Monday, January 7, 2013

Interview Series Part I

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The first in a four part series on interviewing

First the bad news: There is no guarantee that your (hopefully) future employer is a good interviewer. The good news: He or she may still be a good employer. 
Sometimes employers plan to ask strange interview questions to get a feel for how you will solve problems and/or how poised you can be under pressure. In this situation what you answer may not matter as much as how you think it through or communicate.

Other employers, like Apple, have a list of strange interview questions they ask job candidates to assess specific attributes. Interviewers may be looking for your product or company knowledge, creativity level, or reasoning ability.  (

Of course, there are plenty of just plain bad job interviewers. The interviewer may lack training or finesse, or just think they are being sneaky, smart or straightforward. The questions may even be illegal (this may only matter if you aren’t offered a job because of your answer and you sue them for it).
Idle chit-chat with a stranger in the elevator or waiting room could be pre-interview evaluation. Small talk with the interviewer on the way into the meeting room (or when leaving) could also provide fodder for evaluation. 
Remember your interview starts the minute you step onto the employer’s property. The bottom line is that you want the job; so plan to put your best foot forward. Practice answering as many interview questions at you can. If possible, enlist the help of someone else to ask you the questions.

Preparing for an interview is a major key to success.  Practice answering standard interview questions. You always want to research the company you are interviewing with as thoroughly as possible. Likewise you should go out of your way to stay current with your industry’s latest news and information. Also, keep sharp with brain teasers, riddles, and the like.
If you have issues or obstacles that may negatively impact your assessment during an interview then prepare your answers to tough questions in advance and practice, practice, practice. If you need to buy some time while developing an answer, you can always say, “Hmmmm, I can honestly say I have never been asked that in an interview.” If you have developed a rapport or can pull it off successfully, ask, “Do you mind if I ask the reason for the question?”
Some of the strangest interview questions I have come across and suggested answers and approaches to each are sorted into three broad categories: Pretty is as pretty does (or says); Irrelevant, Irreverent, orIllegal; and Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.

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