08-08-12 09:39 AM
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  1. pantlesspenguin's Avatar
    I'm applying for a position within my current company. In the 7 years I've worked here, I've tried for promotions in various departments at least a half dozen times with absolutely no success. I chalk it up to the situational interviews they give at this company.

    I'm in my lower 30s. I have a Master's degree in Organizational Development. I have experience doing multiple tasks for this company that weren't part of my job description, such as developing training materials for my position, mentoring new hires, cross-training people from various departments, liaisoning for a group of people working from home, etc. I was given a SLIGHT promotion in that I was given one of our platinum client's accounts to somewhat oversee, but that didn't really amount to much more work for me, and hardly any more pay. In college I co-instructed a seminar for incoming freshmen for two years. I've also been an officer in several volunteer organizations. Apparently, though, all that doesn't matter because I don't give a sufficient enough answer to questions such as "Name a time when you displayed diplomacy and tact in a work setting."

    Recently, I left this company to pursue an opportunity with a non-profit. They offered me a director position, overseeing their human services programs. I quickly realized that I had climbed aboard a sinking ship (something they had conveniently skipped mentioning in my interview). After 3 months serving at that organization, my old (and now current) supervisor welcomed me back with open arms, and I was able to slide right back in like I never left.

    Two questions:

    1) How the heck can I master the situational interview??? What is it they want to hear???

    2) Since the department I am applying with doesn't know the details as to my departure for 3 months, how can I lay that out in my resume without it looking too odd?

    I realize a lot of members here are professionals, and I very much welcome your advice!!
    06-01-12 03:59 PM
  2. pantlesspenguin's Avatar
    Oh btw, the new position would have me developing, implementing, and supporting my company's web/video conferencing platform. It happens to be compatible with the Playbook, and I don't see why it wouldn't be supported by BB10 .
    06-01-12 08:10 PM
  3. kbz1960's Avatar
    Good luck and hope you get some good answers. At least they didn't ask if you were a color what color would you be and why. Sometimes they ask the dumbest questions profiling you.
    pantlesspenguin likes this.
    06-01-12 08:42 PM
  4. BigBadWulf's Avatar
    I'd be midnight blue because it's my favorite color, but they'd probably read too much into it. That would force me to hesitate, and give a color I'd think they prefer. Moments later after blurting out fuchsia, not wanting to appear it wasn't my first answer, I'd find myself struggling with why, also pondering the possible assumptions based on the answer given. Finally, I'd change to mocha, as it reminds me of both coffee and chocolate, two of my biggest passions.

    Moral of the story:
    Stay calm, be yourself, and speak confidently/passionately during the interview process. Don't second guess your responses, and when the right job comes along, pray they'll recognize you fit it well.

    Good luck PP, I'm sure you'll do great!
    kbz1960 and highjakker like this.
    06-01-12 11:01 PM
  5. middbrew's Avatar
    If you know the questions before hand you should write out your answers before hand and practice them in the mirror until you are very familiar with what you are going to say. If you don't know the questions after interviewing with them previously you should have an idea of the type questions asked. There are several websites that have lists of questions that are commonly asked in the interview process that you can write answers to and practice as well.

    As BBW said, be yourself, prepared and confident in your responses.
    pantlesspenguin likes this.
    06-02-12 07:51 PM
  6. BigBadWulf's Avatar
    I would have to disagree with my beer drinking bud (cheers BTW, just got home from Maifest). If you aren't prepared to interview at this point, you aren't prepared for the job. Probably not the right approach for everyone, but that's my philosophy, I'm sticking with it.
    06-02-12 11:17 PM
  7. middbrew's Avatar
    Manifest sounds fun, but I don't make the 5 hour drive to Chicago much. However, I have been to San Francisco, CA, Phoenix, AZ, and Jacksonville, FA in the last two weeks.

    I look at the interview process and the actual job as two different types of situations. The interview is a sprint race where as the job is a marathon. You may know how to do the job down to a T, but the interview process isn't always about what you know, but how you verbalize your knowledge, skills, and present yourself. It can be very fast paced and different places are looking for different types of things in an interview for the same job you might preform.
    06-03-12 07:39 AM
  8. BigBadWulf's Avatar

    I totally agree they're two completely different animals, and what works for me doesn't necessarily work for anyone else. I don't want to appear practiced, but if you aren't comfortable interviewing, practice is definitely a great idea.
    06-03-12 08:33 AM
  9. pantlesspenguin's Avatar
    The problem is that my company's interview process doesn't even seem geared toward the actual job! I typically go over the job listing and prepare talking points for each bullet in the listing and how I am qualified to do that task. But they never ask questions pertaining to those! So then at the end of the interview I'm scrambling to remember those talking points.

    Here's an example. A couple years ago I applied to be a trainer. When I was doing my master's, I worked with the training director on a project. During the interview for the position, I was prepared to talk about that experience, my classroom teaching experience, the fact that I created training materials for my department, my experience giving professional presentations in school, and my experience mentoring new-hires. Instead they asked me a ton of stupid situational questions. It was a two-round interview process. The first round was the interview, the second round was a trial presentation. I didn't make it go the second round. However, a coworker did make it to the second round. She has a GED, no teaching experience, and has never given a presentation in her life. She even asked ME for advice and help with her presentation!!! It's very frustrating. Especially since my company paid about $15,000 toward my degree!!
    06-03-12 03:45 PM
  10. kbz1960's Avatar
    Wow pantless that's messed up. Does she have big boobs or something?
    06-03-12 03:50 PM
  11. pantlesspenguin's Avatar
    Wow pantless that's messed up. Does she have big boobs or something?
    Not bigger than mine!
    kbz1960 likes this.
    06-03-12 04:54 PM
  12. middbrew's Avatar
    Situational questions are very common in the interview process. They think this is a good way to see how you would respond to a real situation on the job. As I said,there are many websites that have lists of these types of questions. Look them up and prepare for them and you will be able to go farther in the process.
    pantlesspenguin likes this.
    06-03-12 09:29 PM
  13. pantlesspenguin's Avatar
    Situational questions are very common in the interview process. They think this is a good way to see how you would respond to a real situation on the job. As I said,there are many websites that have lists of these types of questions. Look them up and prepare for them and you will be able to go farther in the process.
    OK, I've started doing some Googling. I came across this helpful site: Situational Interview Questions

    I'm going through each one to see how I would answer, and compare that to how the author thinks it should be answered. One of my biggest obsticles I've had with situational interview questions is that for the past 7 years I've been in a relatively low-stress position. I'm not in charge of anyone. I'm not part of any collaboration teams where conflict might arise. My boss happens to be one of the greatest people I know and we get along great. I can't think of a single time we've butted heads in the 7 years we worked together. My position consists of a great deal of focus, and if I lose focus and make a mistake I have no one to blame but myself. I never even try to blame others or blame my mistake on some outside circumstance. So, when situational interview questions come up asking how I've diffused certain situations or how I handle disagreements with my boss, I'm honestly at a loss to say because I've not been put in those types of situations!

    HOWEVER, I mentioned in my first post about how I was gone for about 3 months to pursue a new experience at a different organization. There, I saw some horrific examples of management, and I did heads with our COO quite a bit. My intuition told me to leave, and my intuition turned out to be right because 3 months after I left, my position there had been cut due to lack of funding. The budget cut would've happened regardless if I was still in that position or not. I now have several good examples of how I handle stressful situations, and how I stood my ground to my superiors. However, I ultimately left and I don't want that to come across as that I couldn't handle conflict, when I left for much more legit reasons (mostly due to ethical reasons). How can I handle this during the interview?
    06-04-12 01:54 PM
  14. sleepngbear's Avatar
    A good interviewer will be looking for a number of things with situational questions. First and most obvious is how you were able to handle or react to a certain situation. How you respond will say something about your experience and how you leverage that experience in day-to-day function. They will also look not only at what you did, but how in the interview itself you're able to articulate how you perceived the situation evolving and your thought processes in resolving it.

    They will also look at your perspective on a situation. I.e., are you looking at a problem at face-value when considering possible solutions, or are you looking at it from a management perspective where there may be other ramifications besides the immediate outcome to take into consideration. You want to try to demonstrate that you were thinking of all the angles, approaches and outcomes before deciding on a course of action.

    The challenges with these types of interviews are tying your past experiences to the prospective job requirements and responsibilities while answering clearly, directly and concisely, all the while demonstrating that you can calmly think out solutions to problems with a personality and style that fit well with the organization's culture.

    These things are very difficult to prepare for, because you just never know what kind of 'situations' they're going to throw at you. I was in a similar situation a few years back, interviewing at the company I was already with for 3+ years for a manager position. I was already a project manager, so I figured I had a decent shot at it. One of the interviewers was the hiring manager, a VP, and he pulled something out of who knows where that caught me completely off guard, to the point that I knew as soon as he asked the question I was going to blow it. I gave it my best shot, but I didn't get the position, and I strongly suspect my answer to that situational question burned me. And at this moment I cannot for the life of me remember what it was.

    So what I do before an interview is jot down past experiences that I think will be relatable to the position I am applying for. I won't use those notes in the interview itself (although I will bring them along anyway), but I use that process to re-familiarize myself with relevant experiences that might likely be brought up. I will also turn it around and go in with a number of questions I've prepared before hand that I think are relevant the position, and I'll make sure that they can be answered with my specific experiences. The trick to that is to do it without making the reference too obvious. But that shows that you 1, already know something about the job, and 2, are willing to take the initiative to find out more before you even get it.

    One of the most helpful tips I've gotten is to make sure you match your demeanor with that of the interviewer. Of course you always want to maintain an air of professionalism; but that can be tweaked to be more serious or more casual in your answers and questions, depending on the style and presence of the interviewer. No matter what, though, unless you know you're a complete a-hole, always be yourself and not somebody you think they want you to be. Like Han Solo said, fly casual, but don't look like your trying to fly casual.

    I've done a lot of interviewing the last couple of years; if I can think of anything else, I'll be back with more cures for your insomnia.

    Meanwhile, best of luck to you.
    pantlesspenguin likes this.
    06-04-12 03:03 PM
  15. pantlesspenguin's Avatar
    My interview is Monday at 9:30!!! I'm going to be pouring over situational interview tip sites and y'alls advice. Wish me luck!!
    06-08-12 04:17 PM
  16. highjakker's Avatar
    get your promotion the old fashioned way! (i have an almost new pair of knee pads you can borrow!)
    Chrisy likes this.
    06-08-12 04:38 PM
  17. kbz1960's Avatar
    Good luck penguin just don't go pantless
    pantlesspenguin likes this.
    06-08-12 08:57 PM
  18. BigBadWulf's Avatar
    Without pics it's impossible to tell. Pantless could work fur or against.

    You'll do great PP!

    Or you're fired
    Chrisy likes this.
    06-08-12 10:16 PM
  19. pantlesspenguin's Avatar
    Lol the woman I'm interviewing with is very nice and friendly...but not THAT friendly!
    06-09-12 07:59 AM
  20. pantlesspenguin's Avatar
    Argh yet another interview that made me feel stupid. There's another part of the interview process, though: A project. I should have the assignment by the end of the day today. I'm sure I can rock that part!
    06-11-12 11:33 AM
  21. sleepngbear's Avatar
    Argh yet another interview that made me feel stupid. There's another part of the interview process, though: A project. I should have the assignment by the end of the day today. I'm sure I can rock that part!
    I can't say I've ever had to do a project as part of the interview process! But that has to be a good sign -- they must have liked what you had to say, now they just want to make sure you can back it up. Don't feel stupid -- nobody ever walked into a new job knowing everything about it. Best of luck!
    pantlesspenguin likes this.
    06-11-12 11:54 AM
  22. kbz1960's Avatar
    Interviewing does bite. Good luck with the rest.
    06-11-12 07:21 PM
  23. BigBadWulf's Avatar
    I bite, interviewing sux.

    kbz1960 likes this.
    06-11-12 11:09 PM
  24. pkcable's Avatar
    So didja get it???????
    06-12-12 09:20 AM
  25. Chrisy's Avatar
    Here it is, A!
    06-12-12 12:00 PM
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