RE: First time interviewer!

Subject: RE: First time interviewer!
From: "Fiona Hurley" <fiona -dot- hurley -at- gtnet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2002 16:01:10 +0100

> Rebecca Stevenson wrote:
> Hm. I actually like the strengths/weaknesses question, both as an
> interviewer and interviewee. If answered honestly, I think it can
> be very useful in getting an idea of people's working styles and
> personal goals.

My problem with the "weaknesses" question is that you're not really expected
to answer it honestly, you're expected to "spin" the answer so that your
"weakness" is actually a strength (e.g. "I'm a perfectionist"). But maybe
that's a cynical interpretation. My standard answer to "what are your
weaknesses" is "caffeine and chocolate".

OTOH, a good question is "what did you find most difficult in your previous
job [or college course/project]?" This is much less easy to give a standard
answer to, and provides some perspective on the candidates style of working.
You can learn a lot from both (a) what exactly they find difficult and (b)
how they handle the difficulty.

If the interviewee is young and inexperienced, it is possible that they may
be a little nervous and intimidated. Some interviewers will discount a
candidate who comes across as shy and nervous, believing that they will be
this way on the job and it will interfere with working with others. This is
not necessarily the case, an interview situation can be unnerving in a way
that a normal work situation is not. If the interviewee is so timid that
they can barely say a word, this is a problem. But if they are just a little
sweaty-handed and stutter once or twice, this can just be interview nerves.
In other words, don't discount someone at the beginning of an interview,
allow them a chance to prove themselves, and remember that confidence is no
proof of ability.
The plus side is that people who are a little shy tend to be perfectionists,
and once they gain confidence and overcome the shyness they can be very good


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RE: First time interviewer!: From: Stevenson, Rebecca

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