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Common interview questions: entry level

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#21
I would like to let everyone know I used some of these questions for a potential intern and we did not hire him, even though he had a solid resume and was generally likable and below is why:


The following are some tips on how to interview, even for an internship:

Always interview for the next position up, meaning, just because you are interviewing for the lowest position in a department doesn't excuse you from dressing appropriately or having general knowledge of the town. Also meaning, no matter what you think about socks, its always good to wear them on a interview.

Even though you go to college in the metro area, do not tell me this is your first time in my town...act like you know a little about the town, this is a planning job/ internship afterall.

Always, always send a thank you note, whether a handwritten card or email.

Bring your resume and work samples/portfolios, you wouldn't try and sell a product without samples and information, it works the same for own skills and abilities.

Do not tell me the interview questions are tough...you can think it...but its better to keep that thought to yourself. Also, you should expect a question about your career goals!

Just thought this little rant would help someone out there...:)
 

vxw

Cyburbian
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#23
thanks for the great tips, just starting my interview career as we speak and definitely will be writing a thank you letter after.
as for vertical? 2'6":D
I found out accidentally one day, I know my ceiling height, my own height, the pain in my head and crack in the ceiling
 
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#24
is a typed thank letter ok? I prefer not to handwrite anything...
One way or the other, its the thought that counts. I just had to write a rejection email today, I didn't like doing it...but this guy was one semester away from a master's degree, I hope he can brush up on those interview skills.

Also, we all noticed he didn't have socks on...you don't want the conversation after your interview being about your wardrobe choices, but the skills and attributes you can bring to the team.
 
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#25
if he didn't have socks, he should have had pants to cover his ankles! :lmao: I like to wear boots...I tend not to trip as much. I noticed one guy that went ahead of me white-knuckling the chair in the lobby...I wonder how he did for his interview :)
 
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#26
1) How do you answer salary requirements?
-I would like, given my degree, to get 45K....but I don't know what to say.
I feel that would be too greedy...I feel like saying "I don't know" or "flexible" but then would be afraid this would come off as indecisive/get me taken advantage of...so how do you answer?


2) I suck balls at GIS.
-When asked GIS questions...or questions about classes I hate/poor skills...do I lie or omit this detail?
-Being honest can eliminate me...lying can lead to a bad match.


3) Night meetings.
-Again...can I be honest and say 1-2 a month is fine...but on a regular weekly basis might be too much?
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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#27
I used to love throwing in a real curve ball question, like:

(A) What character from The Simpsons do you relate to best, and give us a quote. (We hired the woman that said Ralph Wiggam and even spoke in the voice.

(2) If you could be a cookie, what kind of cookie would you be, and WHY?
 
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#28
The only question I remember being asked was "which one is more important: zoning or planning? How are they related?" I felt like it was trick question, one lays the ground work for the other. I debate and over analyze everything so that was the only question I did not feel very confident with my answer.
 
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#29
Practical Exercise

Before they leave my interview I hand them a topo plat, an engineer's scale, and a calculator and see if they can figure out the slope between two points.

I've had maybe 2 people get it right. Ever.

I also like to ask: What job would you want to do if you don't get this job?

One of my best hires answered: Truck Driver. I still give him a hard time about that.
 
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#30
Hi I just had an interview with Los Angeles County Metropolitan Authority for an internship position a week and half ago, I haven't received any word if I got it or not, do you think I should give up hope, or call them just to check? This waiting game is making me really anxious.
 
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#31
Hi I just had an interview with Los Angeles County Metropolitan Authority for an internship position a week and half ago, I haven't received any word if I got it or not, do you think I should give up hope, or call them just to check? This waiting game is making me really anxious.
If it was me, I would just wait it out. I know most government agencies (our included) are having budget meetings at the moment...maybe they just need to hammer out some budget issues. Good luck!
 

nrschmid

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#32
If it were me, I would keep looking, preparing, interviewing, etc. The only thing that officially ends a job/internship search is a written letter of offer that is agreed upon by both parties.

So...GET BACK TO WORK!!!
 
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#33
Some questions I just had at an interview were:

What qualities do you admire most in other people?
Who influences you most in life?
How do you define success?
Tell me about a situation where you felt overwhelmed, and how you handled it.
 
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#34
Some questions I just had at an interview were:

What qualities do you admire most in other people?
Who influences you most in life?
How do you define success?
Tell me about a situation where you felt overwhelmed, and how you handled it.
The question I hate the most is, "What is your greatest strength/weakness?" ahhhhh!...my weakness is not being able to talk about my weaknesses with a potential employer.
 
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#35
The question I hate the most is, "What is your greatest strength/weakness?" ahhhhh!...my weakness is not being able to talk about my weaknesses with a potential employer.
Borrowed from an old friend: My greatest weakness is not being able to afford my addiction to heroin.
 
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#36
The question I hate the most is, "What is your greatest strength/weakness?" ahhhhh!...my weakness is not being able to talk about my weaknesses with a potential employer.
I had that one also (at the first interview for the same job), but it was "What are your three greatest strengths?" and then "What would you like to change about yourself?"

I did not prepare answers before hand, and I think it worked in my favor. Interviewers can tell if you have canned answers, and the old "my greatest weakness is that I work too hard" type of thing is just not gonna fly.
 
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#37
If it was me, I would just wait it out. I know most government agencies (our included) are having budget meetings at the moment...maybe they just need to hammer out some budget issues. Good luck!
Thanks yeah, I am definitely keeping my options open. I know that the LACMTA and all of LA is broke right now so I will just call in on Thursday (two week mark) to just get over my frustrations. During my interview they had a list of questions and just went down and asked each one of them which I thought was really strange.

Good luck to the rest of you!
 

Raf

As Featured in "High Times"
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#38
During my interview they had a list of questions and just went down and asked each one of them which I thought was really strange.

Good luck to the rest of you!
For entry level/intern positions they always have just a list a questions because more than likely they are not interviewing you, but probably 9-12 other people. Both myself and kltoomians interviewed for the same job a few weeks back. Our correspondence confirmed that they interview panel asked the same exact questions and had the same exact exercise. It is how we both answered the questions and how the questions closely aligned to the needs of the employer that determined whom made the cut to the 2nd round.
 

Suburb Repairman

moderator in moderation
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#39
Thanks yeah, I am definitely keeping my options open. I know that the LACMTA and all of LA is broke right now so I will just call in on Thursday (two week mark) to just get over my frustrations. During my interview they had a list of questions and just went down and asked each one of them which I thought was really strange.

Good luck to the rest of you!
That is actually a common practice, especially in the public sector. Often this is forced by HR departments that want to be able to demostrate that every interviewee had equal opportunity to respond to similar questions and that no applicants were effectively 'red-lined' by shifting around questions to benefit certain applicants over others. Many times these types of standard question forms are scored by the interview panel, turning applicant selection into a quantitative exericise based on subjective opinions of those on the interview panel.

I hate this process, as an interviewer and as an interviewee. As an interviewer, I will just keep notes on the question responses and rank my applicants overall. Then I insert the scores so that they will reflect my ranking and comments I have on their responses. This has the added advantage of allowing me just to listen to responses and make it more conversational, rather than keeping score along the way.
 
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#40
That is actually a common practice, especially in the public sector. Often this is forced by HR departments that want to be able to demostrate that every interviewee had equal opportunity to respond to similar questions and that no applicants were effectively 'red-lined' by shifting around questions to benefit certain applicants over others. Many times these types of standard question forms are scored by the interview panel, turning applicant selection into a quantitative exericise based on subjective opinions of those on the interview panel.

I hate this process, as an interviewer and as an interviewee. As an interviewer, I will just keep notes on the question responses and rank my applicants overall. Then I insert the scores so that they will reflect my ranking and comments I have on their responses. This has the added advantage of allowing me just to listen to responses and make it more conversational, rather than keeping score along the way.
Thanks for the insight. I felt like they weren't really engaging since they had that predetermined list of questions. It was an interesting experience, its my first real planning related internship interview. I have been doing all GIS related work for my past internships and I am so tired of being the GIS monkey. I have had my fair share of interviews, but the one that is keeping me waiting the longest is the one I really want to get. I am currently working with the SCAQMD and they were pretty fast to get back to me.

Thanks guys!
 
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