Interview questions

greasedscotsman Posts: 6,962
edited May 2018 in The cake stop
In what might turn out to be a series of threads...

Has anyone got any good interview questions, either that I could ask (as an employee) or that I should be prepared for.


  • joe2008
    joe2008 Posts: 1,531
    "Are you on Bike Radar?"
  • PhilipPirrip
    PhilipPirrip Posts: 616
    A sphincter says what?
  • Matthewfalle
    Matthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    depends what the job is.

    what are you going for?
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • greasedscotsman
    greasedscotsman Posts: 6,962
    depends what the job is.

    what are you going for?

    I'm a CAD/Revit Tech working in civil and structural engineering.
  • graeme_s-2
    graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    I've heard some surprisingly revealing answers to "How would your current team describe you?" - on a number of occasions I've seen this throw people off, and they've answered it with startling honesty, warts and all.
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 73,217
    Interviews for experienced hires are more around both sides feeling each other out to see if there is a fit, both culturally and for the role. It’s quite different to grad recruitment.

    Therefore, the most useful questions for you that really help illuminate the role and culture.

    So, rather than focus on questions, I’d set out with thinking about what you want from a role and from a culture. Then work out what you can legitimately find out in an interview, set those out, and make sure, by the end of the meeting, you have as many of those answered as possible.

    Obviously you have to frame those in a positive way, since you’re still selling yourself, but that’s what I would go after. Someone who has really interrogated both the role and the firm is someone who knows their sh!t and is taking it seriously.

    Take into account who is interviewing you. If it’s the big cheese, they may not know the details and technicalities of the role; they’ll instead know how it fits in the wider business. If it’s someone who’s stepping up into a new role and needs to backfill; they’ll know exactly what day-to-day looks like. Adjust your expectations for information accordingly.

    Things worth knowing:

    What’s the context around the role; why are the making the hire. Is it Has someone left (if so, why?), is it a new role? Is the business growing, contracting, etc etc. Is there a change of structure? Etc.

    What is the business up to: what’s been going on more broadly and how does the role fit into that. Is there a change agenda? A likely acquisition?

    Where does the role fit within the business (and therefore, how does this affect the role).

    What is the role? Responsibilities, reports, reportees, dotted lines, boards etc This includes anything that might have regulatory exposure. You might want to ask why they need those responsibilities looked after if they’re not obvious.

    What does a good appraisal sound like 12 months into the role? i.e. what ought to be achieved in a year’s time by this person.

    If the potential boss is interviewing you: how do they like to work and manage people.

    Progression opportunities.

    What is the company culture; working style, managing style, values, extra-curricular socialising, etc.

    That’s a useful starter for 10.

    Above all, really prepare properly for the interview.

    It's really obvious who prepares and who doesn't.
  • hopkinb
    hopkinb Posts: 7,129
    Are there any bike racks & showers?

    I asked that at the end of my 3rd interview recently. Turned into an interesting chat about the facilities in the building & the merits of cycling to work.

    I then moved on to the "serious" questions I had after doing my homework on the company.
  • laurentian
    laurentian Posts: 2,399
    If you're a CAD / Revit Tech, I would have thought that a very obvious question would be to ask what projects the company is planning on working on in the next "X" years. If you already know these, ask how long they invisage the projects lasting for and if you already know that, or when they give you the answer, ask them what they are bidding for or what they plan to do when those projects finish.

    I would have thought that the questions you should ask would need to relate to the company, its products and ambitions.

    What about asking what your prospects are should you prove to be proficient and valuable on the project you start in? how do you progress thereafter, what are the opportunities to move "up the ladder".

    The interview exists to evaluate you as an investment for the company. Your questions (and answers) should demonstrate your value at present and, given the right environment, what it could be in 3, 4 or 5 years time.

    Best of luck.
    Wilier Izoard XP
  • Jez mon
    Jez mon Posts: 3,809
    depends what the job is.

    what are you going for?

    I'm a CAD/Revit Tech working in civil and structural engineering.

    In the mechanical engineering world, there's a push to get design engineers to do the FE/CFD analysis, which is being helped/reinforced by companies attaching simulation tools with their CAD software.

    Perhaps a question that asks how the interviewer sees the role developing with time given software developments etc...
    You live and learn. At any rate, you live
  • robert88
    robert88 Posts: 2,696
    A friend was recently job-hunting for a better post. They had plenty of interviews for which they were beautifully prepared, all fired up and never got a job offer. Oh sod it, they thought, this is a waste of time and pretty much packed it in. Weeks later the agency phoned with another vacancy. They attended the interview with a relaxed, couldn't-care-less attitude and got offered the job. They didn't take it - on hearing they were leaving their existing employer begged them to stay and gave them more responsibility :P

    Also it is important to like the interviewer - you could end up working for them :shock:
  • capt_slog
    capt_slog Posts: 3,952
    All good points above from Rick ^^^

    The one I often asked as a youngster was the dress code if it's not obvious for the role. I was usually looking lab jobs, and this meant it usually didn't matter, but one place I looked at wanted shirt and tie under the lab coat! Labs can be uncomfortable enough without that, put me right off.

    I recall my first ever job interview, which was for a computer operator. This was in 1977 when a computer filled the room and was fed with punched cards and rolls of magnetic tape. I asked what did they expect me to wear? The head of the section was an old boy, the sort who calls a spade a spade,

    "I don't care what you wear lad, as long as you're not walking around with your tassle hanging out!" :lol:

    The older I get, the better I was.

  • greasedscotsman
    greasedscotsman Posts: 6,962
    hopkinb wrote:
    Are there any bike racks & showers?

    I was definately going to try and get something like this in as I know the guy interviewing me is into cycling.
  • greasedscotsman
    greasedscotsman Posts: 6,962
    Hold on, what if he's on here. "Ahh, thread about interview questions, might be able to pick up a few good questions..."
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674
    "Are you aware of my rank prejudice against slippery Caledonians?"
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 41,130
    Chuck in a few technical questions about their standards and procedures to demonstrate your own knowledge rather than to necessarily get the answer.

    Are you going to one of the big consultancies? If so, my experience was they have a set of standardised questions they have to ask. I can't recall many of them as my eyes glaze over when I get asked generic questions like that but the usual one is 'can you provide details of a particular challenge you have encountered on a project and how you overcame it'.

    It's an interesting field to be in with the upsurge in BIM modelling, something I wish I'd got more involved in but not generally used on the projects I get involved with.
  • lostboysaint
    lostboysaint Posts: 4,250
    depends what the job is.

    what are you going for?

    I'm a CAD/Revit Tech working in civil and structural engineering.

    The most obvious is how are they going to ensure that you continue to be trained/developed on the latest BIM software (Revit or other) so that your skills continue to improve with the software. If you were interviewing I'd be suggesting how we're going to continually develop you.

    Where are you based and are you looking? I know some very good practices that are crying out for decent staff. PM me if you like.
    Trail fun - Transition Bandit
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  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 41,130
    Based on the information in this thread I would say in answer to your question on clothing to go for suit and tie as there are still quite a lot of conservative types interviewing in this industry.
  • Matthewfalle
    Matthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    What you incoming business stream like?

    Oh, lovely. Now prove it.

    MF took a role years ago when they said they had she'd like ads of new business lined up.

    3 weeks into the role he found out they had no new business in the pipeline, hadn't had any for years and the BD guy couldn't be bothered to go hunting for more. Well, any in fact.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • Matthewfalle
    Matthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    What's their development plans for you?

    What's their investment stream?

    What can you do for them?
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,039
    What coffee machine does the office have?
    Should tell you all you need to know. :wink:
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • drlodge
    drlodge Posts: 4,826
    Don't think of it as an interview, its a business discussion and a two way conversation.

    The employer has the problem and hopefully you are the solution. A good question to ask them, ideally early on to give time to explore, is "what are your top 3 challenges?". Then you can show how you are the best solution to their problems...
    WyndyMilla Massive Attack | Rourke 953 | Condor Italia 531 Pro | Boardman CX Pro | DT Swiss RR440 Tubeless Wheels
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  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 14,882
    Be prepared to read the mood of the interviewer. Some like to hear how much you like that firm and want to work there (notwithstanding that from the outside looking in, its indistinguishable from a multitude of others), where you want to be in 5 years, what your weaknesses are and all that clichéd nonsense.

    But the most revealing questions I find are those relating to why you want to leave your current job.

    Anyone who slags off their current employer or boss could be a problem. Except in exceptional circumstances (e.g. prospective employer already knows your current boss and left for similar reasons). But you always need to be diplomatic.

    Also anyone who sounds a bit whingy or high maintenance about how much attention they are getting, or what type of work they are willing to do. The answer is whatever your employer needs you to do.

    Also, anyone who appears to want your job the second they've passed the probationary period probably isn't sticking around.

    Salary expectations are also a clue to this. You have to be both vague and realistic. The job comes first, then worry about salary, more or less. "Its a trap" as they say. Answering too directly might suggest that its a bit too important to you. For example, we get the odd Scot moving back up from London for ca. £30k training positions. They say things like, "Well I'm on about £45k now plus hypothetical bonus and I'm expecting a pay rise soon because I took a pay cut to move into the position already and I'm awesome.... "

    To which I think - stay where you are and get the pay rise then, or bugger off back to whatever you were doing before.
  • ballysmate
    ballysmate Posts: 15,921
    Is the interview under caution? :shock:
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    Have just gone through a month or so of doing interviews and drlodge has it right when he says think of it as a business discussion and a two way conversation. The ones that went the best in my situation were the ones that became a conversation and went on well beyond the anticipated 30-45 minutes. In that time you'd hope to cover a lot of ground so by the end the questions question is often a moot point, you've covered everything.

    That said asking a couple of questions that display a proper understanding of the way they work and which ideally highlight that you yourself know and employ good working practices, is a handy way to remind the interviewer that you do know what you're talking about, and being slipped in at the end makes it more likely to stick.

    Why did the previous incumbent leave? is a good one, one that can expose a lot of infighting in some cases, or the more generic what's the working atmosphere like in day to day operations? How long has your interviewer been there?

    And prepare upfront good examples of how brilliant you are, when called upon to to demonstrate your abilities.
  • ben@31
    ben@31 Posts: 2,327
    What do they think about employee morale? What are the terms and conditions for the employees and what is expected of you ?

    Am I expected to put up with treatment that you wouldn't give to a dangerous criminal in a Soviet gulag or Victorian work house? For example, no more than a 30 seconds for a toilet break per month and you can never leave your desk, even for lunch?
    My manager still hasn't grasped the concept that if Ive worked efficiently, can manage my time and got my job done, it doesn't mean I've always something to do when he insists Im sat at a desk 24/7 and actually having morale can be a good thing.

    Loyalty is a two way thing.
    "The Prince of Wales is now the King of France" - Calton Kirby