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i have this friend who ...

I have this friend who has an important job interview tomorrow and was wondering if any PDD'ers could share their words of wisdom. Now with this comment thing a bit on the mend, I may not get any comments, no bigs, but if I could, I'd love to share your dos and don'ts with her if you have some stories to share. What is the best question you've ever been asked? How 'bout the worst? The worst question for me would be ... why should we hire you? No matter what, I feel like I want to swallow my tongue every time I get asked that. Do you have any horror stories about how you totally F’ed something up or good stories about how you nailed the job of your dreams?


Find some common interview questions on the web and go through the effort of answering them. That way you can pretend to think of something insightful on the spot if they ask it.
Also, do research on the company, so when they ask you if you have questions, ask a question that shows interest in the company.

I just started an awesome new job as a museum curator two weeks ago. Somehow I beat out 50 applicants. I was honest and direct on both my CV and during the phone and personal interviews. If you don't know something when asked, tell them. Do not B.S. them, but rather tell them you know were and how to find the answer.

When asked how you see yourself, career, job position etc in the future tell them you cannot predict the future, but say want to buy a house, have a garden or own a dog. This indicates you want to settle down and stay with them.

Most importantly relax and be yourself. You will either get the job or you won't. Rejection is not the end of the world. You must have the attitude that you will apply for 100 jobs and be rejected by 99 of them. You only need one job.

Good Luck.

congrats on the wicked job Swan .. that's some super advice. I like the part about finding the answer ... a jem for sure.

Usual stumper question:

What is your worst trait?

or something along those lines. I like to use one of my strengths and convert it into some compulsion. Which would be true for me in many cases.

Where do I see myself in five years? Golly, I plan to be advancing in the company by working 60 hours a week. By then, you'll be able to just hang out in Belize for eight months out of the year because I will totally have everything covered.

Do I have any questions for you? Yes. How do you like your coffee, sir?

Or for the, "What are your weaknesses" Pick one and tell how it is and what you have done to overcome it. Ex, for me, time management and organization. I make a better effort to take notes, make lists, and use outlook religously to keep on top of things.

Seemed to have work as I got two offers in the last couple weeks.

I spent a lot of time here too: http://msn.careerbuilder.com/Custom/MSN/CareerAdvice/Default.aspx?siteid=CBMSN1009&sc_extcmp=JS_MSN_CarAdvice&cbRecursionCnt=1&cbsid=d5f77a6503d74abfb26d1fb23e4f9db6-201272934-TH-1

Good luck!

Oh, yeah.. Do your homework on the people interviewing you. (know thy enemy!) Look up their histories, CV's, awards, interests, degrees, schools articles, books etc. You may find common ground, understand them better and doing so empowers you and levels the playing field. Plus you can drop key words, phrases, facts, compliments etc during the interview. Everyone has ego and loves to be flattered.

Bring samples of your writings, photos, portfolios, work, webpages or whatever your work is. Most interviewers do not ask for this in advance, but bring them just in case. It shows you have forethought and preparedness, both good traits and gives you a chance to show off your previous work.

True that on the Know Thy Enemy.

Spend some time working out honest and interesting responses to the "your best / worst traits" question--it always comes up, and I'm pretty sure 90% of people give some version of the same dumb generic answer.

Research on the company's business, competitors, market position, future and (perhaps most importantly) lingo can allow for insight and provide very direct, common sense answers:

INTERVIEWER: "What do you think is the most important part of this job?"

ME: "[deliberate, thoughtful, reflective pause] Making sure people come back, I would guess."

INTERVIEWER: "Uh. Ya... well, yes. Yes."

As I later learned, the answer in the manager handbook was "customer service," but a more novel (and possibly more perceptive) answer made the interviewer think outside of the handbook a bit--and think I knew what I was talking about.


Has anyone ever been asked "Describe your worst boss?"
I can't tell you how many times I have asked this question and the perspective employee's answer continues on and on and on.....Take the professional high road and leave out the personal comments and expletives. Comment on one specific performance issue.

Be sure to shut off the cell phone, and don't wear a belly shirt or baggy jeans. Dress one step up from what you'd generally be expected to wear. I can't believe how many people show up here for interviews in spaghetti strap belly shirts and grubby jeans.

The worst question I EVER got was from a car dealership in Fargo, ND. It was (no lie, I wrote it down after the interview):

"Considering that our business depends on moving inventory off the lot, how do you feel about selling a car that may have some minor mechanical issues not listed on the invoice or sales ticket?"


But for your friend I can only offer this: Smile. I cannot count the number of times I have interviewed a person who, though qualified, treated the interview like a personal inquisition. I kept thinking: I'm going to have to work with this person. Is he going to be this dour and squeemish during his performance reviews, too?

A smile lets the interviewer know you are happy to be there. Among successful employers there is an understanding: "You do not pay people to come to work. People come to work because they like your company and you pay them for the excellent performance they give you."

(BTW, being the ugly capitalist that I am, I took the job, tried to sell cars with only minor problems...and quietly gave the buyers the card of a friend who was just starting an auto workshop. Free oil changes for me, neh?)

Best question : If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be? Answer : Thought for a moment before saying "I think I'd make myself more attractive to women." Both interviewers (guys) kind of giggled and I think I won 'em over with that one.

Worst question : Why should we hire you over the next guy? Wasn't a high point in my life so I kind of choked, and pretty much unspokenly said you shouldn't. Hire them. I wound up backtracking and saying 'my honesty' but it was too little too late. (although dead on - i honestly thought they should hire the other guy)

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