Coffee Talk: Job interviews


#1

Happy Tuesday everyone :wave:t3:

This week, let’s talk about job interviews! Whether you’re the interviewer or interviewee, going to an interview can be pretty stressful; but knowing what to expect during the interview itself and preparing yourself can go a long way.

So for this week coffee talk, I’d love to learn about your experiences: what are the questions you find the most difficult? How do you prepare for an interview? What your best tips to be successful during an interview?

Here are a few tips that helped me in the past:

Before the interview:

  • Study the job description and research the company
  • Brainstorm questions and prepare + practice your responses aloud
  • The STAR method to structure your replies

During the interview:

  • Be yourself and remember that interviewing is also a way for you to ask questions and make sure this is the right job for you
  • Ask questions

So what about you? Any tips that helped you in past interviews that you’d like to share? Looking forward to reading your stories and learning from your experience :slight_smile:

@Marie


#2

#3

Preparing for interviews, I too would brainstorm questions and practice answers, but only for a short time. I felt that overthinking it would often build anxiety. I want to feel prepared but not anxious. For me, being genuine was always the most important thing.

I interview interns each semester and I’m always interested in those that ask a lot of questions.


#4

I interview a lot, and for some of my friends as well. Two things I would emphasize:
First, be prepared to discuss things that are NOT on your resume. I’ve already read your resume, and if it were not understandable, you wouldn’t be sitting in front of me. I can’t tell you how many times the person I was interviewing froze solid because I asked them what their hobbies are. :frowning:
Second, be honest. I know when you are lying to me. If your greatest failure is prioritizing tasks effectively then say that; giving me a sugar-coated answer or telling me what you think I want to hear is an excellent way to make sure you will not get the job.


#5

I tend to ask interviewees about their passion, since we are a nonprofit and most people I interview are volunteers, I try to place them on a project or task that will work to their strengths. This could work for a for-profit too. Most people don’t understand that learning the motivations can lead to better leaders, workers and teammates. Check out the Enneagram too, HR people, it will help! :slight_smile:


#6

I can definitely recommend the STAR method. If you pick your top five highlights over the past few years, then structure them using STAR, you can prepare for a variety of different questions that might come up. An example that you’ve prepared might be great to illustrate your leadership skills, but it might also be a good one to demonstrate when you’ve worked with a number of key stakeholders, so you can make your examples fit whichever question comes up.

Our company uses STARL in its recruitment, with the ‘L’ standing for what you learned from the situation you described, and how you applied those lessons to a different situation. That might be worth mentioning where possible.

I also agree with @Crystal_Alifanow about being genuine. It’s a totally stressful, artificial situation, but if you can get across just a little of your personality, it makes it easier to communicate with the interviewer as a human being and not a robot!


#7

@Todd_Heflin, how many times have you heard, “My greatest weakness is that I’m a bit of a perfectionist . . .”? :roll_eyes:


#8

:rofl: More times than I could possibly count! One of my favorites was when the person described their greatest weakness as “working too hard.”


#9

@Todd_Heflin @Mark_Hudson :joy_cat: This is not an easy one though, I’m always struggling to find an honest but meaningful answer to this question!


#10

I know! It’s a horrible question that feels like it’s designed to trap you. I think it’s probably best to talk about what you’d like to be able to do even better, rather than something that’s a weakness.


#11

The key is to be brutally honest. If I was asked that question today, I would reply with

I cannot work in a large open environment. I need a cube or at least a corner. I also cannot work at home because I will get too distracted.

A very honest answer, and one that almost any company could accommodate.


#12