It’s a few days before your interview and you don’t know what type of questions you’ll be asked. You’re full of nerves and not sure where to begin…
The following are tips that I found useful when interviewing. I have over 2 years of experience interviewing candidates in the engineering space for individual contributor, managerial and senior engineering roles. My perspective is a combination of my own experience and conversations I’ve had with influential HR professionals and senior managers within various industries. After I accepted a competitive position at a Fortune 500 company, I received positive feedback that I want to share to help you land that role!
- Read through the roles/responsibilities of the job you’re applying to. If there’s anything you’re unsure of, ASK during the interview.
- Go to the company website and familiarize yourself with their mission/values and current products on services offered. You do not have to be an expert, but you should have an idea of what the company stands for.
- Search the role on glassdoor by location to get an idea of the median salary for the job. Do not bring this up during the interview, but keep this for your own information. After you receive the job offer is when you begin negotiating pay.
- Reach out to a current employee to hear about their experience. If you don’t personally know someone at the organization, look on LinkedIn to find someone to connect with. It’s helpful to network with someone you may have a shared connection with.
- Search the web for the company to learn about them in current events. Keep in mind that the media can portray them in a particular light. Use your best judgment with this. You don’t have to bring any of this up in the interview. This is mostly for your benefit to just learn and see what products/services are doing well in the market.
How to Answer a Behavioral-Based Question
Many employer’s like to ask behavioral-based questions when interviewing to gain an idea of how you will handle various tasks and situations in the future. When answering these questions, it’s best to use the S.T.A.R. method. This approach is designed to assist you in formatting your response. You do not have to literally recite each acronym, but use it to guide your answer.
SITUATION – Define the situation or problem (event, project, challenge, etc.)
TASK – What are your responsibilities and the assignment?
ACTION – What steps did you take to solve the issue?
RESULT – What was the outcome? What did you learn?
Example: “Tell me about a time when you worked on a project and it didn’t go as planned”.
Your answer: “(SITUATION) When I was working on a physics project in college, I was randomly assigned to a group. Our project assignment was to construct a collapsible bridge out of wood that could hold at least 30 lbs of weight. (TASK) As the project leader I was in charge of organizing our meetings and making sure everyone had tasks to work on. Communication was very difficult and I noticed that not everyone was motivated to get the project done. With only a week before the due date, our bridge still didn’t meet the minimum requirements and was destroyed after we tested 10 lb weights on it. (ACTION) I decided to have a lunch meeting to address these issues. During this time, we all split a pizza and I encouraged everyone to openly discuss their concerns about the project. (RESULT) As a result of the casual lunch meeting, group morale boosted and I gained insight that some people were feeling overwhelmed with their tasks. We were able to talk through the challenges together and complete the project by the due date. Due to the short time window, we had to completely change our design. However, with hard work and dedication we were able to still make a “B” on the project. I learned that effective communication is key to success and that you should reach out for help when you need it.
Questions to ask Employer/ Company
It’s the end of the interview and the employer asks if you have any questions. You know to steer away from asking about the pay, but not sure how to find out if you’d actually like the culture. I gotchu! The following are questions I’d ask to get an understanding of the environment you’d be working in if hired.
- How has the company supported employees during this pandemic?
- Are there any employee resource groups?
- How would you describe your manager/leadership style? *Ask this if you are being interviewed by the person you’d be reporting to.
- What are your company values?
- What does work-life-balance look like at your company?
- How has the company supported your professional and career growth?
- Is risk-taking encouraged?
- What are a few traits of the person who would be most successful in this role?
- What do you like most about working for this company or in this particular role?
- What is the timeline to fill this position? Additionally, when can I expect to hear back regarding this position?
11. Is there anything on my resume or that I said today that made you hesitant about my ability to perform well in this role if hired?
- Do not lie. It’s better to state that you aren’t sure of an answer than to fabricate a story.
- It’s ok to pause right after the employer asks you a question to think of your answer. You can even state “That is a great question. May I take a moment to think about this?”
- Recognize that this interview is not just for the employer, but also for YOU. Be sure to ask questions to see if your values align with the company/organization you’re applying to.
- Even if you’re not selected for this role, remember that it isn’t a direct reflection of your worth, value, or what you could accomplish in the role if given the opportunity.
- Take a deep breath and recite a few positive affirmations or scriptures. What is for you will be for you and not pass you. Whatever happens, be grateful for the opportunity to interview and trust that you will end up where you’re supposed to be a the right time.