[Advice] Interview questions and tips

Random Observation/Comment #407: The best way to prepare is to know yourself. Take some time and put it on paper.

Play your own tune
Play your own tune

Continuing my interview series of blog posts (Common skills for all careers, Interviewing: being on the other side), I’d like to highlight one of the most important parts: What do I ask the interviewer?

Common questions:

  • What are the top priorities for my first six months in the job?
    • Although responsibilities are well represented, priorities may differ. This will allow the interviewer to go into more detail about the current status of the project in mind and perhaps give tips on how you’ll hit the ground running.
  • How would you describe the team I will be working with?
    • As mentioned, teamwork is key for all positions. Asking about team dynamics will give you an idea of who your peers and managers will be. Hopefully, the interviewer will tell you more about the work ethic and fun parts of being with their team.
  • How do you see my role evolving over the next two to three years?
    • You probably needed to mention something about your own 5-year plan, so this question throws the ball into the interviewer’s court. If it is a manager, he/she will describe career advancement opportunities and the firm’s grow-our-own strategy.
  • How do you see the organization evolving over the next five years?
    • This is a speculation question about the company and its outlook. If it’s a start-up, there will be plenty to talk about, but be warned that this question will probably be thrown right back at you to see how you see the company evolving and why you think it’s a good place to work.
  • What training and professional development opportunities will be available?
    • Similar to the top priorities question, this will focus on the manager’s and company’s resources for assisting with your development. For example, most companies have ESI courses or access to Quora-type internal resources.

This really goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: Avoid questions about pay and holidays. Avoid questions the interviewer may not be able to answer (this means you need to know your interviewer as well).

Here’s a quick summary of tips/guidelines:

  • Read up about the organization and industry
  • Arrive on time or early
  • Be enthusiastic and energetic
  • Do not try to seem overconfident or arrogant
  • Dress for the position
  • Give a firm handshake, provide eye contact, sit straight, and smile
  • Be attentive and listen
  • Do not lie
  • Do not criticize others (especially if they ask about your current or most recent position)
  • Ask thoughtful questions
  • Do not talk about money

If you’re preparing for an interview, hopefully this is just a quick refresher. Write your own questions that reveal your motivation and needs, and always keep the questions positive.

~See Lemons Help Interns Prep

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