Posted By Paul
It's amazing how with job hunting it seems to be nothing for weeks, and then all of a sudden everyone starts calling you back. I literally had companies that I submitted my resume to weeks ago call me back the same day as a company I submitted my resume to the day before. What does it all mean? Well I think the best conclusion to draw from all this is that job hunting has a certain amount of randomness involved. Some companies move very quickly, others move very slowly, and sometimes it all means that you have weeks with nobody calling you and then suddenly everyone wants to talk to you.
I have spoken with several companies since my last posting (phone interviews, and some in person interviews). Here are some of my impressions from the recent hunt:
1) You shouldn't consider it a personal failure if a phone screen doesn't go well. I've had interviews where about 10 minutes into the interview it was obvious that I wasn't what they wanted. It can be an depressing experience to go into a job interview with all of this optimism only to discover that they wanted a completely different skill set, but you have to not take it personally. If you are out there sending resumes and interviewing with various companies you'll have to expect that some of the companies you talk to won't be a good fit. Doesn't mean the good fit isn't out there, it just means this wasn't it.
2) Be prepared for a variety of interview styles. Throughout my career I've had a pretty wide range of interviews. I've had interviews where we spend the time discussing my background, skills, career goals, and how well they match the position. I've also had interviews where they introduce themselves and then immediately start quizzing me about skills listed on my resume. I've also had interviews where I've been asked questions like: "Estimate the amount of gasoline consumed in LA in a day." and "Someone wants you to design a parking garage, what factors would you take into account." (note that gasoline consumption and parking garages had NOTHING to do with the job, they just wanted to see me work through the problem). My only advice for folks going through the process are:
-Try to prepare. You can search the internet for common interview questions (either general ones or ones specific to your skill set). It's worth taking the time to look over a set of questions and study them in preparation for an interview. I keep a document that has a set of common interview questions that I've run into. Before every phone screen or in person interview I go over the list as a quick refresher.
-Try to relax. Interviewing is stressful, that's simply how it is. Try to relax as much as you can. Try to get into the mindset that you are trying to see if you like them just as much as they are trying to see if they like you. It really is true (though I admit it doesn't seem like it when you're on unemployment).
-If you blow an interview, don't be too hard on yourself. I had a phone interview where the interview was me being asked technical question after technical question for half an hour (I felt like I was on a quiz show or something). I did pretty well, I gave pretty good answers to all of their questions but some of the terms they asked me to define stumped me. They decided to not bring me in for an interview. I was disappointed, but I have to realize that this company probably wanted someone who could rattle off the answers to their questions from memory, and that wasn't me. Not to say that I'm bad at what I do, it just means that I wasn't what they wanted.
3) Try not to schedule too densely. If you are so lucky as to find yourself in a situation where companies are clamoring to talk to you, then my suggestions is to not schedule these interviews too closely. You never know which interview might start late or run long (I had a phone interview that was supposed to go from 2PM to 2:30, but they ran late so we didn't even get started until 2:20 and didn't finish until 3:00PM). Also, take into consideration the fact that interviewing can be really tiring. Getting dressed up, meeting new people, putting yourself on the line in the hope of being offered a position...it's stressful, so try to schedule some recharge time in there or else you might run yourself ragged.
So I guess that's all of the advice I can give for this part of the process. Best wishes to my fellow job hunters out there. Remember there are lots of jobs out there, and you only need one!
This blog contains some simple tips and advice from two regular guys. We're not accountants, financial advisors, or brokers, so follow, ignore, or discuss our ideas as you see fit.