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What is a skill or quality most people overlook when it comes to interviewing that is actually vitally important?

As a college student, the transition to the workforce is happening really soon. Since I will have to do many interviews, what soft skill or quality should I make sure I have in order to make myself as hirable as possible? #interviews #jobs #computer-science #professional-development #stem #working-in-big-companies

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Bonnie’s Answer

This is a great question, Jeancarlo. From my experience, it is important to engage in the conversation during the interview. Don't just sit there and answer questions, for example, 'yes', 'no', 'I don't know'. The interview is all about a conversation. It's a chance to showcase your talents and abilities and the best way to do that is to be comfortable in the conversation. Interviewers are going to be wondering what it would be like to have you on their team.

That means that they will be picking up on your natural patterns in how you handle yourself and what you say during the interview. For example, if you interrupt the person while they are talking, are negative or sarcastic in how you answer the questions, and so forth, this will not give a positive impression. One of the top skills that all employers (any industry, any role) look for is the ability to work on a team and collaborate with others. To the extent you can convey that you are polite, a good listener, a team player and value the experiences and ideas of others, you will go a long way to showing the interviewer that you would be someone good to have on the team.

I'd also like to recommend that you research the company some, so you understand what the company does. As an interview begins to wrap up, they will most likely as if you have any questions. It's a pet peeve of mine when someone asks, 'when will you be making a hiring decision?'. A good interviewer will talk to you about next steps as they wrap up. So when you've done your research, this is a good time to ask a question about the company or working there. That helps to show that you've done some homework and are naturally curious about the what it would be like to be a part of their team.

I hope my answer gives you some ideas to think about and prepare for interviews. Good luck on your journey!

Bonnie recommends the following next steps:

One last thought about the actual interview - most companies are going to ask you some questions like, 'tell me about a time when you were able to turn around a difficult customer situation' or something similar. They are wanting to know how you've handled these kinds of situations because if they understand what how you've handled things in the past, they can get a good idea of how you might handle things at their company. Be sure to share with the interviewer what the situation was, what you did and how things turned out. That will be most helpful in knowing how you handle things and again, what it'd be like to have you on their team. Thanks.

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Nicki’s Answer

The interview is your opportunity to make a first impression with the hiring manager and the organization as a whole. I'm my opinion you need to take the necessary time to do your homework, prepare responses based on real experiences or examples, practice doing mock interviews, and have 3-5 key questions to ask at the end of the interview to help determine if this role is a good fit for you personally. Whether virtual or in-person, come to the interview in appropriate and professional attire. This shows you are serious about the position and depending on the type of job, shows you can easily acclimate to the work environment. Key things I look for when interviewing someone beyond the skills listed on the resume are good eye contact, tone of voice, confidence, and professionalism. Understand you may have to conduct multiple interviews for a specific job and in some cases meet with multiple people in a panel format. I believe the energy and effort you put into preparing sets the stage for the best outcome during the entire process. Good luck!

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Victoria’s Answer

One way you can really stand out is by researching the company you are interviewing with. You would be surprised how many times, candidates forget to Google or Wiki the company, the industry, and the company's performance. Also search LinkedIn to find contacts and company information...By doing your homework and comparing companies, you can literally propose a strategy for running that particular company or doing that specific job - you will stand out. This is so critical and can help you determine quickly whether you are a good fit for the company. Make a folder or bookmarks and even some high level notes to bring to the interview if that is allowed. Summarize the information in your mind so you can speak about it during the interview.

There are other ways you can stand out as well...

Practice talking about the company and pretend you are presenting to the board of directors or the managers who will be interviewing you - this is a visualization exercise that can draw upon during the actual interview. Describe your observations in your own words in a clear manner and it's okay to use graphs and charts if you can explain what they mean and how they are relevant to your interview.

Employers want to know that you understand their issues and that you can articulate solutions. They want to feel confident in your ability to represent their company and message.

Make a good first impression by arriving on time and dressing appropriately for the specific environment.

When you are introduced make eye contact and have a firm handshake.

Be aware that you are being interviewed from the moment you arrive at the front door until you complete all the tasks. What this means is that the front desk is interviewing you, the assistants are interviewing you, the manager is interviewing you, etc. Be polite to everyone because everyone will be comparing notes when you leave.

Before and once you get the job, treat everyone with respect and professionalism from the guards, the housekeepers, to the cooks, to the supervisors, to your peers, to the board of directors. Everyone has an important job and contributes to the overall success of the organization at every level. Everyone has something to teach you.

Try to learn something about the corporate culture ahead of time if you can. While many companies appear to be similar or do the same thing, cultures can be very different. You might gravitate to start-ups or prefer traditional environments. Think of company culture as the glue that holds the company together: it is intangible but a big part of the company's identity - kind of like a personality. You might see clues in their marketing, commercials, or websites. A good example is the difference between Southwest Airlines and American Airlines. They both fly planes but look at their mission statements and you will see they have very different approaches to how to run a company. Both are excellent companies but the company culture is truly unique in each case.

Be prepared to ask good questions. You are interviewing the companies as much as they are interviewing you. Be polite and listen carefully to each question. Make eye contact during the interview and have a firm handshake before and after. Make sure your resume is spell checked. Practice a variety of interview questions about your skills as well as how you react to different situations.

Thank you notes are really important because they give you the opportunity to stand out, communicate one more time with the interviewer, and show that you are professional.

Good luck and keep us posted!

#interviews #jobs #computer-science #professional-development #stem #working-in-big-companies

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Rohit’s Answer

Most of the time, we tend to over look two things.

1. Fitment to the team - One could have the best credentials, but then what tends to get overlooked is how are you fitting into the team? How is your skill sets be utilized in the team? Do they want a team collaborator or a lone ranger?
This question can be asked to the hiring manager directly, when it is your turn to ask them questions you may have.

2. Fitment to the company culture - The fitment to company culture is also critically important, something that candidates tend to overlook. Eg - An organization is used to taking quick decisions and executing it at a much faster rate. Are you comfortable with such frequent changes? Is the company culture a more relaxed one and things move slow internally- a millennial could find it boring and leave soon.
The answer can be found while one does their research on the company, checking with ex-employees and even during the interview stage itself.

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Steve’s Answer

That's an excellent question! As a software engineer, I've endured many, many interviews. The hiring process typically requires multiple interviews. I offer my interviewing rules as an aid.

Rule #1: The objective is not to receive an offer from the first interview. The objective is to get the second interview, which is almost always required.

Rule #2: Think counter-intuitively. Think of the prospective employer's interests instead of your own. It's not about you. Don't think "Do I want to work here? Would this position be good for me?" Instead, think "Can I help the company?" Be humble. You have already decided the company/position might be good for you and you'll never know for sure until after starting a position.

Rule #3: Forget about pay, benefits & duties. Do not ask about it. None of that matters if you don't get an offer. Avoiding those questions often leads to an offer better than advertised.

Rule #4: Appreciate and like everybody. You don't know the interviewer(s). It's a real advantage if the interviewer (or any contact) feels that you like them. You can't fake it. Learn to assume every person you meet will end up being your best friend. It stands out. You can always change your mind later.

Rule #5: Avoid asking questions (*save one - see below) during the interview. Interviewees that ask questions invariably violate rule #2. When answering questions, avoid saying "I/me/my" (interpersonal/business communication skills). Remember rule #2. Interviews usually conclude with "Do you have any questions?" (see rule #11). If you must ask questions, try to save them until then. If you feel pressure to ask relevant questions, ask them with rule #2 in mind.

Rule #6: Always be honest. If you lack a skill they ask about, say "I don't have much/any experience with [that skill]" Remember rule #2. Honesty can get you an offer even if you don't seem to be qualified for the position. I once received a very good offer (after several interviews) for a position after the initial interview, when I said I didn't think I was a good fit- the job didn't seem to match my skill set (rule #2). As it turned out, they didn't really care about what they specified in the job description - they wanted a good engineer (or somebody they like). I got the job with an extra $10K over the advertised salary (rule #3).

Rule #7: No jokes.

Rule #8: No personal stories. (Rule #2.)

Rule #9: 'Mirror and match'. It's a sales technique designed to build instant rapport. It makes everybody tend to like you in minutes.

Rule #10: Follow the universal interview guidelines. Do your homework and visit their website. Dress professionally. Be well-groomed. Do not use perfume/cologne. Be polite and mind your manners. Be 10-15 minutes early!

Rule #11: At the end of the interview, when the interviewer asks "Do you have any questions?", ask this: "Why do you like working here?" Ask it verbatim. Practice asking the question so you can deliver it naturally. This one is very important! It's your *single-use* secret weapon. If you know you'll get a second interview, save it for the second interview. You can always answer "No questions. You have explained it well." It never hurts to give a subtle professional compliment to the interviewer.

Rule #12: Once the interview is concluded, thank the interviewer and express your *sincere* appreciation. "Thank you very much for your time. I greatly appreciate it." Be sincere. If you don't really appreciate it, they'll know.


Rule #4 must be learned & practiced. Fortunately, you can practice with anybody you meet anywhere and it doesn't take long to become skilled.

Rule #9 'Mirror and match' is also a learned skill. However, having a basic understanding alone will help. I found a quick primer here: www.maxxmktg.com/mirror.html

Social media can ruin the best interview of all time. Twitter, FB, Instagram, etc. can cost you dearly. Puppies and kittens are okay - delete the rest. Also, while you are busy interviewing, someone might take a look at your vehicle. Make sure the interior looks clean and there are no bumper stickers, etc.

Much of the above applies to other areas of life.

Best of luck to you. If you take my suggestions to heart, I suspect you won't need any luck.

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Jess’s Answer

Good question. Please note that this answer is solely based on my opinion. I believe an overlooked quality is being very engaged during the interview. Give the interviewer your full attention, give eye contact, have your body language show that you are interested and engaged in what they are saying (especially when they are answering a question that you had for them for example.) This is a great way to show you care about the interviewer, their time, and the job/role.