Job Interview Comin' Up

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Matt Stone, Apr 16, 2002.

  1. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    I'm a Soph in college and have a job interview for a Web Programmer position on Wednesday. Just found out about it today...so I'm trying to do some last minute preparation. Any advice from the good ol' folks at the HTF?
     
  2. Bob Sheen

    Bob Sheen Stunt Coordinator

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    As someone who does a lot of hiring i would say that you can't go wrong by concentreting on the following basics:

    1) Appearance/1st impressions:

    Walk into the interview confident, smiling, relaxed and friendly.

    Look interviewer in the eyes in a friendly manner and extend your hand for a healthy handshake.

    Make sure that you are clean, neat looking and dressed for the part.

    2) Presentation

    Be as relaxed as possible when being interviewed. Listen very carefully and be in tune with what the interviewer(s) are saying.

    Stop, pause & think before answering a question. Just concentrate on the question and then give your best reply.

    Don't get hung up if you don't know the complete answer to something. Answer to the best of your ability and transition to the next question.

    Don't be afraid to toot your own horn. But don't be to boastful either. That can be a turn-off.

    Talk about accomplishments in previous jobs

    3) Knowledge/preparation:

    Know your stuff.

    Know something about the company that you are applying for. It bugs the daylights out of me when i ask: What do you know about our company ? and the candidate doesn't even know what we do. There's no reason for that given the tools at our disposition for info/research.

    Know your strenghts and weaknesses. Accentuate the positive.

    Do a search on the net for "Job Interview Questions" and go practice answering some basic/common interview questions

    4) Follow-up:

    Thank your interviewer(s) with a handshake.

    Follow-up the next day with a Thank You note of e-mail and re-state your interest and ability to do the job.

    Overall, just be positive/confident and that will shine through.

    If you get nervous....just remember that interviewers are, for the most part, just regular everyday people. Don't get hung up on that. Just forge ahead. It'll go away in a couple of minutes. All you're really doing is having a conversation witrh another person. If you can carry a conversation with a another person, you can survive a job interview.

    Good luck.

    Bob
     
  3. JasenP

    JasenP Screenwriter

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    This may go along with appearance but when I was in HR one of the biggest problems candidates had was using too much cologne/aftershave.

    The conference rooms were small and had very poor air circulation. On occasion, my eyes would water from the abundance of Joop! in the air.

    It's a minor tip, but an important one.
     
  4. Shayne Lebrun

    Shayne Lebrun Screenwriter

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    Breathe. I once interviewed a college student who would only actually inhale when answering a question. Otherwise, she'd sit there perfectly motionless.

    The very best way to prepare for the actual answering of questions is to 'visualize.' You can find lists of common interview questions on job sites; imagine yourself being asked, and answering all those questions.

    Have several questions to ask back. Good ones. Again, you can find such lists on line.

    I agree with the 'too many smelly products' sentiments, especially because I'm allergic to most such things.

    Never be afraid to say 'I don't know.' BUT qualify that with what you'd do to find out. Always differentiate between fact, educated guess, and opinion. Explain your reasoning. "Gosh, I'm not sure, I've never done that. But it sounds like it would be similar to doing THIS, because both involve blah and blah, so I'd assume that the proceedure is similar. Either way, there's a reference site I frequent called 'blah.com' where I could find the information."

    Do NOT bullshit in ANY way, shape, or form.

    But most of all, relax. Do NOT consider it an 'interview.' Consider it a 'conversation.' It's a two way interaction.
     
  5. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    Matt, I've been through tons of interviews, so I can offer some road-tested advice here.

    First, relax and be yourself. Not like you're in front of the TV relaxing, but have confidence in your abilities and value.

    Second, PREPARE A LIST OF QUESTIONS relating to the job. There are two kinds of questions, essentially to ask. First, about the organization (heirarchy, feedback, culture, etc.) and second about the job itself. If you're having trouble thinking of questions, imagine that you were just given the job. What would you want/need to know in order to perform well? I cannot stress enough how crucial it is that you ask questions -- it shows interest, forethought and creativity.

    Third, keep your answers concise and business-oriented. If they ask you to tell them about yourself, list or BRIEFLY share activities or interests or experiences that will tell them about you as an employee. You're not there to make a new friend. You're there to sell yourself to them. Don't be afraid to pause for a MOMENT to collect your thoughts before answering. Just don't let any too-long silences go between them asking and you responding.

    Lastly, remember what you are there for. The purpose of an interview, from your standpoint, is to get a job offer. Not to evaluate them. Not to explore possibilities. You want them to offer you the job. It is far better to be in a position to turn them down than to have them tell YOU no. Everything you say and do should be focused on truthfully and persuasively presenting yourself as the best candidate for the position. Never lie.

    Good luck. Please let us all know what happens!
     
  6. Paul_Fisher

    Paul_Fisher Screenwriter

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    I'm a senior right now in management information systems and I'm trying to find any job in the information technology field and the job market is absolutely awful. I've had 3 interviews with companies and hopefully I will be getting an offer sometime this week for a Business Analyst position. Going through the process of interviewing for a job is a terrible thing. I don't wish it on anybody. But its one of those things you have to do. Everything will work itself out.
     
  7. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    (Matt reads everyone's great words of encouragement ... )

    "Whew, I'm feeling ready now."

    (Matt reads Paul's "encouraging" thoughts ... )

    "Uh-oh"

    Hehe...really...thanks guys. I figured I should check out some websites with sample questions for preparations. My main problem is that I worry too much. It's like when I give a speech, normally I feel like I'm going to puke right before the speech, but once I get up there it is a piece of cake. I hope the same thing happens with this interview...hehe.
     
  8. Dave Morton

    Dave Morton Supporting Actor

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    I agree with some of what the others have said. Make it more of a conversation. Nothing worse than being just question and answer. Another thing that I look for is the interviewee's personality. Is this a person I can work with? This goes both ways. One thing I always try to look out for is workaholic bosses. One good thing to look for is if the person is married and has kids. Most people have pictures of kids on their desk. Although you can't ask about personal stuff, you can be observant. Maybe look for a wedding ring. But if they ask you what you do in your spare time or hobbies, then it is fair game to answer them and then ask "what about you?"

    Wear a suit. Even if they don't require it, wear one anyway.

    Although now that I see you are from West Lafayette, you must be at Purdue, my alma mater. Since it is a web programmer position, ask about the architecture/platform they work on, NT? UNIX? PC? Talk about how you've designed your own web pages or what you've done in the classroom. You definitely don't know all the company does, but you should try to relate how your background can be beneficial to the company in the position you're interviewing with. Talk about java experience and how you've incorporated web pages to a back end database. If you don't know something, then say, I haven't done that exactly but I have done such and such. Show them that you are a good problem solver and that if you don't know an answer, you know where to find it.

    Finally, after you are done with the interview, go to Harry's and have a double 7 and 7 or a long island ice tea.

    Hope this helps.
     
  9. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    Unfortunantly I'm only 20, so no drinky for another 7 months [​IMG]
    I'm getting pumped for the interview now. I just called the interviewer because she left a message regarding a time change...and she sounded very nice. I also notice that I interview much better with women then men...so I must be a pansy, hehe.
    Thanks for the support guys...I'm gonna bone up on questions tonight, and I'll report back after the interview tomorrow.
     
  10. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    Just a quick note about Dave Morton's reply.

    I agree with Dave about the suit. Wear one.

    However, I would strongly discourage you from asking the interviewer about their hobbies. Unless you've established great rapport and it is a natural flow to the conversation, asking such a question can (accidentally) come out wrong and could deep-six your chances quickly.

    Also Matt, always leave the interview asking what the next step is, when you can expect to hear from them, and that you're really looking forward to moving forward with them.
     
  11. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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  12. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Although I never did an interview from the applying side of the table, I've done lots of them from the other side. Rather good advise here, but I agree with Michael: it's not your place to ask about hobbies of the interviewer.

    Remember, you're BOTH trying to find out if this work-relationship may work. But while your interest should be aimed at the job and the company, the person who is hiring you is also interested in your possibility to fit into the "team", so he/she is allowed to go a bit further into subjects like hobbies and character.

    And yes, know what job you're applying to. You may certainly ask for specifics (generally: wait until the interviewer asks you if you have some questions yourself, but it just may pop up in the conversation). I once had an applicant who, when asked if she believed to be up to the job, took the advertisement that was lying on the table and had to read it first. She didn't get the job.

    Good luck!

    Cees
     
  13. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    Regarding the suit situation, even if I wanted to wear one...I couldn't. My only suit is 120 miles away at my home...not here with my at my apartment. I have a pair of nice charcoal slacks and some nice button down shirts, so I think I'll be alright.

    Also, I'll make sure not to ask about the interviewer's hobbies. No matter how I visualize it, it comes out looking like I'm interogating her. I'll stick to what I know...talk about projects that I've done, and experience that I've had with languages, etc.

    One quick question. One of you mentioned to ask what the next step is, or when I should be hearing back from them. How do I phrase that without sounding overly eager.

    Thanks again guys!
     
  14. Deane Johnson

    Deane Johnson Supporting Actor

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    Matt, if you happen to wear a ring in your nose or anything, it might be good to leave it out for the interview. [​IMG]
    Deane
     
  15. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    Slaps forhead...how could I have forgot about my nose ring!
    Don't worry...no nose ring, hehe...or body mutilation of any kind, [​IMG]
     
  16. Bob Sheen

    Bob Sheen Stunt Coordinator

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    You could always use:

    When do you expect to make your decision ?

    and

     
  17. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Matt,
    An experienced and professional interviewer will tell you the procedure. But it's OK to ask at the end. If you really dare ( [​IMG] ), you may even vaguely hint you have to ask it because you have other interviews...
    Cees
     
  18. Bob Sheen

    Bob Sheen Stunt Coordinator

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    Matt,

    So......how'd you do ?

    Bob
     
  19. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    Just got back. It went great...it ended up being an interview by a committee, but it didn't feel like an interrogation [​IMG]. They laughed at the right moments...and they asked good questions. I felt that I had good answers to all of them too. They said that they had to make a decision by next week so I'd know shortly. Fingers crossed!
     
  20. Bob Sheen

    Bob Sheen Stunt Coordinator

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    Great ! good luck.......
    Bob [​IMG]
     

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