Of Interviews What and What Not’s…

My team needs 20 more heads, on top of the existing 19. At least that’s what our European counterpart said/proposed late last year. Professionally, I was feeling pretty good about it and gave myself a big pat on the back upon hearing him say it. To be entrusted with more workloads, is a sign that they are happy and confident of our support. Personally however, it means more stresses. But I love challenges, I thrive on dynamic environments, so I say, bring it on!

Then the interview sessions begin. I am/was one of the panelists. I’m not saying I am the perfect professional interviewer, trained and experienced, but I do know the workload, the counterparts and the dynamics of the existing team like the back of my hand. I’m in the lookout for, an effective communicator, a good team player, someone who can think on their feet, someone willing to learn and share her/his knowledge and experience are some of my first considerations. Academic excellence while a very good reference does not sell much to me personally. While some did make my time worthwhile, there are those whom I would very much like to shake. Thus, this post. To the first timers, here’s some of the things you need to check first. I hope this helps you land your dream job, although, I have to tell you now, there is actually no dream job, if it’s real then it will be called REAL job and not DREAM job, right? Right.

Here goes:

1.  Your RESUME. Please and I mean puh-lease, check your SPELLING! When I see, OJECTIVES, PERSONSAL PROFILE, etc., I would be SO turned off. For goodness sakes, your résumé is the first thing we read. Impress us with an impeccable, error free and a neat one please. Oh and it doesn’t really make sense putting an, IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, NOTIFY : Mother, in the résumé either. I mean, did you expect to meet an accident or death, on your way, during, or after the interview? ? Doesn’t make sense at all, at least to me, does it, to you? You tell me.

2. Your COSTUME err OUTFIT. Showing up like you are just on your way to your friend’s house or to the grocery or to the gym is, a TURN-OFF. Dress appropriately and comfortably. Look clean. Be clean.

3. Your OPENING statement. Typical first question would be, “Tell us something about yourself”,  please ditch the “My name is…” part, followed by “I graduated at…” if it’s in your RESUME already, SKIP IT. We know how to read. Hello, NEWS FLASH, interviewers, believe it or not, know how to read. Go directly to the interesting tidbits about yourself. Not only repeating what’s in your résumé redundant, it is a waste of breath and definitely a waste of time for some of the interviewers like me who is, very busy. I suggest you throw in something unique, something that will make us remember you after interviewing 10 candidates in one afternoon/sitting. Be creative, if you are not creative, you’re in big trouble. Joke. At least don’t just repeat the things you wrote in your resume. You can do better than that. I know. (Actually, I’m guilty of this offense before too! It is only now that I realized how stupid I sound.)

4. Your VOICE.  Kanang kung ang imong lubot ra ang maka dungog, dili na mao. Translation : If it’s only your tushy/butt/ass that can hear you, it is definitely NOT RIGHT. Speak clearly. Depending on what type of room the interview is held at, please make yourself be heard clearly. I mean where is the sense in whispering? Hello!? This is an interview not a telephone call to your mistress with your wife in hearing distance.  And giggling too loud is a big NO-NO.

5. Your POSTURE. Don’t be too stiff and don’t be too laid back and relaxed either. Just try to sit comfortably and properly. If I’ll be interviewing you, I’d be putting you at ease first by cracking a joke or by simply asking you to shake your hands and your arms to ward off nervousness. Try to really relax. This will help you answer the questions thrown at you sensibly.

6. Your ANSWERS. When you answer, please refrain from repeating the question loudly while mulling your answers. Not only will it make you look stupid or a little off in hearing, it is annoying. If you need to think through how to answer or formulate your answer, and repeating the question is kind of your brain prompt, it would be best to repeat the question in your mind. Or if in the instance that you haven’t quite grasp the question, you may politely ask the interviewer to repeat it. It’s okay.

7. Your QUESTIONS. INTERVIEWS are not ONE-WAY, it’s actually TWO-WAY. The interviewers are looking for candidates that will best fit the job. Help them, help us, by getting to know you better and by getting to know us too. I almost always want to applaud an interviewee who asks questions. Ask politely and pleasantly, of course ask sensible questions first and foremost!

8. Your SELF. This is a no-brainer, you have to prepare yourself. Have someone volley questions to you and practice your answers BUT NEVER EVER re-invent or pretend to be someone you are not. Most interviewers can smell a scripted/copied answer a mile. While some can get away with it, most comes out like frauds. I’m not saying it’s wrong to memorize your answers, what I’m saying is, answer the questions truthfully, don’t just copy-paste answers from the net when it doesn’t really ring true to your personality. Answering a question with “Because I think I’m cool and fun to be with” with the lamest voice and the worst case of nerves will just get me started. In my head I will be saying “You’re COOL? You think?” “FUN to be WITH?, it doesn’t show, not an iota, not even a teeny weeny bit!”

If I’m not impressed, I’d be giving you my most polite smile, but, if I’m INterested with capital I-N, I’ll most definitely be throwing you some questions designed to test how quick-poise you are in a tricky stressful situation like answering Megan’s friend Allison’s question, “What would you do if you had one day no one would remember?” Or “Why is there fuzz on a tennis ball?”. You don’t actually have to answer the question, but it would be best if you could come up with a witty comeback or an equally interesting answer. I am just actually seeing how you’ll react when faced with something unexpected.

Anyho, it is 12:22am. I really hope my experience with interviewing as posted here will help someone land a REAL job. 🙂

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12 thoughts on “Of Interviews What and What Not’s…

  1. Whoa! You got this interview thing down pat. I sure hope potential interviewers in my future are as well read as you. Kudos to #07 – interviews are a two way street. I usually ask, “Is the big boss crazy?” That scores pretty big.

    I always wondered what those trick questions proved. Next time I get asked the why tennis balls are fuzzy, I’ll say, “because they think I’m cool to be with.”

  2. I’m not sure what type of job you have Ava nor am I clear the type of position your company was advertising and screening such candidates. What is the position that you were interviewing people for?

    I have been a supvervisor and manager for several employers and have interviewed both women and men for jobs where some jobs were professional positions that required a graduate university degree, defined set of skills, while other positions were technician roles and lastly, roles that were clerical. For 90% of the positions, we didn’t interview people at all who had these behavioural characteristics. (However I did interview a woman who was a mother and brought in her 5 yr. old daughter. That was NOT a good interview since it gave the wrong impression and the child kept demanding her mother’s attention during the interview!)

    I’m wondering if these characteristics are just semi-cultural for some women who have never been coached/mentored on how to carry themselves abit more professionally without subsciously asking for constant approval from others around them.

    Intriguing reading.

    I could never forget the time as an interviewer, I had one candidate who strode into the meeting rm. and immediately breezily called my name and said she had looked forward to meeting me again. I was taken aback: I had never met the woman before nor I had ever heard of her name before.

    Needless to say, she never got the job.

    The most number of people who reported directly to me was 4 full-time staff.

    Best wishes. Maintain your objectivity. Work on mutually agreed performance goals in writing with each staff (if your company wants this) and how staff will reach their goal.

    I believe in the Philippines it is acceptable to ask for/provide a resume with photo, give age and gender. This is all illlegal for resumes in North America. A good thing.

    • Ms. Jean, we are looking for cadet/cadette Engineers, most of the interviewees, were fresh graduates. As for the resume, yes, unfortunately it is acceptable to submit a resume with the age, pic, etc. but as far as I know, it’s okay to submit without these personal informations or anything you are not comfortable sharing. And yes, it is partly semi-cultural. But, I’m hopeful. The world is getting smaller and some of the best practices of other cultures are continually influencing us. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts Ms. Jean!

      • In Canada we have employment equity legislation in most provinces and of course, a whole history of race relations and human rights since it is a multicultural society. Not only that it is written directly in Canada’s national Charter or Rights..which is used in the courts by lawyers. It’s constitutional law.

        A photo prior to meeting the person and learning more about themselves, is unfair. We are only human and we do tend to judge based on a photo.

  3. @ Ms. Jean : Personally, the photo? I don’t really care about. Besides, in my experience, it rarely resembles the applicant most of the time, so I don’t bother. However, I agree with you. It is an unfair practice.

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