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Job/Interview Questions

After yet another round of getting my hopes up and the anticipation of waiting for a response from a potential employer, I thought I would burn up some nervous energy by asking you lovelies questions about your job search or hiring experiences.

For those of you looking for work, or who recently looked for work:

Do you practice commonly asked interview questions?

Do you ever use humor in the interview or while bantering before/after the interview?

How do you usually handle those pesky questions about your weaknesses?

Do you have a set of questions you typically ask or do you tailor your questions to the job?  Do you do both?  How many questions do you ask?

Do you always send a thank you?  How long after the interview?

If you don't get the job, do you ever ask for feedback?

For those of you who are involved in hiring:

Aside from the specific job skills that you may be looking for, what are some things that applicants do or don't do that affect your decision making process during the interview?

What are you really looking for when you ask about weaknesses?

Given the current unemployment rate and how many people are looking for work, if you have 2-3 great candidates, will you always choose the one with the most experience?  Why/Why not?

How important are Thank You cards when you are deciding who will receive the job offer?  How many days after the interview is acceptable for getting a Thank You card?

If someone were to ask you for feedback as to why they were not offered the job, would you be open to providing constructive criticism?


Feel free to add to this list if there are questions that interest you.  :)
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Re: Job/Interview Questions

  • I haven't technically been looking for work recently, but I had to interview for the promotion that I got in April so I'm going to pretend that counts.  Sorry for some long responses!

    Do you practice commonly asked interview questions?
    Yes.  I figure why not run through a couple just in case they come up.

    Do you ever use humor in the interview or while bantering before/after the interview?
    Not really.  I might tell an amusing anecdote if it related to a question that I was asked, but I try to stay professional.  I joked around a bit with my boss during my promotion interview but only because she already knows I'm a goofy dork.  And she was asking me about my related job experience, which she already knew because it was working for her. 

    How do you usually handle those pesky questions about your weaknesses?
    I always make sure to come up with 2-3 weaknesses the day before interview.  This is one thing that I can not come up with on the fly.  I know that one of my weaknesses is that I am a perfectionist.  But not in the way that it is actually a "strength".  And then I give an example of how it is a weakness.  My go to example is when I worked at a coffee shop making drinks my boss had to tell me to stop spending so much time putting the whipped cream/chocolate sauce/whatever on the drinks.  They didn't have to look perfect, because they were just getting a lid slapped on them any way, and I was "wasting time" making fancy swirls. 
    This also relates to my ability to work in groups.  For example I gave a group presentation at work and I had a hard time letting other people create some of the slides for the presentation because I wanted them all to be perfect and I wanted them all to be done my way.  I ended up tweaking basically everyone else's work so that the entire presentation was uniform and met my standards.  I also wanted to yell at the person who critiqued my color scheme choices. 

    Do you have a set of questions you typically ask or do you tailor your questions to the job?  Do you do both?  How many questions do you ask?
    Usually 3-4 questions.  Pretty standard, unless something specific comes up in the interview. 

    Do you always send a thank you?  How long after the interview?
    If I want the job, I send a thank you.  If I am sending a physical note, I get it out that day.  If it is an email I would send it the next morning. 

    At an old job I overheard the interviewer complaining to coworker that out of the 10 interviews, only like one had sent a thank you.  She wasn't going to consider any of the candidates who didn't send a thank you. 

    If you don't get the job, do you ever ask for feedback?
    No I have not.  I didn't know this was even an option.
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  • RWS2011RWS2011 member
    500 Comments 100 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited August 2012
    Do you practice commonly asked interview questions?  

    I have, but lately I have been winging it more.  This is partly because I have been in many interviews where few of those questions are asked, and also because I have gotten a better sense of what they are looking for in the interview while they tell me about the position.

    Do you ever use humor in the interview or while bantering before/after the interview?  

    I can't help but infuse conversations with humor.  That is not to say I am unprofessional about my approach to an interview.  A few examples with the first interview of 2 for the most recent position:  When the interviewer was at the end of her questions, she asked me, "Is there anything else you want me to know about you?"  The whole interview had been very comfortable and conversational, and I knew that she was responding well to what I had been saying, so I said, "I don't know.  Has my awesomeness come across sufficiently?"  She laughed and said it had, and then I went on to asking my questions.  Also, as she was saying goodbye, she mentioned that there were a number of great candidates and that it would be a tough choice.  To this I responded, "So what you are saying is that I should send chocolate." 

    How do you usually handle those pesky questions about your weaknesses?
    I always have a hard time with this question, no amount of prepping really gets it done for me.  Part of the issue is that I come off as confident, but actually have a lot of holes in my self esteem.  If I answered the question the way I felt, I would have to say, "I am a walking ball of weakness."  This is not actually true.  I don't think I have ever given the same answer twice.

    Do you have a set of questions you typically ask or do you tailor your questions to the job?  Do you do both?  How many questions do you ask?  

    I will ask about 5-6 questions typically, about half being somewhat general and half being specific to the organization or job.

    Do you always send a thank you?  How long after the interview?
    I try to always send a Thank You within 2 days of the interview.

    If you don't get the job, do you ever ask for feedback?
    When I get a phone call about the job, I will typically just ask, "For the purpose of improving my job search, could you offer any feedback about  what I might have done better during the interview process?"  Or something to that effect.  I don't always have an opportunity to do this, and I have only ever been told that there wasn't anything I could have done better, they just went with a more experienced applicant.  I don't know if this is true or if they don't want to take the time to offer constructive feedback...
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  • Hummingbird125Hummingbird125 New York member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary Name Dropper
    For those of you looking for work, or who recently looked for work:

    Do you practice commonly asked interview questions?
    Yes! Always.

    Do you ever use humor in the interview or while bantering before/after the interview?
    No. I mean, I keep it lighthearted when the situation calls for it (i.e. if the interviewer casually asks if I have any big plans for the summer), but I don't try to joke around with them.

    How do you usually handle those pesky questions about your weaknesses?
    I actually haven'et had anyone ask me this lately. When I last looked for a job, I went on a few different interviews, but most were pretty closely related to the position.

    Do you have a set of questions you typically ask or do you tailor your questions to the job?  Do you do both?  How many questions do you ask?
    I'll try to have at least two questions ready. One good one is asking about the training process once you're hired. Another is asking how/how regularly you'll be given feedback about your performance. Another is asking - assuming you get this position - what further opportunites exist if you stay with the company long-term.

    Do you always send a thank you?  How long after the interview?
    Yup - usually the next day.

    If you don't get the job, do you ever ask for feedback?
    Nope.

    For those of you who are involved in hiring:

    Aside from the specific job skills that you may be looking for, what are some things that applicants do or don't do that affect your decision making process during the interview?
    I've had to interview about 20 people in the past, and I HATE when they are too casual with me. Part of the problem is that many of the interviewees were older than me, or thought they were more experienced, but that is no reason to act like I'm an old friend. Be respectful. I also hate when someone refuses to answer the question - and just vaguely responds (like politicians do in debates. Also - if I ask you for a specific example - give me one! Don't just say something like "Well, if I was in a situation where x happened I would probably do y." No No No. Tell me something that actually happened to you, and tell me what you ACTUALLY did in that situation. 

    What are you really looking for when you ask about weaknesses?
    Meh, I never asked this question because I don't really see the point.

    Given the current unemployment rate and how many people are looking for work, if you have 2-3 great candidates, will you always choose the one with the most experience?  Why/Why not?
    Nope. When hiring for the team I used to manage, I would choose someone who I thought would get along well with the rest of the team, and who I thought would pull their own weight, and not think they were "above" anyone else. This isn't always the most experienced person.

    How important are Thank You cards when you are deciding who will receive the job offer?  How many days after the interview is acceptable for getting a Thank You card?
    I wouldn't say they're required - but it definitely would make me think a little better of those who did. I would like to recieve a thank you (either card or email) no later than 3 days after the interview.

    If someone were to ask you for feedback as to why they were not offered the job, would you be open to providing constructive criticism?
    No - probably not. I'm a busy person and you don't even work for me. I hardly had enough time to provide feedback to my current employees, so I wasn't about to do it for someone I didn't even care about.
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  • For those of you looking for work, or who recently looked for work:

    Do you practice commonly asked interview questions?
    Yes because I'm bad at being put on the spot. I find it helps me feel a little more at ease.
    Do you ever use humor in the interview or while bantering before/after the interview?
    No because it's not me. I'm not naturally witty, and when I do it makes it awkward, so I don't. I can see it working for someone who is generally appropriate and natural with it.

    How do you usually handle those pesky questions about your weaknesses?
    Stock answers - perfectionism makes me take too much time, so I control it by giving myself a set amount of time to revise a piece of work.
    Do you have a set of questions you typically ask or do you tailor your questions to the job?  Do you do both?  How many questions do you ask?
    I will always tailor the answers to the company. I have them written down so I can look over them before I go in. Only 2-3 questions. Most of the time I will ask why the job is open - it's good to know.

    Do you always send a thank you?  How long after the interview?
    I try to. I think it's an American thing, I'd never heard of it before I was job hunting over here and getting tips online. If I have their email address, they get an email.
    If you don't get the job, do you ever ask for feedback?
    The only time I did was when I was notified by email and it was a surprise - they seemed to really like me in the interview.
  • I currently have 2 jobs.  I interviewed today for a 3rd.  I'm currently slightly above the poverty line as a single person, solidly middle class when you add BF's wages in (but since we're not married, I'm basically above the poverty line.  With 3 jobs.  How the heck do you support a family when you're at the poverty line?)  Here's my input, although my interviews are all teaching so they're...interesting:

    Do you practice commonly asked interview questions?  I do not do this enough.  I should.  I do practice any teaching presentations that are requested of me though.  At least a few times.

    Do you ever use humor in the interview or while bantering before/after the interview?  Probably.  I'm a pretty sarcastic person, but I try to reel it in.  I did talk to my interviewer about my vacation that I had just gotten back on (which was fine, because it was summer break interviewing for a fall position, duh) last time.  Didn't get the job, but it was more for subject matter reasons.

    How do you usually handle those pesky questions about your weaknesses?  I'm pretty truthful.  I'm not great at classroom management.  I do my best and try to give examples when my best actually worked, haha.

    Do you have a set of questions you typically ask or do you tailor your questions to the job?  Do you do both?  How many questions do you ask?  I try not to ask about salary, but I do tend to ask about expectations and what a typical day looks like.  Maybe 2-3 questions, not too many.

    Do you always send a thank you?  How long after the interview?  I forgot to send my interview thank you on the last interview.  I didn't get the job, so I mean, could be why ;)  I actually sent the thank you like 3 days after the interview (by email) and I thought that was too late.  I would say maybe email after a day.  I don't know how many people do written thank yous anymore (I'll be interested to read the comments.)

    If you don't get the job, do you ever ask for feedback?  I don't think I have, but sometimes the interviewers give me some teaching advice on the spot, so that's awesome to have under my belt.  We talked about how to write a good syllabus in my last interview.

    Good luck interviewing.  This part stinks! :)
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  • I just went through the hiring process at my agency and although I didn't make the final decision, I was asked for my input and got to hear the feedback from the Executive Director about why she made her decision...

    Aside from the specific job skills that you may be looking for, what are some things that applicants do or don't do that affect your decision making process during the interview? 
    The biggest thing for me was someone who seemed genuine and relaxed.  I know it's an interview and we definitely take that into account, but we work with teens and need to see their personality to determine if it would be a good fit.

    What are you really looking for when you ask about weaknesses? 
    This was by far my least favorite question and I feel like we got the least amount of information about it.  For the most part, it just seemed that they wanted to know that this person recognizes they aren't perfect and are willing to set goals to improve themselves.

    Given the current unemployment rate and how many people are looking for work, if you have 2-3 great candidates, will you always choose the one with the most experience?  Why/Why not? 
    For us, that was a definite no.  Experience helps get the person in the door, but for us the personality is key.  Our agency has 6 employees and we needed someone who would mesh well with everyone.  Also, the position does therapy and I wanted someone who I felt comfortable with almost immediately, as I try to imagine a teen walking into a session for the first time would feel. 

    The person we hired cracked a few professional jokes and was very warm.  If you can put yourself at ease, everyone will be able to sense that. 

    How important are Thank You cards when you are deciding who will receive the job offer?  How many days after the interview is acceptable for getting a Thank You card? 
    Thank You cards are definitely a nice touch and appreciated.  It did make us reconsider someone for a second interview that we were on the fence about.  She ultimately did not get the job, but it let us know she was conscientious and professional.  I would say within a few days of the interview is totally acceptable, even up to a week if it's a longer process.

    If someone were to ask you for feedback as to why they were not offered the job, would you be open to providing constructive criticism? 
    This one I have no clue about, since I would not be answering these types of questions.  In the non-profit world, the work force is so flooded right now, that I just assumed they found a better fit when I was looking a couple years ago.

    Best of luck!
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