Interviewing tips! - Jemsite
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-30-2015, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Port Byron, IL
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Interviewing tips!

Hey folks,

I know this isn't a music related topic but over the years I've grown to trust you guys for advice on gear. However maybe you guys can give me some pointers for an interview.

I've been part time since December at my current job. My plan for this year didn't go exactly as I hope so now I'm trying to get full time again.

I do have a phone interview with Verizon Wireless on Monday. This isn't for a sales position. Rather a customer service type position. Either way this would greatly improve my quality of life as the pay is quit high. I don't have my degree yet so it would be a perfect jumping point.

Besides, I'm majoring in Software Development and I want to get into writing mobile apps and that sort of thing.


My issue all along is that I get called for phone interview... nail it... get called in for live interview... it's about 50/50 for the 2nd interview. Yet, usually don't get the call that's really important. I've been very frustrated with myself and at certain times I want to give up but I know I can't.

I've been even following up with some of the previous interviews to see why I wasn't selected. Mainly my experience and education are the two biggest factors.

Yet why do they look at me if they know I lack them? They all said I interview great. I'm just trying to figure out what it really is.

Any ideas? any tips? I'll take anything.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-31-2015, 04:37 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
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Re: Interviewing tips!

A big factor to remember is that a lot of it comes down to personality types, if the people at the other side of the table don't make a connection with you inside the alotted time they tend to dismiss you. It's wrong, but it's a human trait. Another important factor is that in many cases you are being interviewed by HR people, (apologies in advance to any Jemsiters in HR) they're like soulless lifeless vampires and tend to lean towards employing mindless drones. Over the years I've known people who work in large organisations befriended by people who work in HR and warned them to be very guarded in their conversation and superficial in their demeanour, it never ends well. So on to tips:

1: If being interviewed by HR zombies. Wax lyrical about how you hold the company in high esteem, how important customer service is. How delivering frienly and effective CS is effectively the 2nd most important factor after sales in growing and maintaining the client base. How in your previous companies you went that extra mile for the client.

2: If team leaders/supervisors are part of the interview process it's a good idea to hold any sign of ambition in check. This position in this company is where you want to be, you were born to it, it will complete you. The last thing a team leader/supervisor/low level manager wants is someone gunning for their position, someone who outshines them. Remember there are quite a few in low/middle level management who gained their positions due to having their tongue fused to sphincter of someone higher up the food chain and hold their positions due to the hard working teams below them.

3. In relation to CS in particular if you are presented with a scenario where you are asked to discuss how you would handle a client remember the following rules. Never say no, it's always "please allow me to look into that for you" and when the response is a negative always provide alternatives like "OK, X is not really ideal, but I feel that Y and Z will provide you with exactly what you require". When delivering bad news always have an alternate plan ready which will give the client an alternative.

4. As in music take a look at your audience. If you were playing to a bunch of hillbillies it would be inadvisable (unless you had a penchant for absorbing shotgun pellets and enjoyed forced buggery) to break into an Elton John set. It's the same in an interview, it's important to make judgements quickly and correctly. Because we're humans and biases play a huge part in our decision making process the more you can quickly and correctly assess about the people interviewing you the easier it will be for you to make a connection. So anything here that gives you an advantage is important. For example if you meet the late 40something career woman who has clawed her way to where she is and sacrificed a lot to get there a little extremely subtle flirting may be helpful - linger a few miliseconds longer on the handshake, smile, make a little more eye contact and answer her questions like she's the only one in the room, same goes for the obviously *** man, you may be married with 3 kids but for all he knows you may like to "help out on the weekend". Even though they can't quite pinpoint the flirting something in their own set of biases is indicating that you are making a connection. This can come down to the sports teams you support, use everything you can tell from their appearence to your advantage, they are a like a keypad in front of you and all you have to do is figure out which buttons will open the door.

From what I have experienced, very few people will waste their time interviewing someone who doesn't look satisfactory on paper. So the education and experience bit are being used as excuses beacuse a couple of people on the panel didn't connect with you. In interviews you have to be a little sociopathic, you have to use everything you've got, stroke egos, affirm biases and basically sell yourself like a meth whore.

One final thought, on the eye contact thing, don't focus too much, I've a friend who spent most of his adult life as a military contractor, when in conversation he has an unblinking stare like a cobra watching its prey, it unnerves almost everyone to say the least and downright scares the **** out of most people. So if you have a tendency to stare keep it in check.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-31-2015, 06:05 AM
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Re: Interviewing tips!

I was an HR guy for civil service during college internship and it's amazing how many people have great resumes but don't come across the same in person.

My best advice is to know who you are interviewing with but still be yourself.

I interviewed once for a kid's school thinking it was just another job (actually steady computer repair client) but it was a Scientology funded private school and the interview completely threw me. Not that I wanted the job after I found out but the interview process threw me. I never called back for next interview. When they are looking at you, be sure to know all you can about the business and what their mission statement is. But what I learned is to be prepared for anything and realize the company/employer could have a different world view than you and that could play into the whole process. I found that while on the surface one's education and experience are key, equally important is if you are a match. When push comes to shove in most jobs, the person hiring you has to want to see you every single day and get along with you. You can be Mr. Harvard but if you don't click then the odds are not good in getting a job.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-02-2015, 08:11 PM
 
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Re: Interviewing tips!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitarmattms View Post
I've been even following up with some of the previous interviews to see why I wasn't selected. Mainly my experience and education are the two biggest factors.

Yet why do they look at me if they know I lack them? They all said I interview great. I'm just trying to figure out what it really is.
My guess is that's probably BS. You're right - they wouldn't have you in for an in-person interview, and probably wouldn't even bother with a phone interview, if they didn't think you could do the job.

As someone who's spent time on both sides of that divide, when you're having someone in for an interview you're looking at a couple candidates, and you're pretty sure they're all capable of doing the job. What you're really looking for, then, is the candidate who's going to fit in with the team the best. You'll spend a LOT of time with your coworkers, and things will occasionally get really stressful. You want to make sure that anyone you're hiring is going to work well with their peers, handle stress in similar ways, and that you're not going to spend all your time as their manager dealing with personality conflicts.

So, don't overthink it, go in there, don't get too nervous, and just have a conversation. You've probably got the background to do the job; what you're really trying to do by the second round of interviewing is convince the hiring manager that you're the person they're going to want to spend their days shooting the **** with in the office. That not only can you do the work, but that you'll make the working environment a better place for the company.

Also, if "don't get too nervous" seems like a tall order, I'll let you in on a secret - odds are, the person interviewing you is just as nervous as you are. Trust me, it's surprisingly stressful!

EDIT -
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitarmattms View Post
Besides, I'm majoring in Software Development and I want to get into writing mobile apps and that sort of thing.
Careful on this one. If you're interviewing for a customer service job and your interviewer thinks you're looking at it as an avenue into another job totally unrelated to customer service (let's be honest, you won't get promoted to Customer Service Manager and be asked to suddenly start writing apps), you're probably toast. They want a candidate they're not going to have to replace in 16 months time. See if you can spin this into a general interest in the way the telecommunications industry is evolving and how maybe your programming background can help you help customers troubleshoot issues with their phones or whatnot, and ways that this interest of you can help you in THIS job. Absolutely do not make it sound like you're only interested in this job to get to your next.

Last edited by Drew; 02-02-2015 at 08:16 PM.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-02-2015, 09:10 PM
 
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Re: Interviewing tips!

I was bashing my head against the wall in this same manner in college; and I went back in my late 20's and early 30's! I was tired of being in that scenario so I took Computer Science as a major. I don't necessarily work in the field but I learned math and science; things that are general to all things in the universe. I did horribly in math and science in high school but I attacked it in college and did very well. The trick is to take something you fear or are bad at and make it your bitch! Now this didn't happen overnight. I took a Taoist view on it and did little things each day to improve myself until, over a long period of time, major change was achieved. I really hope this doesn't come across as crass. I do indeed like to see everyone do well and wish you the best.
My point in all of this is that if you can show you have the goods... many times you don't even have to interview!
In general I would avoid overselling or underselling yourself on your resume. As was noted, be yourself! I know some people, also as noted, might look good on paper but when you're sitting in front of someone in person you can tell if they have the goods or not. Also, don't sell yourself short and be too humble. It might sound silly but sometimes people can get shy in an interview. If you're good at something and know it be confident! In an interview you are trying to instill confidence in someone enough to hire you and know it's the right decision. Share that confidence if you can. That can be hard to do if you've been beat down over and over. Believe me - I know!
And if you get knocked down shrug it off like a good NHL goaltender, clear your mind, and focus on the next one.
And also... yes, life and HR people can be unfair. You may not have gotten that important call because the person hiring simply made another call - which isn't always the right call. It happens.
Keep studying and keep your feet moving. It'll break through eventually.
Best of luck!
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-03-2015, 06:11 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
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Posts: 428
Re: Interviewing tips!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew View Post
As someone who's spent time on both sides of that divide, when you're having someone in for an interview you're looking at a couple candidates, and you're pretty sure they're all capable of doing the job. What you're really looking for, then, is the candidate who's going to fit in with the team the best. You'll spend a LOT of time with your coworkers, and things will occasionally get really stressful. You want to make sure that anyone you're hiring is going to work well with their peers, handle stress in similar ways, and that you're not going to spend all your time as their manager dealing with personality conflicts.

So, don't overthink it, go in there, don't get too nervous, and just have a conversation. You've probably got the background to do the job; what you're really trying to do by the second round of interviewing is convince the hiring manager that you're the person they're going to want to spend their days shooting the **** with in the office. That not only can you do the work, but that you'll make the working environment a better place for the company.
This ˆˆˆˆˆ. You can tell a lot about a person from a phone interview so if you get the second call you're certainly in with a chance. Is it likely there's already someone at the company who can move into that position? That's also what won't be mentioned as a reason for not getting the job but it's a highly likely case. Most companies have to, by law, interview outside the company but can promote within after the interview process.

And definitely as 63Blazer mentions; "I found that while on the surface one's education and experience are key, equally important is if you are a match. When push comes to shove in most jobs, the person hiring you has to want to see you every single day and get along with you. You can be Mr. Harvard but if you don't click then the odds are not good in getting a job."

I can't tell you how many brilliant sound engineers I've come across who can be complete tools when it comes to personality and soft skills. If you can't placate an irate/distraught musician in seconds it doesn't matter how long you studied or how good your skills are. Good communication is paramount.

Best of luck with your future interviews mate. What's for you won't go by you!
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-03-2015, 03:40 PM
 
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Re: Interviewing tips!

I work in HR (and am not a zombie) and I can tell you that most interview questions these days are what we call BDI questions (Behavioral Descriptive Interview), which is when the interviewer will ask the interviewee to provide examples of what the potential employee did in the past and how they performed on specific tasks or functions. So, one of the best things you can do to prepare for an interview is to think of how you can effectively describe past examples and situations where you were able to demonstrate your technical skills and interpersonal / teamwork skills. Also, employers are focusing more on emotional intelligence skills (if you don't know what emotional intelligence is then you should google it and learn about it) these days because the age old adage in HR is 'hire for attitude and train for skill'. So, demonstrating your social skills and self-management skills will be very helpful in any interview. As per GoodVaibes points, technical skills aren't going to get you past an interview if you can't demonstrate good personal and social skills. Good luck!
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