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Simple Interview Advice

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 1:33 am
by Shawn Baker
I don?t have that much experience being on the interviewee, but working for a rapidly growing biotech company has put me in the position of being the interviewer many, many times. In the spirit of this forum, I thought I would share some very simple advice based on what I?ve experienced.

1) Know about the company you?re interviewing. Not just the job you?re trying to get, but what else the company is doing and what might be important to them (which helps you position your skills as an asset they need). It really doesn?t take that much work. Look through their webpage, look for company publications (which is easier if you know the names of scientists who work at the company) as well as a general web search. If you get to the interview and you don?t have a good feel for what the company does, you?re going to come off looking inexperienced or uninterested.
2) Show some enthusiasm. There?s almost no bigger turnoff then trying to interview someone who doesn?t show enthusiasm for the position or the company. It can be like pulling teeth after the technical questions are out of the way. The interviewers are definitely looking for someone who?s easy to work with. If it doesn?t look like you interact well with others, you?ll definitely go to the bottom of the list. One thing that helps is having some questions for the interviewer. Don?t ask obvious questions that could have been answered by a quick perusal of the company website, but something that shows you?ve been thinking about the technology or the business.
3) Don?t complain about anyone or anything. You can and should express your opinions (on appropriate topics), but keep it positive. For example, when comparing X to Y, focus on the positive of X instead of the negative of Y. Don?t complain about your former company or boss or about companies you?ve dealt with. If you do have negative things to say (the company you worked for went bankrupt, etc), focus less on what went wrong and more on how you would change things going forward or what you learned from the experience.

Those with a lot of experience will probably find these ?tips? pretty obvious, but it is astonishing how frequently people looking for a job get these things wrong. It just takes a little bit of effort and it makes a much stronger impression.

Good luck to those on the job hunt!


Simple Interview Advice

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 10:30 am
by Dave Jensen
Hi Shawn,

It's amazing how important these "simple" tips can be. Even those who pass along advice occasionally forget those basics.

I get so used to what I do that I will catch myself on occasion talking to people in companies about our services without knowing enough about their firm. My ignorance shows, and it is embarrasing. It is so easy to let one of your tips "slide" Shawn . . . thanks for the post,

Dave Jensen, Moderator