So, you’ve made it past the Applicant Tracking System and/or a HR Professional and you’ve landed a first-round interview with the hiring manager. Way to go!
Now, time to crush the interview.
Some jobs will require you to undergo a technical interview and a fit interview. Sometimes they’re done on the same day or phone call, sometimes they are two separate visits.
A technical interview may require you to give a scientific presentation so the interviewer may scrutinize your scientific communication skills; or, for some highly technical roles, take an exam; or, for some management consulting roles, complete practice case questions.
This blog is for fit interviews.
The fit interview is to assess your work style, experience and skill level and to determine whether you would be a good fit within the team/company/organization.
Here are 5 examples of questions for which you should prepare answers ahead of time. Write/type them out and practice verbalizing with a friend or colleague who you trust to give you support and honest feedback.
In what kind of work environment do you excel? In what kind of work environment do you find yourself struggling?
Tell me about a time when you had to step out of your comfort zone to overcome a challenge.
Tell me about a time when you worked with a team to meet a goal.
Tell me about a time when you failed? What was the cause? How did you handle that? What did you learn?
Where do you see your career heading?
Think about answers to this question for the next 5 years and 10 years. Keep in mind that this is your answer, not anybody else’s. If you aren’t interested in moving up the ladder, or managing teams, don’t say so just because you think that’s what somebody wants to hear. On the other hand, if you do have expectations for promotions every couple of years, laying these out for your manager is very important to gain clarity and to ensure you’re both on the same page.
Tip: If your fit interview is over the phone, there’s nothing wrong with having your practiced answers in front of you while you talk, just don’t sound robotic! If it is in-person, print them out and refresh your memory while on the plane/train or in the parking lot before you go into the interview.
Remember - interviews are a two way street! You should have your own questions prepared to ask them; questions which give you an idea of what it’s like working with them. Bring your questions/notes to the interview, this will show you’re prepared :)