Random Ramblings about stuff I see going on in biotech, internet and the stuff I read.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Interview question / answer from a comment

A couple of posts ago Dapi asked more questions, and has moved forward in her interview process... so I will dispense ?advice?mis-information?other? in response. Hope any of this is usefull. Cutting and pasting from the comment, so answers follow questions.

Her Questions are in Blue.

Do you have any tips on asking intelligent questions?

No. And I don't mean this to be harsh, but I have never been good at this part. When I ask people if they have any questions, they always asked some canned questions, as I see you line up below. When I have been on the "being interviewed" side of it, I have always been bad at this. I will get to your questions below, but the overall answer is that yours are no better/worse than anyone elses.

i'd like to know what types of questions have impressed you in the past when interviewing people?
Not many. Not what I am looking for. Read on....

I wrote a few out that I'd like to us ie:

-What does it take for me to be successful in this field?
HR question...the answers you get to this should be interesting as well.

-What skills are you looking for for this job?
HR BS question, but usefull in that seeing what kind of answers you get will tell you about the people you may be working with/for.

-what impact do you need me to make during the first month?
HR BS question. During the first month I expect you to NOT make an ass of yourself. I expect you to be learning at a feirce clip, but not helping too much.

-How long do FACS normally stay in their positions and where do they go from here in your company?
This is a really good question, but you should be careful in asking it that you don't appear too mercenary. Couching this in line of "I am interested in working at this company for awhile and want to grow here" rather than "what can you do for me". Fine line to walk, but I like the thought process here.

Do you have any tips for me?

Yes. Shocked?

I rated your questions from the bottom up, so to the extent there is order in my comments that is they way my responses should be read.

Your questions are, as I said, very similar to everyone elses questions. I have no problem with this, as the generic question that I ask "do you have any questions for me" invites this.

I would add to the list "What haven't you heard me say that will help me get the job" or something like that. You want to check in with people and see how you are doing. If your flopping, hear what they are thinking and then make changes to un-flop yourself. If you are doing well, or they say something complimentary, then try not to say anything to screw that up.

Write thank you notes to each person individually after you talk to them. Make sure you get enough contact information to do this.

Make sure you spell and type in proper english when writing those notes. We have killed more than one person because they write like they text ( or like I write this Blog). Proper English is the Proper thing to do here.

Be yourself. I can't say this enough. I really mean this. Know as much as you can about the company etc.... but at the end of the day just be yourself. If you don't get the job that way, then you probably shouldn't get the job. harsh, but true. You won't be happy.

Don't BS too much. It is annoying to listen to and helps nothing. Don't say too little either as then you are terse. Yes I realize this is unhelpful advice as I didn't really say anything....

After you answer a question - follow up with "did that answer your question?" as especially on phone calls it is hard to see peoples responses and too know what they are thinking. Doing this too much is annoying, but if it was a long answer it is appropriate. If it is "Yes" then it isn't.

Don't assume you know what they are going to ask, and make sure you answer what they do ask. See point above, but I really want to make sure that you don't interrupt them before they are done talking and start answering something they don't care about. You are likely smart, but you still don't know what I am thinking until I am doing saying it. NEVER assume you know what I am thinking. Scientists are HORRIBLE at this point. I have been horrible at it and continue to work on this aspect of my dealing with the world. My wife whacks me in the head when I do it to her, which does prove an effective reminder. Most customers/interviewers don't do that - they just think you are a pompous ass.

Ummmm....Go to it. You sound in writing like you should be fine.

Did I miss anything? Would you like more random ramblings directed your way?

Tell me how it goes please!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi, I'm back again! Ok here's my feed back!

First up thanks for all your advice...i took your comments to heart and tried to keep away from the HR BS questions which the recruiter gave me tips on. I reworded a few of them and asked the interviewer to talk more about the job, dynamics of the company and her history there. From there I asked direct questions which allowed me to highlight what my skills where. I also wanted to know what the personality of the people who i would be working with were.

Basically my weakness was my LACK of industry experience but I think i overcame it by emphasising that I have SKILLS needed for the job anyway. I outlined my presentation skills, the fact that I love to talk and I am a confident speaker...also i did have experience doing some PR work for our research foundation during my PhD years. I tried to push that i can speak to vendors and I made profits from the conferences, getting sponsorship etc...i'm apeople person and I learn fast!

Other concerns were a shift of scientific topic but I told her that I have had many different interests and I can take on two more.

I also sent an email thanking th interviewing and made it as ssertive as possible by saying i'm looking forward to hearing from you so that we can arrange a time for me to fly out to Toronto!

So i tried to be ME as much as possible (thank you again)!

So now...guess whose flying to Toronto for their face to face interview :) THIS FRIDAY!

I'm so excited but scared...I have to buy a suit and get some make up!! ARGHH!

Ok I think I have a great shot at this because they bypassed the second phone interview and went straight to the face to face...

I dont think I will ever be able to know enough about the company...

Any key tips here?

I also asked the recruiter who else is going for the job and he said a couple of people..no specifics...he'll get a cut regardless of who signs i guess. But i must say he has been very helpful also!

So if you have any MORE tips for then then I would be so greatful to you!

What should I do to nail this job interview?

One more question- I'm ahh getting married this September and I would like to ask for 2 weeks off...1 because my family are coming from overseas and i havent seen them for 2 years and the other is for us to go on a short honeymoon...is this reasonable?

Thanks again and I will keep you posted as I believe this whole experience will hopefully help someone else in my situation :)