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Thread: I got a job interview at an Engineering (Water/Environment) firm

  1. #1

    I got a job interview at an Engineering (Water/Environment) firm

    Them: Hello old professor at UC Davis, please pass this opportunity along to your students! (Forwarded to me.)

    Me: Hi! I am interested.

    Them: Hi Dash_rendar, unfortunately we were looking for a Masters degree, but send your resume anyway.

    Me: Here you go.

    ***1 month later***

    Them: Hi Dash_rendar, thanks for your interest. We'd like to invite you to an interview on Friday. Let us know!

    ...

    First real interview ever. Anybody have anything to say?

  2. #2
    Sure. Watch out for the old trick whereby long pauses are introduced in order to give ample opportunity for stupid revelations to be blurted.

    "So, Dash_rendar, tell me about yourself."

    Me? Oh, yeah, you know, I'm ...

  3. #3
    Likes Kittens. Eats Fluffies
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    Don't stop, get it get it

  4. #4
    General interview pointers, in no particular order:


    • Be an active participant. Try to avoid a mechanical response to their questions and give a little more. Ask questions you have. From what I know, interviewers are looking to see what kind of person you are.
    • Have a positive attitude. Being nervous is understandable, so try not to sweat more than you have to.
    • I'm uncertain what kind of questions specific to your position you're applying for they'll ask, and my guess will be that they're less interested in the answer and more interested in how you came up with the answer.
    • Eye contact, firm handshake, blah blah blah. I never was a fan of that stuff, and it's probably still advisable to keep in mind.
    • Find out what the expected dress code is. A lot of the places I applied for actually found it too formal if you dressed in a suit and tie, though I presume that might not be the case for you.
    • Be prepared to give your expected salary/pay. This one often threw me off, and it's not a question I liked to answer.


    Good luck!
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  5. #5
    Don't end the interview by going to the fire exit.

  6. #6
    RAGNA ANGARY
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    Good luck.

  7. #7
    Tell them that working as a Water / Environmental Engineer has been been your ambition since watching 'Captain Planet' as a young boy. Then prove it by singing the Captain Planet theme song.

    Now try not to think about any of that during your interview, *****.

    Errr. I mean good luck.

  8. #8

    "Has it won yet?"

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    Good luck

    So what do environmental engineers actually do? I just assume they write reports everyday, all day.
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  9. #9
    (Still) On 13 week vacation
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    Wear a tuxedo.
    >>untie shoes

  10. #10
    Zulenglashernbracker
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    I've had two engineering interviews, both behavioral. Make up some bull**** stories about engineering projects you've never done/exaggerated projects you've done. If it's technical, good luck, and I don't know dick about water and the environment. Also please don't come off as an engineer; try to have a personality. Actually, just try not to be an engineer. If you can string a full sentence together, you're better than most.
    Last edited by Zloc_Vergo; 05-15-2013 at 10:43 AM.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zloc_Vergo View Post
    Make up some bull**** stories about engineering projects you've never done/exaggerated projects you've done.
    Unless there's some sort of special exception for the engineering world (???), I would suggest not telling blatant lies about past achievements/experience. wth?

  12. #12
    Isn't Zloc like 11 years old, or am I still living in 2005?

  13. #13
    Zulenglashernbracker
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    Quote Originally Posted by saberopus View Post
    Unless there's some sort of special exception for the engineering world (???), I would suggest not telling blatant lies about past achievements/experience. wth?
    I could have worded what I said much better. My experiences were behavioral, so while companies were interested in projects I had done, and we did discuss those for a while, there were still the "tell me about a time you had to overcome adversity in a group and how you resolved it" questions. For those, I always found it difficult to think up a specific example, so those examples were typically exaggerated forms of small disputes I encountered in a group project or something similar. Do not lie about something technical.

    Quote Originally Posted by ORJ_JoS View Post
    Isn't Zloc like 11 years old, or am I still living in 2005?
    12 since 2004
    Last edited by Zloc_Vergo; 05-15-2013 at 11:01 AM.
    I had a blog. It sucked.

  14. #14
    RAGNA ANGARY
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    Lying to get what you want, I love it.

    By the way, what firm?

  15. #15
    Child's Play Charity"You Would Have Been BALEETED..."
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    Yeah, I'm not sure lying is the best way to go about things, but I'm pretty sure Zloc didn't mean it that way. I interview everyone from fresh out of college, to PhDs from top universities, and I can ALWAYS tell when someone is lying. It's really easy to ask a follow-up question and see them flounder. I think a better way of putting it might be exaggeration? For instance, I put down Visual Basic and Java as my "skills", yet I haven't done either in almost 6-7 years. I know though that if I were asked to do something with them, I could figure it out. And that's what I'd communicate to an interview-er (and I did).

    My vibes and tips as someone who interviews candidates:

    #1. Converse, don't interview. Have a sense of humor, joke around a little bit. A lot of times with interviews, especially in person ones, they already know you are qualified due to your resume and such, but they are just trying to find out if you are actually a good person to work with. It's no fun working with a not fun person. Sorry for all of you who aren't very lively. If you have a candidates that are exactly equal and the only thing that is different is their attitude, they are gonna pick the person they want to actually spend 8 hours a day for the foreseeable future with.

    #2. Ask questions damnit. People don't even bother to do minimal research for the jobs they apply for, and it really pisses me off. It's a lot easier to do #1. if you've actually researched the place and can talk about "Could you tell me a bit about your projects in X,Y,Z? From your web site, I'm interested in X, and I saw that...".

    #3. Have a good, non-rambling, answer to the question "Tell me about yourself". 3-4 sentences is more than enough. It's a common question they probably will ask you to start out with just to kick things off, but it's a super easy question to differentiate between candidates by how they respond.

    Those are really my only tips. They aren't too detailed, but basically #1.Have a good attitude, #2. Demonstrate Interest, and #3. Be prepared for what you might consider simple questions.
    "His Will Was Set, And Only Death Would Break It"

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  16. #16
    Imon, umon...everymon!
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    Definitely know the dress code. In my field (software engineering) a suit and tie or ESPECIALLY a tuxedo would be extraordinarily out of place. It's doubtful anyone will consider you a no hire for wearing a suit (everyone knows interview dress code is awkward and artificial) but it does make things pretty awkward and affects their perception of you. If the dress code is typical "business casual" such as a nice shirt and nice pants, wear a nice shirt and slacks with a tie.
    Bassoon, n. A brazen instrument into which a fool blows out his brains.

  17. #17
    Yes. Apart from that, relax & have a conversation. Do not undervalue yourself, concentrate on practical knowledge that you can apply to the job (if you have any). I assume you know the details of the job you're being interviewed for. Remember: you are all there because you are intelligent people* hoping to bring benefits to each other in the long run.

    *If all present are men, read: you are intelligent men hoping to bring benefits to each other in the long run.
    formerly [D6]Koobie
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  18. #18
    Not the senator.r
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    Get your dick out during the interview. The interviewer will be really impressed with your bravery and your self-confidence and will undoubtedly hire you on the spot.
    DO NOT WANT.

  19. #19
    Depends if you plan to work for companies that welcome registered sex offenders.

  20. #20
    (Still) On 13 week vacation
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    I'm a fan of a combination of wear a tuxedo and get your dick out.

    Also, drop at least one f-bomb. If they're cool with it, they'll admire your balls, and if they aren't cool with it, you haven't done any really significant damage by limiting it to one.
    >>untie shoes

  21. #21
    You'd make everyone admire your balls if it were up to you, ain't that right cowboy.
    formerly [D6]Koobie
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  22. #22
    Just found out I passed my FE exam today too. How convenient.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koobie View Post
    you are all there because you are intelligent people* hoping to bring benefits to each other in the long run.

    *If all present are men, read: you are intelligent men hoping to bring benefits to each other in the long run.

    ?

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by saberopus View Post
    ?
    He wants this job to be good. The employer wants somebody who is good at this job.
    formerly [D6]Koobie
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  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Dash_rendar View Post
    Just found out I passed my FE exam today too. How convenient.
    Captain Planet would be proud. Congratulations.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koobie View Post
    He wants this job to be good. The employer wants somebody who is good at this job.
    I was confused about the footnote.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by saberopus View Post
    I was confused about the footnote.
    They're men. He's a man. HOMOSEX.
    formerly [D6]Koobie
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  28. #28
    Child's Play CharityGoY's Pessimistic Soy Boy Toy
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    I always do well at interviews, and from Buck's advice, I'd do well applying with him too. I don't have much more advice beyond not feeling like you have to fill empty space, and just having a normal goddamned conversation with them. And as mentioned, ask questions! I like to think of it as me interviewing them to see if it's really going to be a good fit for me, which helps kill nerves on top of setting yourself apart from others.
    ᵗʰᵉᵇˢᵍ๒ᵍᵐᵃᶥᶫ∙ᶜᵒᵐ
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  29. #29
    goddamn
    COUCHMAN IS BACK BABY

  30. #30
    Not the senator.r
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    if you're going to get your dick out as i suggested, I recommend the line "i think MY firm and YOUR firm could do business together"

    I mean if you don't get hired then idk man it just wasn't meant to be
    DO NOT WANT.

  31. #31
    bring a sheet of paper with notes on it like act interested in working for them long-term, like ask what benefits they have, 401k, health insurance, etc. also ask if there is room to grow and advance your career with them, ask about vacation time, time off, holiday pay, etc. as well. it is a better way to go to an interview then u at least look like you're serious about getting the job instead of 'oh, just another interview out of several hundred'
    Peace is a lie
    There is only passion
    Through passion I gain strength
    Through strength I gain power
    Through power I gain victory
    Through victory my chains are broken
    The Force shall set me free

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by mscbuck View Post
    #1. Converse, don't interview. Have a sense of humor, joke around a little bit. A lot of times with interviews, especially in person ones, they already know you are qualified due to your resume and such, but they are just trying to find out if you are actually a good person to work with. It's no fun working with a not fun person. Sorry for all of you who aren't very lively.
    In other words, you're perpetuating the same bull**** system as everyone else. Congrats, I guess.
    "it is time to get a credit card to complete my financial independance" — Tibby, Aug. 2009

  33. #33
    Child's Play Charity"You Would Have Been BALEETED..."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freelancer View Post
    In other words, you're perpetuating the same bull**** system as everyone else. Congrats, I guess.
    Newsflash: employees enjoy working and are more productive, when they like the employees they work with. Peer Effects. Especially in a research environment. And when we hire people that will be voluntarily going the extra mile and we see 60-70 hours a week instead of 40, you want to make sure you get an enjoyable person to work with. It's not like we completely throw qualifications out the window. It's just that when we accept people to interview, we know they are all super qualified, and unless you can demonstrate why you are above and beyond someone else, what else is there to base it on? Just a ****ing random dice roll or something?
    Last edited by mscbuck; 05-19-2013 at 11:54 PM.
    "His Will Was Set, And Only Death Would Break It"

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  34. #34
    Imon, umon...everymon!
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    And you do so at the risk of hiring more people who are exactly like you. In the case of tech companies this means hiring more white, geeky, beer-drinking males and possibly ignoring candidates that bring real new ideas to your company.
    Bassoon, n. A brazen instrument into which a fool blows out his brains.

  35. #35
    Child's Play Charity"You Would Have Been BALEETED..."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emon View Post
    And you do so at the risk of hiring more people who are exactly like you. In the case of tech companies this means hiring more white, geeky, beer-drinking males and possibly ignoring candidates that bring real new ideas to your company.
    Maybe. Could definitely see it in a tech start-up for sure. That could be a selection/sample problem though, and probably a lot of work would have to be done before I can claim that most tech companies are white, geeky, beer-drinking males who happen to not be that socially capable. That isn't the case here, though We have a wide mix of ethnicity. We have very wide political beliefs. We have wide variety in beer tastes. We have a wide mix of genders. Also, how will we ever know about someone's real new ideas if they aren't able to communicate to us, as well as policy makers, clearly? Considering that we deal with government folk all the time who don't have the slightest idea of what we do, communication is actually pretty important.

    We are all economists here, and generally lively people. If the net benefit of hiring someone outweighs the costs, and if it maximizes our budget constraints, we do it. If their idea was truly that great, we would hire them, even if they couldn't speak. That idea would have to be pretty monumentally important. Most of the people with great new ideas also tend to be the ones who communicate them well to us, it turns out. At the point we interview, we already know who has good new ideas. We've read their research. We've talked to their advisors. We've made a good guess at their potential for new ideas. At this point, it's deciding who is the better fit and who can COMMUNICATE those real new ideas you are talking about. If their human capital outweighs any costs, we will hire them. It just so happens that we have a lot of candidates with massive amounts of human capital, no more "valuable" than the other, and at that point you are making mostly a ceteris paribus decision.

    Given all else equal, same human capital formation potential, same skills, same degrees, same schools, EVERYTHING THE SAME except that one candidate will want to socially interact with fellow workers, and the other doesn't, who will you pick? You guys are acting as if an organization is in a static landscape, where previous skill is all that matters, when it's a long-term thing and incredibly dynamic. Being a good worker is not purely a function of static skill. Workplaces are mini-economies. There's a variety of inputs that maximizes production. Peer effects in research, as well as work environment, matter. Social capital is most certainly an input into productivity in a dynamic state. It is most certainly the case that one bad cog can ruin net productivity, and I've watched it happen before in front of my eyes.

    Then again, this is from the view point of a research organization. Another firm may have completely different beliefs about all of this, want a culture where people don't talk to each other, etc. This place was set up by 5 people who worked nearly 16 hours a day for the first years, spending most of their time with each other. I doubt they would've lasted that long had they not enjoyed being with each other, and I doubt the scope of our research now would be as large without that kind of environment.
    Last edited by mscbuck; 05-20-2013 at 04:49 PM.
    "His Will Was Set, And Only Death Would Break It"

    "None knows what the new day shall bring him"

  36. #36
    I agree with msbuck. Communication skills are important.
    formerly [D6]Koobie
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  37. #37
    Imon, umon...everymon!
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    I agree, I'm just pointing out the difference between "good at communication" and "good cultural fit." The latter of the two which often degrades to "hire people you could see yourself drinking with," even if the person doesn't drink, wouldn't be your friend outside of work, but actually communicates really well and could add a lot of value to a team.
    Bassoon, n. A brazen instrument into which a fool blows out his brains.

  38. #38
    RAGNA ANGARY
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lost_One View Post
    bring a sheet of paper with notes on it like act interested in working for them long-term, like ask what benefits they have, 401k, health insurance, etc. also ask if there is room to grow and advance your career with them, ask about vacation time, time off, holiday pay, etc. as well. it is a better way to go to an interview then u at least look like you're serious about getting the job instead of 'oh, just another interview out of several hundred'
    i'd have to disagree with a part of this. benefits are something you should be talking about after you get an offer, otherwise it's just wasting both your and your interviewer's time. career progression within the firm is a good topic though albeit a little cookie cutter.

    what company?

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Gebohq View Post
    Be prepared to give your expected salary/pay. This one often threw me off, and it's not a question I liked to answer.
    Eh, unless there is a significant cultural difference in the USA, I would encourage you NOT to give an expected salary. If they ask, respond that you would like to hear their offer first and will then discuss whether it meets your needs. (This is rarely too much of an issue here in the UK as usually a job advert will include a salary band so you know the lower and upper limits of the starting salary). But otherwise, the only reason an employer wants to know your salary expectations is so that they know whether they can get away with a lower offer than they had in mind. No company advertises a role without an idea of how much they're willing to spend, and I think it's horribly disengenous that some of them put candidates on the spot with this question.

    Apart from that, good advice in general in the thread already. Have prepared answers to the obvious questions - how you work in a team, how you've overcome difficulties, blah blah. There's plenty of sites with mock interview questions! And think about how this role could fit into your long-term career plans, as they may ask about that.
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  40. #40
    Oh, and well done for getting an interview for a job that wanted higher qualifications! Quite a feat in the current climate
    <spe> maevie - proving dykes can't fly

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