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Interviewing Tips - the Other Side of the Table - Page 2

post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by gdl203 View Post
One important tip: take notes of everything you notice (non-verbal cues, wrong answers, great answers...)

That's important to keep in mind. If you ever have to interview people back-to-back, it's amazing how quickly everyone fades to a uniform shade of grey until you go back to your notes and are able to recall the interview.
post #17 of 35
I've been interviewing candidates for IT development jobs lately, and have really liked asking questions along the line of:

- How are you a better programmer than you were a year ago? (look for specific things they have done to improve their skills)
- Tell me about a project you are proud of, and why. (to find out what they value, and see if they have any passion)
- What do you do to re-invest in your skills? (again, look for specific things that show you they are growing in their skills)

I've stopped asking hypothetical questions (e.g., "How would you handle a conflict with a co-worker?"). All you'll get is some b.s. answer that they think is the one you want to hear.

Of course, we also ask specific technical questions to ensure that they actually know about what they listed on their resume. A tip for all you interviewees: Don't lie about technical knowledge. You may be interviewed by someone who literally wrote the book on that subject.
post #18 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by retronotmetro View Post
In my time in Biglaw I did a few dozen interviews. I stopped using trite stock questions around the time I hit mid-level status and started supervising the people who came through. I stopped not only because most candidates have ready answers for them, but because their ability to come up with snap verbalization had nothing to do with what would make them good associates. At least at my old firm, junior associates do not speak in court and do not address clients. They work on document review, research projects, and minimal drafting. They will never have their verbal skills called upon until they have been given a seal of approval by the partner responsible for a given matter. Thus, my concern was with finding out whether an interviewee was a complete tool who would be a pain in the ass to have in a conference room with a team of other associates doing 50-60 hours per week of document review. I would do just a bit of questioning on legal hypotheticals to see if they could issue spot, so that I would be able to weed people with glaringly suspect reasoning abilities that would get my ass in a sling if I failed to carefully citecheck their research product.

So I was not looking for the best verbalization. I was looking for the candidates who were the most pleasant to deal with, and were not obvious idiots who nevertheless made it past the academic criteria screening. You'll probably find many mid-level and senior associates use the same method.

It's interesting that you bring this up, but the nature of our practice is such that we need someone who can run his own files. My group is a volume group, which makes it kind of unique among biglaw practices.
post #19 of 35
i just hired a guy for a position that I received 150 CVs for. interviewed maybe 30 guys on the phone, and 10-15 face to face. the guy I hired turned out to be very high maintanance, so then I am faced with the cost of replacing him, or getting him to fit in with the team better. i am sorry that I didn't spend more time and effort trying to see how he would fit in with the team.
post #20 of 35
Just to add, do not think I am saying to ask only trite questions, I am just saying they have a place. I think some of the questions others have put here are excellent and along the lines of other things I use myself, tailored to the position in question of course. To me, the entire interviewing/hiring process is a funnel, starting with the resume or CV, ending with the offer to hire. Each stage in the process is a filter and such things as punctuality, appearance, social niceties (including trite questions), are part of the filtering process.
post #21 of 35
After the interview I always ask the receptionist how the person entered and left the room (body language) and how they treated her and others in the waiting room (being cordial, polite) and what they did while waiting (sitting still, reviewing resume, reading a magazine).
post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by doink View Post
and what they did while waiting (sitting still, reviewing resume, reading a magazine).

Just wondering, how exactly would you read into that?
post #23 of 35
Here's a question my last boss asked:

Boss - "So why did you leave your last job and go back to school?
Interviewee - "well because blah blah blah"
Boss (ruthlessly cold and emotionless) - "I don't believe you"

post #24 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroStyles View Post
Just wondering, how exactly would you read into that?

Body language while waiting and what a person does tells me a bit about them.

A person who sits still and does nothing tells me one of two things, they are very confident with what they are about to do, or very nervous.

If a person reviews their resume and the job posting before hand, I sometimes wonder how well they know themselves and what the job is they are interviewing for.

A person who picks up a magazine, a bit aloof about the whole thing, a person who picks up an in house publication - curious about what is going on.

A person who is chatty and pleasant to the receptionist, and the receptionist gets a good vibe, lets me know the person is confident and friendly.

This is not a deal breaker, but if two people are very close, it may skew the decision in one direction. From the EA's and receptionists I've had I trust many of their opinions about people and how they will "fit"

Job interviewing is not a science and is all about first impressions.

As for the surfer dude, I have a friend who works in Investment Banking and to prove a point wore track pants to work on a casual Friday. Nothing was said to him, as he is crazy brillant at what he does and he wanted to call his team out on their notions of propriety and who people are. This is the same guy that throws his bespoke suits in a pile on the floor when he gets home from work.
post #25 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyquik View Post
Here's a question my last boss asked:

Boss - "So why did you leave your last job and go back to school?
Interviewee - "well because blah blah blah"
Boss (ruthlessly cold and emotionless) - "I don't believe you"


Do you think the guy/girl was lying?

If that was me, as the interview was pretty much over at that point anyways, I would have said something like, "Goodbye (extend hand for shaking as I got up). Thanks for having me. That was 100% true and it is refreshing to find out my boss thinks his direct reports are liars prior to getting hired vs. having to waste a year to find this out. Take care and good luck" (looking pointedly at you for the "good luck" part).
post #26 of 35
Get the candidate to zero in on what he or she has personally done. In IT, you'll often get answers like "I was on a project team that did this amazing thing ...". You need to get them to talk about their specific contribution to that. Make them talk about results and accomplishments, not theoretical approaches. Frankly, I'm less interested in someone's technical certification in Java than what they have done with it.
post #27 of 35
I interview a lot of people, and I really don't think random questions give much insight into a person's ability to do a job. A better way is to copy what the performing arts do: give them an audition of some sort.

For example, if you're interviewing for a sales position, give the candidates a few hours with your marketing collateral, and then make them sell you your product. For editors, give them a piece of copy that has known problems, and see what kinds of corrections they come up with. For programmers, give them a relatively simple problem and a computer, and see how their program solves that problem at the end of the afternoon.

If you handle it right, you can pretty much make it a little simulation of day-to-day work, and that's much more informative for both you and the candidate.

--Andre
post #28 of 35
Start off with a few easy questions that really get them to talk about themselves and feel at ease with you. Then throw in something totally unexpected which makes them think on their feet and which will give you some idea of how they think and work. The important thing is not to be intimidating. Since you've got to work with them, you want to see if they are going to be a good colleague and easy to get on with as well as being good at their job.

As for your pocket square issues, forget them. You're going to be working with the person not the clothes. The candidate might be just as prejudiced against your initial appearance, but you might find you are both good guys on the same wavelength. And don 't forget you need to impress them as much as they do you.

Good luck, enjoy being the interviwer rather than interviewee and I'm sure you'll get the right man or woman for the job.
post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter View Post
i just hired a guy for a position that I received 150 CVs for. interviewed maybe 30 guys on the phone, and 10-15 face to face. the guy I hired turned out to be very high maintanance, so then I am faced with the cost of replacing him, or getting him to fit in with the team better. i am sorry that I didn't spend more time and effort trying to see how he would fit in with the team.
I'm not in HR and I don't do interviews but this seems like one of the most important things to me. From my experience, anyone can bullshit in an interview and they can be very experienced but if they don't fit in, it's a disaster. One can find a person with none to average experience but if they work well with others in the department / company the job can be learned. Nothing is that difficult unless it's highly specialized. My managers recently hired someone who told them everything they wanted to hear. This person bullshits like no one I've ever seen but this employee has turned out to be terrible at the job and the managers have had several "meetings" with them because of their terrible attitude, poor work quality, amongst other things. The scary thing is, this employee even bullshits their way out of the "meetings" and tries to throw others (like me) under the bus. Luckily, this new employee has only been there 4 months and I've been there 4 years. My managers know me pretty well and hopefully can see what's going on. I don't think this person will last long but it just goes to show that bullshit goes a long way in getting a job. What happens after that can ruin a department.
post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire View Post
Do you think the guy/girl was lying?

If that was me, as the interview was pretty much over at that point anyways, I would have said something like, "Goodbye (extend hand for shaking as I got up). Thanks for having me. That was 100% true and it is refreshing to find out my boss thinks his direct reports are liars prior to getting hired vs. having to waste a year to find this out. Take care and good luck" (looking pointedly at you for the "good luck" part).

Maybe she was lying, maybe not. It was a canned reply to see what she would do next.

After being totally knocked off her feet by the reply, she answered and did get the job.
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