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Interview help

Discussion in 'Members' Lounge' started by GSRCRXsi, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. GSRCRXsi

    GSRCRXsi Super Moderator Moderator VIP

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    so i got my first interview and i REALLY want to nail it. but i know im bad at interviews. when i had my interview at Best Buy i was really nervous, and i stumbled on a few questions. but i still ended up getting the job (but at the same time, its only best buy, not an engineering job). im nervous about bombing the interview, but excited that i have one. it was getting very discouraging putting all those resumes out and no word back. i applied for this job like 3-4 months ago.

    so the job i am interviewing for is Satellite Specialist at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. i would be directly working for Honeywell. here is the job description in case you are curious:

    "Perform as an on-line engineer for the Earth Observing System Flight
    Operations Team, supporting the Terra, Aqua, and Aura missions at the
    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Implement the daily science and
    operations plans required to collect and deliver mission science and
    engineering data. Perform any real-time planning or re-planning
    necessary to mitigate mission or data risks incurred by flight-segment
    or ground-segment anomalies. Verify flight system configuration and
    monitor and evaluate flight system and component state-of-health
    during real-time spacecraft contacts. Compile data sets for long-term
    analyses of observatory performance. Support the development,
    validation, and testing of products and procedures used to configure
    and operate the EOS flight and ground systems."

    my interview is next monday. i know the basic stuff, look nice, show up on time, be personable, etc. but im really nervous about the questions they will ask. ive never had a real interview before. i do have a BS in Aerospace Engineering, i graduated in Dec 08. i'm also a little worried about my GPA. it was pretty bad at about a 2.4. i have some probs with a couple higher level calc classes and i let college life get the best of me early on. but my last couple years i really worked hard and my semester GPA was 3.0+ for my last 2 years. im not sure what i would/should say if they ask about my GPA and why it was low.

    does anyone have any suggestions for me? anyone else ever interviewed for a job like this? i know Calesta is working at Lockheed now, and i'd def like some input from you, Mike. but i value anyone's input. what kind of questions should i expect?

    this is an entry level position, so my lack of experience shouldnt hurt me too much, at least i hope. but i am very interested in learning all i can, i have a basic understanding of orbital mechanics, and i'm very interested in all things space. i also like to think i have a good work ethic and that im a productive worker. i know a lot about computers both from personal experience/learning and from learning while working for Geek Squad.

    if anyone wants to take a look at my resume so you can see what the interviewer has seen ill be happy to post it up. the interviewer seemed very eager to get me in there for an interview and meet me, which is promising i think, but i dont want to draw any conclusions from it.

    any help is appreciated!
     

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    Last edited: Nov 12, 2009
  2. 99sidude

    99sidude Moderator Moderator VIP

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    I was interviewing for engineering positions about a year ago. In all of my interviews they focused more on my experiences than my grades. They will ask situational questions like "give me an example of a time you were at odds with a co worker. How did you handle it?". They also will try to gauge you passion or desire for the industry. Do lots of research and be able to explain to them why you want to work for them. They will try to ask questions to see how well your critical thinking skills are. Don't be afraid to take a second to answer something. Truthfully saying that you don't know something is better than spitting out a bullshit answer they will see strait through.

    Lastly, good eye contact, good posture, and firm hand shakes are important. You want to give the impression that you will fit in their culture.
     
  3. 99sidude

    99sidude Moderator Moderator VIP

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    Almost forgot: at every interview I was asked "what makes you uniquely qualified for the job". Also, "Tell me about yourself".

    Be confident, you need to go into that interview knowing you are the best person for the job.

    Good luck!
     
  4. 99sidude

    99sidude Moderator Moderator VIP

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    When I was asked about low grades in my calc classes, I told them that early on in college I was still developing my study habits and got distracted by the college environment. If you can show them that you improved as time passed it will look good.
     
  5. 95b16coupe

    95b16coupe New Member

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    don't discuss GPA. it's irrelevant. even if they ask, spin it. say something like, "it's not indicative of my work abilities. i was doing x,y, and z at the same time and not able to focus 100% of my abilities to my studies."

    but again, don't even bring it up.

    know everything about the company and the job you are applying for.

    have 3-4 really good questions about the job. something like, "what is the career path for this position" and "do you advocate ongoing education".

    take several copies of your resume. on good paper. don't change it from the one you applied with. they will think you are trying to fluff it up.

    dress 1 step up from office attire. ie, if they are casual, dress business casual.

    practice your answers (outloud and in front of a mirror) to the typical questions.

    why should we hire you, why did you apply, out of all the candidate why are you the best.

    stay away from cliches like, 'i'm a hard worker and dedicated to my job'. honestly, nobody is going to say they are a shitty employee.

    spin any question into a positive. if they ask, "what is your biggest fault" spin it and say something like "my work life balance, sometimes i work too much and don't have personal time to unwind".

    finally, if you can find someone, have them interview you for practice. wear a nice shirt etc and have a dress rehearsal.

    send a thank you email when you get home.

    oh, and be super nice to the receptionists and assistants.
     
  6. 95b16coupe

    95b16coupe New Member

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    oh, and always remember, you are interviewing them too. you don't have to take the job. make sure it's right for you. you don't want to get hired for something you dont' want. i know it's tough to find a job right now, but it's better to keep looking than to quit in 6 months.

    and don't discuss pay or time off. it looks bad. talk about that after you get the job offer.
     
  7. 99sidude

    99sidude Moderator Moderator VIP

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    Give yourself PLENTY of time to get there. For my interview at Honda, my gps died and I got lost. 2 miles and 10 minutes to the interview start I got pulled over for driving 22 over. Explained my story and thank God got let off. I almost screwed myself.
     
  8. GSRCRXsi

    GSRCRXsi Super Moderator Moderator VIP

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    bha, i hate questions like that, those are the ones that kill me. i feel like i dont know what would make me unique, because i dont know the other candidates lol. but ill have to think about what would make me unique.

    what kind of answers would you look for to "tell me about yourself". like personally? or about my work ethic? or something else? my hobbies?
     
  9. 95b16coupe

    95b16coupe New Member

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    talk about good stuff. tell them you read and do community service. you like to tinker with stuff and have been doing stuff like this job for a hobby for years.
     
  10. BigJ

    BigJ I'm just about that action Boss. VIP

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    Good stuff in this thread.



    turn your negatives into positives.




    A weakness of mine is my inability to settle for less than perfect. It can be a roadblock at times for blah blah.


    Also it helps to give a way how you overcome your weaknesses.


    A weakness of mine is that I expect a solid contribution from teammates of mine because of my high expectations and inclusiveness. This can put me at odds over small stuff, but can be overcome with camaraderie.

    Try and stay clear and succinct.
     
  11. |Chaz|

    |Chaz| Well-Known Member VIP

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    Definitely some good suggestions in this thread, good luck with your interview OP :thumbsup:
     
  12. Drake

    Drake Well-Known Member VIP

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    I'll second the suggestion to bring multipule copies of your resume. It shows you plan for changing situations. In case another person comes in to watch or listen. You can pause and give them a copy. Also the asking questions of them is a great thing as well. It sends the message that you have options and are willing to go else where.

    I agree one hundred percent with everything 95b16 said. Its all spot on. I was grateful when I was in college to have a class that was nothing but resume work shops and mock interviews. And if you can make sure your resume is one page and has information that is relivent to this particular job.
     
  13. GSRCRXsi

    GSRCRXsi Super Moderator Moderator VIP

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    good suggestions, i did work 20-30hrs my whole college carreer. so i can use that. but i wont say anything if they dont.

    why several copies of my resume? they already have it.

    and yeah thanks for the suggestions

    yea im going to do everything in my power to be there on time. its about a 45 min drive from my house. getting directions early +leaving early.

    still open to more suggestions :) keep it coming
     
  14. GSRCRXsi

    GSRCRXsi Super Moderator Moderator VIP

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    yea his suggestions are good. no way i can make my resume 1 page though. its 1.5-2.
     
  15. phunky.buddha

    phunky.buddha Admin with a big stick Admin VIP

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    That's a good way to do it. When asked, be honest about why you fell on grades, then give evidence of how you permanently fixed the problem.

    Disagree. Yes, don't bring it up- but they will. Be prepared to answer. 2.4 is quite low so they WILL ask- trust me- mine wasn't too hot either. GPA is 100% relevant. I wouldn't answer with "it's not indicative of my work abilities" because that's slightly confrontational. Just own up to it, then tell them how you fixed the problem.

    All very very good advice.

    Yup and yup. Asking these hard questions of the interviewer also leaves a good impression. It tells them that you're really thinking of what you're getting yourself into, shows that you're evaluating them and aren't just hungry for a job- and if it's a difficult question- it will really make the interviewer take notice and know that your gears are turning in the right direction.

    Pay and compensation are typically NEVER discussed in a first interview. Sometimes an interviewer will bring it up (I had 1 or 2 in college that did), but it's usually held for human resources to discuss with you. The typical situation is that the interviewer won't even know what the pay is supposed to be- that way they can be more impartial during the interview session.

    By the way, I'm now one of the college recruiting team leads for Lockheed corporate. Give me a buzz- hopefully you still have my phone number. ;)
     
  16. 95b16coupe

    95b16coupe New Member

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    for several reasons. 1) you might interview with people who dont have a copy. 2) they will want to see if you have changed anything. 3) its just the right thing to do. it's better to be prepared. of my last 5 interviews, i handed out my resume at 4 of them.

    your GPA shouldn't be on your resume unless it's a 3.5 or better AND you graduated within the last 2 years. period. the fact of the matter is that you graduated.

    you are being interviewed because they think you can do the job. 99% of the reason you are there is to see what kind of person you are and make sure you aren't a douche bag.

    practice your answers, be presentable and personable, take your time to answer the questions. avoid the umms and uhhhs.

    take a note pad with a pen to take notes on your interviews.


    and last, if your resume is 2 pages long and are just graduating college, it's too long. i've been working for 10 years and my resume is limited to 1 page. it should be about tasks and accomplishments, no extra fluff about yourself. compact everything. feel free to email it over and i'll take a look at it. pm for details.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2009
  17. GSRCRXsi

    GSRCRXsi Super Moderator Moderator VIP

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    i graduated a year ago. the bulk of my resume is my skills, education, and work history. i'll post up the resume i sent them so you guys can look at it.
     

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  18. 95b16coupe

    95b16coupe New Member

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    even if you graduated a year ago, it shouldnt' be on your resume unless it is 3.5 or above. just put your graduation year on your resume and leave it at that. should be something like this

    A) name and contact info

    B) Education
    1) graduation and degree
    2) associated skills

    C) Applicable work history


    short and sweet. employers spend less than 30 seconds reading resumes. dont' clutter it up with irrelevant items and an "about me" section. this isn't a blog, it's a formal hiring process.
     
  19. GSRCRXsi

    GSRCRXsi Super Moderator Moderator VIP

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    i added my resume, the one they have. ive only changed my address, phone number and email on it. my GPA is not on it. i do have a little hobbies section at the end, but its not what makes it go onto the second page, when i take copies with me the only thing that will be different is the address on it, since i moved right after i sent him the resume.

    i have since removed the hobbies section, but i guess i wont remove it when i take extra copies so it stays the same.

    my brother, who hires engineers at Halliburton, helped me write the resume. he said it was pretty solid. but also that the resume only gets you in the door. the interview gets you the job, and thats what i'm trying to focus on.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2009
  20. 95b16coupe

    95b16coupe New Member

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    1) remove objective. this should be stated in a formal cover letter. also, they know your objective. it's to get a job where you are submitting your resume to.

    2) remove ALL of your high school stuff. it's not applicable. (employers dont' give a shit about your sat score. lol)

    3) remove months. you only need to list years. it stretches it out, clutters info and makes it look like you bounced around a lot.

    4) remove the state you worked in. irrelevant and clutters resume.

    5) move education to the top

    6) remove pizza hut. it's pretty irrelevant

    most importantly- add some numbers. get rid of the word "responsibilities". show what you accomplished, not what your job was. if you say "sold 6000 computers. 120% above target" they automatically see that your job was to sell computers, plus they see that you beat goals.
     

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