Author Topic: Help me stop sucking in interviews  (Read 14523 times)

dcozad999

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Help me stop sucking in interviews
« on: January 28, 2016, 12:31:33 PM »
To preface, I have a lot of confidence in my intelligence and abilities. Where I lack confidence is in my ability to say the right things (and avoid the wrong things) in an interview.
I get extremely nervous which makes me want to talk too much.  I have 30 minute phone interview tomorrow tomorrow morning and it's already stressing me out.

Anyone else suck at interviewing? Any tips to feel more confident/less nervous?

TIA.

norabird

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2016, 12:45:38 PM »
I've heard that beta blockers taken in advance are quite helpful. Also, do a practice run with a friend.

GrowingTheGreen

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2016, 12:46:16 PM »
Watch Wolf of Wall St immediately before.

You could also take a shot of whiskey.

Exflyboy

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2016, 01:01:12 PM »
You need to Google "Behavioural interview questions" and memorise a few pat answers you can modify to suit the actual question.

BI are all the rage these days, if you know the format they are also the easiest type of interview to do well at.

tj

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2016, 01:02:24 PM »
I absolutely hate job interviews. My biggest motivation for FIRE is probably not to have to BS my way through another round of behavioral interview questions. I'd focus on smaller employers that are less likely going to put you through that BS. :)


eliza

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2016, 01:02:36 PM »
One thing that has helped me is to take a second to collect your thoughts before answering - it makes you seem more measured and in control.  You can also use the technique of restating the question to both confirm understanding and to buy yourself a bit of time.

I also tend to talk to fast, so I focus a lot on pacing and talk what I think is too slow, but is probably still slightly faster than most people like.

Also, you can't do this in person, but on the phone if you are concerned about talking too long, you can keep a closer eye on the time or even use a stopwatch app to help make sure you are answering in a concise manner.

Best of luck on your interview! 


Dicey

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2016, 01:18:48 PM »
I absolutely hate job interviews. My biggest motivation for FIRE is probably not to have to BS my way through another round of behavioral interview questions.
I agree with this. I know that it's not helpful for your interview tomorrow, but if you can bottle this feeling and whip it out whenever anything shiny catches your eye, you'll get to FI in record time. Then job interviews will always be optional, forever.

msilenus

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2016, 01:32:04 PM »
If it's a job in which you're doing a lot of problem solving, solve some problems before the interview.

For a lot of people it takes a little while to get into that mindset, but you don't have a little while in an interview setting.

GrOW

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2016, 01:42:07 PM »
A phone interview gives you significant leeway in your approach. You could create, set, and utilize a number of tools that would just not work in person. How about setting a timer that flashes when it expires? This will help you visually realize when you are talking 'too much'.

Another tip is one that I have used personally - listen to talk radio, watch sportcenter, political analysis shows, or similar. Pay special attention to responses given by the 'experts'. The ones that last in the business are masters of the 2-3 informative sentence response.

Philociraptor

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2016, 01:46:06 PM »
Posting to follow.

MsSindy

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2016, 01:48:46 PM »
Practice your responses out loud.  It will most likely by a behavioral interview, "Tell me about a time when...."

Really good advice is to pick 3 or 4 'stories' that you want to make sure the interviewee gets to hear - these should be the things that you have done in your career that are most impactful (saved the company time, money, or other resources).  And be sure you quantify it.  "I saved the company..." or "This allowed us to cut production set up time from 3 days to only 1 day, saving the company XXX" - make the results real.

STAR - Situation, Task, Action, Result -- set up the situation and what the problem or challenge was, what actions YOU took, and what the result was.  And then PRACTICE your stories out loud - make sure you're not rambling.

It doesn't matter a whole lot the EXACT question they ask, you can almost always divert into the story you want to tell.  And if they ask you a question that you really, can't think of a good answer for on the spot, you can always say, "well, I'm not sure if this directly answers your question....but in my last position..." and then tell one of your impactful stories.

In a 30 minute phone interview they are trying to judge if you have good basic experience, and can you communicate well (efficiently, easy, relaxed) - unless it's a technical interview with a technical manager.  But mostly this is screening by HR - you should absolutely know who you're talking with.

Also, have 1 or 2 questions to ask the interviewee (and it shouldn't be about pay or benefits!!) - Do research on their company and come up with a question or two to show your interest and that you put in some effort.

Also, I really like the idea of posting some big signs where you are going to take the phone interview with things like: "Smile"  "Relax"  "Breathe"  "Keep it Short"....or whatever you want to ensure you do.  And try to be on a landline in a quiet place with no barking dogs, crying babies, or lawnmowers going!

Good Luck!!

nereo

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2016, 01:51:47 PM »
My suggestion:  Look to see if there's a ToastMasters group in your area and join.  It's a not-for-profit group the helps individuals learn how to speak better in public, whether it's with an interviewer or for a TED talk. 

Also - highly agree that it's best to research teh company you want to work for, and know very specific things about the company and job you are applying for.

JPinDC

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2016, 02:04:05 PM »
Check out the site http://www.glassdoor.com

If it's a big company, previous interviewees may have posted some of the questions they were asked at interviews there. I also like to print out my materials (job description, cover letter, resume) so that I have all the same things in front of me that they do, and I can quickly reference something or use a bullet point on my resume to remind me of a relevant story. Good luck!

shotgunwilly

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2016, 02:12:30 PM »
You need to Google "Behavioural interview questions" and memorise a few pat answers you can modify to suit the actual question.

BI are all the rage these days, if you know the format they are also the easiest type of interview to do well at.

I too hate interviews.  I can't stand these fucking ridiculous "behavioral interview" questions.  The people who excel at these are the people who can bullshit the best.  While that may be useful for certain jobs (sales), it seems unlikely that it is a good screening tool for other professions.  Fake it till you make it. Amiright?

dcozad999

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2016, 02:56:41 PM »
Thanks everyone. I just need to keep positive.

Glassdoor was no help with the interview questions, but the reviews were mostly positive.

I found a website called theinterviewguys.com.  Seems to have a lot of good information. Anyone follow them at all?

jeromedawg

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2016, 03:12:31 PM »
Check out the site http://www.glassdoor.com

If it's a big company, previous interviewees may have posted some of the questions they were asked at interviews there. I also like to print out my materials (job description, cover letter, resume) so that I have all the same things in front of me that they do, and I can quickly reference something or use a bullet point on my resume to remind me of a relevant story. Good luck!

I second this approach. Especially for phone interviews - have a copy of your resume (with notes if needed) in front of you along with the employer's job description. And as someone mentioned, don't be so quick on the trigger to answer questions - restate the question and take a little time to think so as to not rush out an answer.

I suck at interviewing too, but the more of them you do the more comfortable it gets. Of course, if you haven't done it in a long time then it doesn't matter and it may be uncomfortable regardless after a long gap of no interviews (which is probably why a lot of people out there will tell you to "always be interviewing"). I'm too lazy to that approach and hate interviews (namely because of a few bad ones that stick in my memory and are really hard for me to shake)

Papa bear

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2016, 03:24:52 PM »
The best way to get better is practice.  Get on the phone and have people ask you questions.

Typically, phone interviews at large companies are given by HR.  They will be more technical based questions and they are determining if they should bring you in for an in person.  Make sure you know your background and resume backwards and forwards.   

These are tricky interviews not only because of the questions but because of format.  Make sure you leave space between your responses and slow down. You want to be able to give the questioner the ability to ask different things.  This will also help from you going off on a tangent.

Treat this as a real interview as well.  Avoid distractions and loud noises, such as pets, children, road noise, etc.

As I've said a thousand times, you are also interviewing them!  And interview is ALWAYS a 2 way conversation. Treat it as such.


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bobechs

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2016, 03:42:27 PM »
Practice your responses out loud.  It will most likely by a behavioral interview, "Tell me about a time when...."

Really good advice is to pick 3 or 4 'stories' that you want to make sure the interviewee gets to hear - these should be the things that you have done in your career that are most impactful ...

Shit, why re-invent the wheel?



galliver

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2016, 03:44:49 PM »
No help to offer with BI questions, etc. but I always had trouble with "do you have any questions" and coming up with them in advance helped a LOT.

Also, I don't know how much this would help, but...I had a lot of trouble with career fairs and internship interviews in college, where I felt like I had to be this fake, perfect person. Then as time went on and I had friends start to participate in hiring at their companies, I realized I could be a lot more genuine with the recruiters. I also had a surprisingly good experience interviewing for a summer job in a different field (summer camp), which made me realize how much I was allowing to ride on interviews before (my entire worth as a person/worker! haha), when it was actually...just a job. I've just started doing some job-hunting/interviewing at the tail end of grad school and it's shaping up to be a much more positive experience than the last round (at least, as far as my feelings about it go, haven't finished the process anywhere yet :) )

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2016, 04:05:06 PM »
Practice your responses out loud.  It will most likely by a behavioral interview, "Tell me about a time when...."

Really good advice is to pick 3 or 4 'stories' that you want to make sure the interviewee gets to hear - these should be the things that you have done in your career that are most impactful ...

Shit, why re-invent the wheel?




Ah yes, an oldie but a goodie.

But seriously OP, decide what your talk track is for the specific position. What makes you qualified? What makes you great to work with? Create a narrative and try to answer in ways that fit your story.


For example, let's say that one of the key strengths you bring to the table is innovation.

Interviewer: "Tell me about a time you overcame a challenge in your previous position?"
Situation: "Last year, my team needed to complete a data migration project within the calendar month, but all of my current resources were at capacity and the company was under a hiring freeze."
Task: "I needed to find a way to migrate the historical data to the new system without any additional FTEs."
Action: "I was able to write some scripts to automate the uploading but still needed someone to audit the records to ensure all the data was transferred. Although there was a hiring freeze for employees we were, however, still able to hire interns, so I spoke with HR and identified an IS undergrad to work on our team."
Result: "Under my supervision, (Intern) was to able utilize the scripts to complete the migration in about a week."

jjcamembert

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2016, 04:59:34 PM »
Like others have said, practice helps. I have someone ask me the top 5 BS (or is that BI?) questions and repeat until I can rattle off a good answer without hesitating. Focus on the ones you're worst at answering or feel the most uncomfortable with.

After that it's just psychological. To borrow from Herb Cohen, you want to care about getting the job, but not T-H-A-T MUCH! Do Do some positive self-talk, and remember that you're presenting yourself as you are, and if they don't like it, too bad, they're missing out on your talent and you'll find a better job elsewhere.

Another thing that has helped me is to work on becoming comfortable with silence. Give yourself time to think about the question. Then give your best answer, and then wait until the interviewer responds. This keeps me from rambling, which is when I'd probably end up saying something dumb.

BlueHouse

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2016, 05:27:05 PM »
Phone interviews are bad for me because there is no visual feedback and no cues for when you're answer resonates or falls flat or is too long or short.  Agreeing with most of the other posters, I would:
1.  Think of 4 or 5 of your best BI results, and practice them using the STAR technique.  Having these at the ready is 95% of the interview.
2.  10 minutes before the interview, stike the "power pose" for 2 minutes -- http://www.businessinsider.com/power-pose-2013-5?op=1  It will raise testosterone and reduce cortisol, reducing stress.
3.  Get a mirror and look at yourself during the interview.  Make sure you're smiling during the interview.  (just like you would during a friendly conversation - not in a creepy way).  You'd be surprised at how people on the other end of a phone know when you're smiling/scowling. 

Good luck!
 

EarlyStart

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2016, 05:58:10 PM »
To preface, I have a lot of confidence in my intelligence and abilities. Where I lack confidence is in my ability to say the right things (and avoid the wrong things) in an interview.
I get extremely nervous which makes me want to talk too much.  I have 30 minute phone interview tomorrow tomorrow morning and it's already stressing me out.

Anyone else suck at interviewing? Any tips to feel more confident/less nervous?

TIA.


Check glassdoor.com and wherever else via google for the interview questions. If it's a large company, chances are someone has written them online. Copy and paste them into a word document and write out bullet points for each one.


Try to think of it as a casual conversation. The person on the other end is likely to view you favorably if you make that half hour of their job a little more pleasant. Also, keep in mind that there isn't always a "right" answer to those ridiculous behavioral questions. They just want to see that you can come up with something on the spot, in some cases.

ETBen

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2016, 06:55:30 PM »
Agreed with other on practicing STAR and BI responses.  I will say that I totally support BI questions. People are forced to tell you about their experiences, rather than what kind of person they think they are. Its actually pretty easy to tell the nervous from the solid from the bullshitters.  And nervous you can help along with the questing  if you think the person is worth it.

Sibley

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2016, 07:40:04 PM »
Go poke around AskAManager.org - I believe she's got an interview guide, and I'm quite impressed with her in general.

Papa bear

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2016, 07:49:45 PM »
All of this BI practice is great, but in reality, in a 30 minute phone interview, there probably won't be much time to get into it.

This is most likely a pre-screen type of call and will be more of an assessment of technical skills, job overview, reasons for why you're looking, etc. 

Practice all of it going forward, but don't go in expecting a bunch of check the box interview questions for this particular case.   

****every company is different and may have different interview styles.  Prepare for all!



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MrsCoolCat

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2016, 08:24:33 PM »
I'm actually good at interviews. Not to sound cocky but you really have to fake it until you make it. Whatever makes u confident & comfortable enough to be yourself, focus on that. Personally, I tend to be myself most of the time & it esp helps when I give a shit! Lastly, I am very real with myself but I always knew to exaggerate examples & say it like I 100% believe it no matter how cliche & stupid it sounds. Of course u gotta be somewhat honest & not lie! Just exaggerate even if you're thinking, "Wtf, this is stupid!" Yea, but they eat that shit up esp if u do it with a good looking suit, a smile & look them in the eye! Confidence radiates. Good luck!

bobechs

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #27 on: January 28, 2016, 08:55:19 PM »
I'm actually good at interviews. Not to sound cocky but you really have to fake it until you make it. Whatever makes u confident & comfortable enough to be yourself, focus on that. Personally, I tend to be myself most of the time & it esp helps when I give a shit! Lastly, I am very real with myself but I always knew to exaggerate examples & say it like I 100% believe it no matter how cliche & stupid it sounds. Of course u gotta be somewhat honest & not lie! Just exaggerate even if you're thinking, "Wtf, this is stupid!" Yea, but they eat that shit up esp if u do it with a good looking suit, a smile & look them in the eye! Confidence radiates. Good luck!

Sorry about grabbing your flowchart, above.

tj

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #28 on: January 28, 2016, 09:26:08 PM »
All of this BI practice is great, but in reality, in a 30 minute phone interview, there probably won't be much time to get into it.

This is most likely a pre-screen type of call and will be more of an assessment of technical skills, job overview, reasons for why you're looking, etc. 

Practice all of it going forward, but don't go in expecting a bunch of check the box interview questions for this particular case.   

****every company is different and may have different interview styles.  Prepare for all!



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Every time I had a phone interview, it was predominantly behavioral questions. The other stuff was presumably analyzed on the resume. I hate the STAR method because it's completley irrelevant to one's ability to actually perform the job, but rather benefits the folks who are smooth talkers.

Green_Thing

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #29 on: January 28, 2016, 09:28:00 PM »
I'm actually good at interviews. Not to sound cocky but you really have to fake it until you make it. Whatever makes u confident & comfortable enough to be yourself, focus on that. Personally, I tend to be myself most of the time & it esp helps when I give a shit! Lastly, I am very real with myself but I always knew to exaggerate examples & say it like I 100% believe it no matter how cliche & stupid it sounds. Of course u gotta be somewhat honest & not lie! Just exaggerate even if you're thinking, "Wtf, this is stupid!" Yea, but they eat that shit up esp if u do it with a good looking suit, a smile & look them in the eye! Confidence radiates. Good luck!

This! I also interview very well and have gotten job offers at most interviews. Last time I was looking I had 8 offers to choose from. My first time out of college I interviewed at maybe 20 firms during a recession, and got one offer. You only need one! So I have tons of practice in interviews, which means I don't get nervous.
I take the opposite track about giving a shit though. If I care a lot I get keyed up. If I walk in with a who cares attitude then I'm more relaxed. Who cares? These guys won't remember me 5 minutes after I walk out, and if I flub the interview? It's just really good practice for the next one.

mozar

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #30 on: January 28, 2016, 09:30:08 PM »
I hate interviewing too. What helped me is figuring out exactly what the trigger was that made me so upset. When a recruiter is trying to sell themselves to me, I do really well. When a recruiter sounds condescending or arrogant, it's all down hill for me. I was unemployed for 3 months recently. I interviewed at around 20 places.
The last interview I went on I totally bombed. The reasons were they guy was totally arrogant from the get go and it wasn't until after that I realized that he didn't read my resume and was interviewing for a different job than what I can do. Sometimes people don't know the difference between accounting and audit. So he was asking me for examples of accounting work and I couldn't think of anything (my mind was blank because I was already stressed out) he thought I was lying about my experience. It was pretty bad, but it happens to me about once a year even though I try to make it very clear i'm not an accountant.
I had already accepted another job so it was all good.

AZDude

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #31 on: January 29, 2016, 08:07:09 AM »
I used to hate interviewing, but after having been to so many, its become almost routine. I have canned answers for all the stupid questions, and the big thing is to be prepared. Research the company, the people interviewing you,and the skills they are looking for. Make sure that even if you have never used X you can at least speak intelligently about it. Do not lie during the interview. You dont have to volunteer that you want to leave your current job because you hate your boss, but do not make stuff up either. Its OK to say "I dont know", and often they will respect your other answers if you admit you do not know something.

Interviews are less about your qualities and more about building a relationship with the person interviewing you, so be candid, be yourself, and be OK with telling them that his job is not the right fit.

SomethingFishy

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #32 on: January 29, 2016, 08:19:53 AM »
MsSindy's advice is really good. I totally agree with practicing out loud. I use my commute time in the days/weeks before an interview to practice responses.

The interviewer will not think negatively of you if you take a few moments to collect your thoughts before responding. For a phone interview, this means that you can have a notes page in front of you, that lists out good examples of things you've done that are relevant to the position. Use those moments to scan your notes page and pick the example that best fits the question. No memorization needed. I would suggest having a mix of technical examples and soft skills written on your notes page.

Remember that the phone screen is most likely with HR, and they probably know very little about the technical aspects of the job. Once you confirm you're talking with HR, if you need to answer technical questions, simplify your answers to make sure that a non technical audience can understand your awesomeness. This generally applies for all interviews. I see many people get tripped up because they don't provide enough context. Try to balance being concise with giving enough detail for your story to make sense.

Good luck!

moustacheverte

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #33 on: January 29, 2016, 10:53:08 AM »
I used to have a similar issue. Then I realized I was interviewing at the wrong places. If I had to put up such a fake personality on that it was stressing me out during interviews, I was probably doing something wrong.

I stumbled upon Liz Ryan's posts on job hunting, interviewing etc and while her writing can sound a bit cheesy/idealized, it made me realize that I can afford to be myself while job hunting. THat's probably going to be a turnoff to some employers but it's a problem that takes care of itself because those employers that will be turned off are probably employers I wouldn't want to work for anyway.

It took me a few months but I eventually came up with a resume that was my own, without any of the bullshit "proactive synergy" banalities. I also let my own personality take over when interviewing, asking questions etc. I am usually pretty casual (but always respectful) and once I let this happen during my interviews and on my cover letters, I got much better results. I was actually interviewing at companies I wanted to work at, interviewers were glad to see someone genuine and enjoyed the conversation.

I would recommend trying that approach, it leads to much better interviewing skills (you don't have to worry about your actual personality that they might dislike transpiring) and much better jobs as well because there are far less surprises for either side.

Liz Ryan also has a website where you can pay to get extra articles or something but there is more than enough available for free (mostly on Forbes and Linkedin) and it felt to me the membership to her website was totally unnecessary.

Matumba

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #34 on: January 29, 2016, 11:08:27 AM »
Posting to follow

MsPeacock

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #35 on: January 29, 2016, 11:13:00 AM »
I found this website helpful in preparing for a job interviews. http://www.best-job-interview.com/job-interview-questions.html

There are examples of resumes, follow up letters, typical interview questions and answers. I think it is also helpful to practice turning off whatever internal dialogue is driving up your anxiety. You know, the why did I say that and I sound stupid and I can't believe I couldn't answer that and etc. find some reassuring things to say to yourself instead. No one hits 100% on an interview. There will be questions to which you don't have a perfect answer or a skill they ask about in which you have limited experience. There is no such thing as a perfect candidate. They are looking for someone who fits and your paper qualifications look close enough that they want to interview you. That's good!

Guses

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #36 on: January 29, 2016, 12:17:53 PM »

For example, let's say that one of the key strengths you bring to the table is innovation.

WTF does that even mean?! That's just mumbo-jumbo hype words put together in a sentence. A person does not "bring innovation" and quite frankly, this isn't even a table! *smashes phone on desk*

I don't disagree with your post BTW, I just hate making up hollow bullshit like that.



msilenus

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #37 on: January 29, 2016, 12:27:23 PM »

For example, let's say that one of the key strengths you bring to the table is innovation.

WTF does that even mean?! That's just mumbo-jumbo hype words put together in a sentence. A person does not "bring innovation" and quite frankly, this isn't even a table! *smashes phone on desk*

I don't disagree with your post BTW, I just hate making up hollow bullshit like that.

I'm in the sixth (last) round of the hardest interview loop of my life.  The interviewer, a brilliant man famous in some tech circles tells me: "What I'm hearing from the other guys is that you're coding up correct solutions, but you're jumping straight into code and they have no idea how you're figuring out your answers.  I'm going to give you a question that you're not going to be able to intuit an answer to.  We're going to get to code on this one, too, so bullshit won't cut it.  Stay focused on what you can code in the time that we have."

He poses the question, and I have no idea what to do with it.  I say the first few things that come off the top of my head.

"You're bullshitting."

I'm surprised to realize he's right.  "You're right.  I am bullshitting.  Thanks.  Let me see if I can figure this out."

- -

Today I don't think I'd take a job if I felt I had successfully bullshat my way into it.  A team that lets that slide is a team comprised of people who let that slide.

FerrumB5

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #38 on: January 29, 2016, 12:34:06 PM »
My advice as a recent new hire (14 months) - when preparing for behavioral interview, DO NOT use generic answers from internet. Instead, tweak them to what YOU think is right, or find your own answers.

Le Poisson

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #39 on: January 29, 2016, 12:38:36 PM »
Think about Toastmasters.

Its a cultlike, mindhivish, pay-to-play club, but the clubs have an incredibly valuable, think-on-your-feet session called Table Topics. In this portion of the meeting attendees are given a bullshit topic and have to immediately craft a minute-long response to a question. You could join an improv troupe for the same thing I guess, but if you need a way to hone your answering on the spot under fire skills, this is a good way.


Tyler

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #40 on: January 29, 2016, 12:45:00 PM »

For example, let's say that one of the key strengths you bring to the table is innovation.

WTF does that even mean?! That's just mumbo-jumbo hype words put together in a sentence. A person does not "bring innovation" and quite frankly, this isn't even a table! *smashes phone on desk*

I don't disagree with your post BTW, I just hate making up hollow bullshit like that.

It's not hollow bullshit if you can back it up.  My career is in new product design, where true innovation is highly desirable and a lot more rare in engineers than you might think.  It's true that just talking about innovation is kinda trite, but the rare few who can provide products, patents, and experience to demonstrate how they creatively solve problems can pretty much ace any interview in that field. 

Regarding interviews, my best advice is to:

1) Always be honest and never bullshit.  If you don't know an answer, admit it and talk about how you might look for the answer.
2) Put yourself in the shoes in the interviewer.  Think about the qualities they are looking for in an employee, and talk about how you match them.  What's in it for them to hire you?
3) Ask questions.  Being interested, inquisitive, and a good listener are all positive qualities that are often overlooked when you only talk about yourself.

« Last Edit: January 29, 2016, 12:49:36 PM by Tyler »

Easye418

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #41 on: January 29, 2016, 12:53:42 PM »
Interviewing is simple after the first job. 

The whole key is that you need to understand what the are looking for when they ask the question.  The answer to the question is always something about you or your past experiences that make you a perfect fit for the company.  I always have at least 5 big projects or tasks that I worked on to answer all the questions. 

People always say "make it a conversation".  At first, I felt like it was a test, question and answer, but now its easy.  There are only so many questions they are going to ask you.  It becomes second hand nature to talk about yourself.

trashmanz

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #42 on: January 29, 2016, 01:27:12 PM »
"Create a narrative and try to answer in ways that fit your story."

I think this is important.  Always try to come back to what makes you the best for this position so that they leave with a positive understanding of what you will contribute.  As long as you can convey that and don't make any huge errors in the rest it goes a long way.  There is only so much they can really retain about you after the fact, make sure its the story you want to tell that sticks with them.

dcozad999

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #43 on: January 29, 2016, 01:45:52 PM »
The interview went pretty well (I think). Only one question really stumped me, and it was such an easy one I'm actually embarrassed. I'm definitely give it some thought and have an answer prepared for my next interview.

"What would your current co-workers say about you?" Well fuck. If I was ready for that question I think I would have come up with a much better (and truthful) answer. Instead I was thrown off guard and stumbled through it. It seems like such an easy one and I'm actually embarrassed. I'm definitely going to give it some thought and have an answer prepared for my next interview.

The interview was actually with the hiring manager and an analyst on her team. I'm pretty confident I will get to the next stage

One thing I did that I think really helped was when it was my turn to ask the questions, mainly this one:

Is there anything that stands out to you that makes you think I might not be the right fit for this job?

She was happy to answer and told me that in one of her questions (about requirements gathering), she didn't feel I had gone deep enough into explaining the processes I used. This worked out great for me because it literally gave me a second chance and give a better answer the question.

Thanks for all the comments and advice.

Tyler

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #44 on: January 29, 2016, 01:53:22 PM »
Well done!  BTW, your question was pretty brilliant. 

Don't worry about not having a perfect answer for every question.  Lots of times it's not really about the details of the answer but about how you react to something out of left field.  Also, the question about coworkers could have simply been a polite way to check your emotional intelligence.  The only wrong answer is "who cares -- they're all idiots anyway".  ;)  I'm sure you did just fine. 

Matumba

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #45 on: January 29, 2016, 01:53:23 PM »
The question about coworkers is a bullshit question.  The interviewer basically asked you if you are a good bullshitter. If you are,  prove it by giving me a big,  steamy pile of prime bullshit.

When I answer this question,  I usually go on an on about how helpful and friendly I am,  that they know they can always count on me to provide necessary information and go above and beyond to help them.

Depending on your role and impression you are trying to make,  you can make an emphasis on something else.


FerrumB5

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #46 on: January 29, 2016, 01:53:31 PM »
"What would your current co-workers say about you?"  - easiest question. If you don't know what your current coworkers think about you - may be you need to think ... am I doing anything for my current firm?
Answer is: they respect me, they say I am professional, they believe I have made a good impact on the company to date

lbmustache

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #47 on: January 29, 2016, 02:35:36 PM »
I'm actually good at interviews. Not to sound cocky but you really have to fake it until you make it. Whatever makes u confident & comfortable enough to be yourself, focus on that. Personally, I tend to be myself most of the time & it esp helps when I give a shit! Lastly, I am very real with myself but I always knew to exaggerate examples & say it like I 100% believe it no matter how cliche & stupid it sounds. Of course u gotta be somewhat honest & not lie! Just exaggerate even if you're thinking, "Wtf, this is stupid!" Yea, but they eat that shit up esp if u do it with a good looking suit, a smile & look them in the eye! Confidence radiates. Good luck!

Yep yep and yep.

1) Have a personality. When I do interviews, people who are lethargic, unmotivated, seem unsure, etc. are not people I gravitate towards.

2) Be enthusiastic and confident. Logically follows the above.

3) You can be honest, but you need to be charming. I can BS pretty well, but I have also told employers that I left a previous company on "not great terms," but with a smile and some charm you can get pretty far. I was offered a job at every place I mentioned that... and I know common interview wisdom is to not mention something like that. ;)

4) Elaborate on answers. If I ask you a question ("Describe a time where you had to deal with a difficult customer," or whatever), one word or one sentence answers aren't going to cut it. I expect detailed responses.

5) Ask questions that show you've thought about the position and company. "What is a typical day for you like?" "What do you like most about working here?" "What qualities do you think the ideal employee has?" (directed @ the interviewer)

6) Know your resume (and yourself). I've asked people, "describe some of your skills," and people don't even know what skills they have or have listed. Umm...



tj

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #48 on: January 29, 2016, 03:28:29 PM »
Quote
4) Elaborate on answers. If I ask you a question ("Describe a time where you had to deal with a difficult customer," or whatever), one word or one sentence answers aren't going to cut it. I expect detailed responses.

I know that for me, if somebody asked me something like this on the spot, it would be difficult to competently answer for one of two reasons: A.) It becomes second nature that you don't even think about it. or  B.) You may have blocked it out because it was frustrating to deal with. It inevitably leads to forcing yourself to concoct some BS on the spot. The last time I was job hunting and learned a lot of the same behavioral question exhaustion that a lot of big employers use, I pre-wrote several answers an put them in a text file to read during the call.  Sometimes the recruiter even gave you a heads up as to what questions would be asked by the HR person. I've always hated BSing. I've often been called a 'man of few words'. I don't have a lot to say about a whole bunch of things, but I'll crack people up when they least expect it. Even with writing, I was always very succinct while growing up and hated when we would have word or paragraph minimums when a given question could be adequately answered in a sentence or two. Needless to say, it does not bode all too well for the typical phone screens. If one can easily get past HR with little to no effort, I feel like one is incredibly blessed in life. That is such a valuable skill and basically means you can be employable indefinitely.

I know that if I had the confidence that I'd be able to successfully BS my way through the first generic phone screen that came my way, I would have a drastically smaller "F You Money" requirement for myself. :D

FerrumB5

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Re: Help me stop sucking in interviews
« Reply #49 on: January 29, 2016, 03:31:26 PM »
Quote
4) Elaborate on answers. If I ask you a question ("Describe a time where you had to deal with a difficult customer," or whatever), one word or one sentence answers aren't going to cut it. I expect detailed responses.

I know that for me, if somebody asked me something like this on the spot, it would be difficult to competently answer for one of two reasons: A.) It becomes second nature that you don't even think about it. or  B.) You may have blocked it out because it was frustrating to deal with. It inevitably leads to forcing yourself to concoct some BS on the spot. The last time I was job hunting and learned a lot of the same behavioral question exhaustion that a lot of big employers use, I pre-wrote several answers an put them in a text file to read during the call.  Sometimes the recruiter even gave you a heads up as to what questions would be asked by the HR person. I've always hated BSing. I've often been called a 'man of few words'. I don't have a lot to say about a whole bunch of things, but I'll crack people up when they least expect it. Even with writing, I was always very succinct while growing up and hated when we would have word or paragraph minimums when a given question could be adequately answered in a sentence or two. Needless to say, it does not bode all too well for the typical phone screens. If one can easily get past HR with little to no effort, I feel like one is incredibly blessed in life. That is such a valuable skill and basically means you can be employable indefinitely.

I know that if I had the confidence that I'd be able to successfully BS my way through the first generic phone screen that came my way, I would have a drastically smaller "F You Money" requirement for myself. :D

There's such thing as preparing for interviews and knowing standard questions. There is no standard answer to this one, you just have to deal with it and describe in polite words what your situation was and how you dealt with it