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The Soft Skills of Interviewing CHEAT SHEET EDITION

kaylasween profile image Kayla Sween ・2 min read

Based on a suggestion from Andrew Harpin, here's a cheat sheet version of The Soft Skills of Interviewing! 🎉

Excellent article, suggest after a week or so, collecting these suggestions and those from the comments into a cheat sheet.

If you haven't read The Soft Skills of Interviewing, go check it out!

Do your research

  • Check out company's social media
  • Look at Glassdoor reviews, but look for trends not individual opinions
  • Think of questions to ask during the interview based on your research

Relax, Be Kind, Be yourself

  • Meditate before going to an interview
  • Don't pretend to be someone you're not
  • Show your nerves a bit; you're a person, not an act2
  • Interviews are a good place to find out if the company will be a good fit for you!
  • Be excited and interested!1

Interview your Interviewer

  • Choose questions to ask your interviewer that will help you determine if the company, manager, and group will be a good fit for you. Here are some examples:
    • What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 90 days?
    • What does a typical day in this position look like?
    • Do you have any reservations about hiring me for this position at this point? If so, what are they?
    • What could I learn now that would best prepare me to get started right away if I were hired?2
    • What do you like most and you dislike most about what you do?1

ALWAYS send a thank-you note!

  • Send a thank-you email within 24 hours of your interview
  • Reference something you talked about in your interview to make it more personal3
I hope this helps! If anyone has any additional suggestions, leave them in the comments! I'll check back periodically and add them to this cheat sheet.

1

Very nice post, thanks for sharing! All of this is great advice.

Interview Your Interviewer

As a long-time hiring manager, this is such a good tip! Not only do you get to learn more about the interviewer and the job, but you also get to stand out from the crowd. I would say less than a quarter of all candidates do this. This who do, I can tell are curious, focused and it makes for a much more interesting interview for both of us.

A good question that I very rarely get asked, but would recommend others to do is ”what is the thing you like the best and you dislike the most about what you do?”. You’ll be surprised at the type of honest answers you get.

One more tip I have is be excited/interested during this session. After understanding more about the company, position and team, reflect on what things sound exciting and make you especially interested. Again, from experience, many candidates focus purely on the “dry” questions and try to keep emotions in check, suppressing even the positive ones.

Share when you’re excited or pleasantly surprised! The hiring manager is looking for people who complement the team well and positive/curious/excited people always do.


2

Fantastic! As a hiring manager myself (among other things), I recommend all of the above.

I'd also add, don't be afraid if your nerves show a bit. It just shows the interviewer you're a real person, not an act. (In fact, half my job is to get you off-script anyway; I've learned that if the person I'm interviewing displays absolute, unyielding confidence, they invariably have an ego the size of Alaska.)

By the way, another question I like asking when I'm the one being interviewed is:

What could I learn now that would best prepare me to get started right away if I were hired?

Not only does that usually leave a good impression, but it also gives me some valuable information about what I'll need to know to do the job.


3

Thank you for your thank-you-note tip! I always tell my students the same, and that their note should include specific references to topics discussed in the interview. People will sense the personal touch and feel more engaged. :)

Posted on by:

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Kayla Sween

@kaylasween

I'm a front-end engineer, who is very passionate about UX.

Discussion

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Oh man ! I will be using theses 3 during my tomorrow itw !

What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 90 days?
What could I learn now that would best prepare me to get started right away if I were hired?
What do you like most and you dislike most about what you do?

Thanks !

 

Awesome! No problem! Good luck in your interview!!!

 

I always ask a very similarly phrased question to:

What does a typical day in this position look like?

In my last 6 years worth of tech interviews, the answer is always the tech lead throwing his hands up, looking at me with frustration, and going, "It's different day-to-day. There's nothing specific I can tell you.".

These questions were always answered in the northeast US, but in the southeast US I've gotten that answer and not been prepared for it.

Of any job that hired me, of which there have been about 3 in 6 years, I've done the same routine stuff every day I worked there.

 

That's usually the answer I get too. 😂 but I haven't necessarily always gotten it from southeastern US companies. That's an interesting observation.

 

Its amazing that its such a tough question to answer. Maybe its the sign of a chaotic office env.

 
 

Nice! Thanks! I'm going to have to read your post. Skimming through, it looks like there's a lot of good info on there!

 

I don't think truer words have ever been spoken. 😂