment. My advice may not be entirely relevant to other industries.)
     
  6. Scepticalscribe, Jun 2, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2018

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #6
    Actually, I beg to differ.

    If the interview has been patronising - and/or a complete waste of my time - and I have had a few of those - this is where - nowadays - I asked a barbed question or two, if only to jolt and nettle the board and make them actually think of a response; it is surprising how many boards find it difficult think on their feet.

    And this also confirms that while they might not want you, you also have come to the conclusion that you don't especially wish to work with them.
     
  7. 0002378, Jun 2, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2018

    0002378 Suspended

    0002378

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    #7
    ----------------------------- If you are an interviewee ------------------------------------

    Like @LizKat said, be honest, be prepared to back up anything and everything on your resume, and show willingness to learn what you don't yet know. Lying and then being exposed will not do you much good.

    Know that not every question that is asked is intended to have a precise answer. Sometimes, the interviewer is more interested in your ability to reason, solve problems, and how you apply your knowledge, rather than a bottom line answer. So, depending on your field, you may get a somewhat abstract question about rearranging marbles in a jar, the size of the universe, wolf and sheep, etc.

    Be prepared for questions about soft skills - "Give me an example of a conflict you had with a former co-worker. How did you resolve the conflict ?" ... "Did you present your work to audiences ? Describe the presentations."

    Be prepared for questions about career growth - "Where do you want to be 5 years from now ? 10 years ?"

    Know the company you are interviewing at - "Why do you want to work at Apple ? What do you like so much about Apple ?" Research their website, products/services, etc. Don't say, "Because I really need a job right now."

    ----------------------------- If you are an interviewer ------------------------------------

    What I love to do when I interview - Tell the candidate, "From all the experience listed on your resume, pick your favorite project, and describe, in detail, your work on it." This short and simple question covers a LOT. It will tell you how passionate the candidate is about his/her work, how well he/she communicates (being able to explain your work to others is very important), any challenges faced and how they were resolved, and of course the core technical skills as well.

    Ask questions that don't have concise/direct/precise answers that the candidate could have Googled. Ask questions that test the candidate's ability to reason and approach or deduce (if possible) an answer rather than recall it from memory.

    Ask the candidate what is important to them at the job - Do they value work-life balance ? Are they workaholics ? Do they prefer solo work or working with people ? Such questions will help you determine the fit of the candidate within your organization.

    Ask them how they would resolve a hypothetical conflict or crisis scenario, and how they did so at a previous job. For instance, in the software field, I would ask, "Let's say you were having a disagreement with a senior engineer about a program. How would you go about coming to an agreement about the best solution ?"

    Big picture thinking is very important at any job. A candidate must not only be able to apply technical skills, but also be able to look at everything from a bird's eye view - what do customers really want, is this piece of my work providing value, what are my priorities with this particular project, what can I compromise on, how do I deal with an incompetent co-worker, etc ... So, ask questions that test the candidate's ability to put things in perspective.
     
  8. Dodgeman thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #8
    Good feedback thanks for that. Yeah banking is a field that I am interested in.

    That is a big point in an interview is thinking on your feet and remaining calm. Actually easier said than done.

    I spent time on both sides of the fence. An approach I saw that worked on the person conducting the interview was doing the guide which is required by HR, but then he did a sit back & talk approach to just get a feel about what kind of person they are and how they hold a conversation (down to earth approach).

    On the other side I seen a guy remain positive, humble, relaxed, calm, friendly, and personable. Did not react to any baits, answered questions very calmly and was positively.
     
  9. NightGeometry macrumors regular

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    Apr 11, 2004
    #9
    That's entirely fair, but presumably at that point you have already decided you aren't interested anyway, haven't you? I guess this is one of the situations where an answer from the interviewer(s) may change your mind, rather than theirs.

    Which in turns comes to another aspect. The interview isn't just there for 'the company' to work out if they want to work with you, but also for you to find out if you want to work with them.
     
  10. timeconsumer macrumors 68000

    timeconsumer

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    #10
    Some good information here, thanks! At the end of a job interview when they ask if you have any questions, what are some good questions to ask?
     
  11. 0002378, Jun 2, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2018

    0002378 Suspended

    0002378

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    #11
    Ask about the company culture and work/life balance, and see how well it jives with what you want - do employees work from home, do they work a lot of overtime, are there fun team-bonding events, what are the facilities like, etc.

    If it's a company worth working for (or a team worth working in), they will appreciate this question and be happy to answer it :)

    Of course, ask this only if you care about it. If you don't really have anything to ask, it is perfectly ok to say, "I have no questions, thanks." I don't think you can be penalized for having no questions.
     
  12. Gutwrench, Jun 2, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2018

    Gutwrench Contributor

    Gutwrench

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    #12

    I indeed hope so, because the board has lost interest that’s for sure. Smart assed candidates are wasting everyone’s time. It’s a window into their personality - which if it’s showing up there - will only be worse if offered a position. And they don’t realize it’s a small world and word travels.
     
  13. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #13
    Well, I have attended an interview where it was clear that the board were wasting my time, and - I suspect may have had another candidate in mind. I did not trouble masking my annoyance, which irked them.

    In this instance, I was supremely qualified for the post advertised, - 19th and 20th century Russian history - but almost all of the questions asked focussed on the one period in a thousand years of European history that I had not taught (18th century history), an omission it would have required a fine comb going through my CV to realise that I not taught.

    Eventually, I asked the interview board why they were wasting my time, and why they hadn't advertised for an 18th century specialist, as that was what their questions suggested they wanted, whereas I had applied - as one of the leading specialists in my country - for a position to teach 19th century and 20th century Russian and Soviet history. All they could bleat by way of reply was they my references were extremely good.

    I also asked the board (they were startled by this) when they expected to be able to notify the respective candidates of the outcome of the interview - adding (truthfully) - to their clear surprise, that I would be completely out of contact (this was well over a decade ago) as I was delivering a series of lectures (funded by the EU) about the EU in Kaliningrad for the following week - starting the following day.

    In truth, I would not have minded being passed over in favour of a (rare) candidate who was better qualified than me in the area the board claimed to have sought an appropriately qualified candidate, but - as transpired during the interview - this was not, in fact, the case.



    Not for the first time, I think you may be missing the point of what is being discussed.
     
  14. LizKat macrumors 601

    LizKat

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    #14
    I have also done that as an applicant in certain interviews. Sometimes the answer to a question of mine could be a deal breaker (even in the asking of it) and I knew that and asked it anyway because it was important to me.

    I didn't always bother asking a question of that sort if I had sensed the interviewer was leaning away from offering me the position, but sometimes I made a point of it anyway, to --as you say-- jolt them if they gave an answer that didn't sit well with me: on my way out of their lives I'd make an effort to rebut their point, courteously, with some info that was apparently new to them and that they could maybe use to their benefit some other time.

    The important thing for me --if I did want the job-- was that I was willing to risk not getting the slot if they didn't like the question or I realized the answer meant I wasn't going to like working there. Sometimes I'd stow it until and unless I was offered the job but then I don't like wasting other people's time or my own either, so usually if something matters to me that much I'll ask the question during the interview process.

    It's always a very individual thing. If you like how the job sounds and you think they like you and you really need the job, don't go to potentially dealbreaking questions in "question time". Ask when they've offered the job. At that point merely asking a question is probably not enough to cause them to withdraw an offer. You can say no to a job offer when you happen to acquire more info that makes you not want the position.

    Putting shoe on the other foot: as a tech interviewer, I was occasionally annoyed by having someone ask me questions about corporate employee benefits. Maternity benefits even. I'm not the HR department so please save that stuff for them.... the only thing I was permitted to say about benefits anyway was that "our HR group has the most current info on our benefits and I can give you their phone extension, just provide your name and tell them you were interviewing in our IT group today." But seriously? Don't ask about benefits before they offer you the job.
     
  15. laptech macrumors 6502

    laptech

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    #15
    An interviewer not understanding the company benefits is a problem on the interviewer, not the interviewee.

    It is very important for an interviewee to ask what benefits the company offers because otherwise it's a waste of time for everyone if they accept the job then realise the company benefits are something they cannot handle and leave the job within a few days.

    Know what your statutory employee rights are first because you do not want to ask them questions that are covered by employment law. Not all companies offer a complete range of benefits and it's up to you, based on your circumstances what questions about benefits you ask.

    If you get the impression that the interviewer is not happy being asked such questions in an interview then that is a big red flag to say 'no, this company is not for me', regardless of how good you think the job is.
     
  16. Gutwrench Contributor

    Gutwrench

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    #16
    Were you under subpoena?

    I didn’t miss the point, clearly.

    Do you disagree with this?
     
  17. 0002378, Jun 2, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2018

    0002378 Suspended

    0002378

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    #17
    But couldn't the benefits package be an important factor in someone's decision whether or not to wait for a potential offer from employer XYZ ?

    If I'm well qualified and have 2 offers in hand and am waiting on XYZ to hand me a potential 3rd offer, time is running out on the two offers in hand, and I want to know - how many sick days am I going to get, are they going to pay for my MBA, what kind of insurance plans, etc ... before I turn down the offers in hand.

    I think it's a totally fair question to ask before an offer is even made. And, I also think it's ok to ask the interviewer (who may not be HR), because the interviewer is the temporary liaison between the candidate and the company. The interviewer is the representative, so if he doesn't know what the benefits package is, he needs to find out from HR and let the candidate know (or at least point in the right direction).
     
  18. LizKat macrumors 601

    LizKat

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    #18
    That's why we as tech interviewers always pointed them at HR if they asked us -- for whatever reason. The applicant had the right to know and we had specifically been forbidden to discuss the benefits but were instructed to give the applicant a path to getting answers about them.

    Personally as an applicant I did not ask about the benefits at an interview. I often asked headhunters about them though, especially if I was unfamiliar with the company or the type of company. I had worked in investment-related firms a lot before ending up in support of business aspects of media companies. They're pretty different in a lot of ways.

    Anyway I asked the headhunters because if someone wanted to figure me as more crass about the bennies than intrigued by the work itself, etc., it was going be someone who first of all wouldn't think that and secondly even if he did.. shrug... he's just a headhunter, not my prospective future boss.

    Often enough I already knew something of the benefits because friends had worked or did work there etc. When I got an offer, then I asked HR the questions I figured were more related to the nuts and bolts of working at the place as "an employee" than to the kind of work I was going to be doing.

    Maybe it was a girl thing too. There are a lot of reasons people don't care to hire women and a lot of reasons people come up with in their heads for why they don't want to hire someone when you can't legally just say you don't want a girl on the team.

    So... me being "crass" about the bennies wasn't going to be one of those reasons. I'd be crass with the headhunter instead. "What, they only give 2 weeks' vacation and you can't take it in days? No way. What else you got?"
     
  19. Gutwrench Contributor

    Gutwrench

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    #19
    Is this reality or a perception? Having been in IT for a while I’ve not ever sensed this. Tell us more.
     
  20. LizKat macrumors 601

    LizKat

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    #20
    Maybe I should have put the word reason in quotes.

    "Are you pregnant or planning to get there any time soon?"

    No interviewer in the States is going to ask a woman that.

    If a woman inquires about benefits with respect to maternity leave, that's certainly something HR would be prepared to answer.

    However, I think a woman would be nuts to ask about those benefits while speaking with her prospective project manager in an interview.
     
  21. Scepticalscribe, Jun 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #21
    That is an excellent post, and I agree completely that the atmosphere at an interview - and the sense of how professional or welcoming a panel is can colour how you come to perceive the job.

    I have been in interviews where the interview board could not have been more courteous, professional and positive; the job was interesting and it can be clear that a board has taken a shine to you; likewise, I have also had the other sort of interview where both you and they are wasting time and simply going through the motions.

    I also agree with @LizKat that some interviewers are not especially keen on female candidates, sometimes not fully realising this themselves as the bias is unconscious. Then, there are the rare (but wonderful) days when you are the right person, with the right set of skills, in the right place at the right time.

    To the OP: I would agree with those who have posted about being open - honest was the term used; interview boards do not need to know everything about your life (and nor should they wish to), but a credible answer for say - gaps in a resumé - will often score you points from a board.

    Likewise, you should have done some homework on the company, what they do, and give some thought to what challenges they may face (if this is covered in any business or social media) in their field - from technology, a changing world, competitors, etc.
     
  22. Dodgeman thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #22
    Question: When is the last time some of you have done an interview for a job?
    Is it a promotion for the company you are already in, a career change? or just a different job?
     
  23. D.T. macrumors G3

    D.T.

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    #23

    As a "professional adult"? Never. I'm the captain of this ship :D
     
  24. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #24
    Last year, when my name was put forward for the position I currently hold.
     
  25. Dodgeman thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #25
    What do you folks do?

    Ive been at my job well over 5 years.
    Held that same job most of my adult life & usually every single interview has been internal.
     

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