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08/10/09
Interviewing Question: Response to Imperfect fit question
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 11:44 am

A highly qualified member currently engaged
in a post-
doc in neuroscience and sensor
development asked two
questions in relation
to a phone screening interview.  He
indicated
that the interviewer was seeking a physical

chemist with good background in chemical
kinetics for
a medical sensor development project.

First question:  How should a question be
responded to
if a person does not have 
experience in photo physics,
“we need a
person who can teach us that” how can one

deal with not having direct experience in a
particular
aspect of a job description?

Second question:  Last Friday I called to
inquire about
the position.  They responded
that they were interviewing
a candidate with
the exact background for the position
and if
she interviews well they will extend an offer. 
Should
I call them later? 

These are judgment questions so I posed
them to several
colleagues for their
perspectives.


DIRECT EXPERIENCE QUESTION:  When
interviewing
the hiring manager will have
preconceived notions of specific
background
she seeks in a preferred candidate.  It is very

good if
(1) you can have her tell you those things. 
Then, it
is your task to
(2) show how your background prepares
you to
meet the tasks.  One might ask
questions to show how when
you are faced
with an uncertain project or question you learn

quickly and “connect the dots” and propose
experiments or
methods.  One can perhaps
(3) ask what is known already and
what is
done now.


I question whether responding that you can
learn this is
a sufficient response.
I believe you want to
(4) show how quickly you can learn and

apply new information and
(5) display enthusiasm that shows
you are
interested in the problem.  You will be
presented
with “roadblocks” all the time in
projects, one might want
to show that you
are up to the challenges.


(2) “SHOULD I CALL THEM LATER”
RESPONSE:

There are many occasions when you
can speak with people or make contacts
informally or formally.  If you sound anxious
and desperate, in a phone call, it is a
definite turn-off.

So, if you do have a reason to call, whether
if it is an expense form, or you wanted to
personally thank someone for meeting,
don’t sound desperate.

Other perspectives are contained in the
comments.

2 Responses to “Interviewing Question: Response to Imperfect fit question”

  1. site admin Says:


    Joel Shulman suggested:
    Re the first question: If a candidate knows
    beforehand
    that he/she does not have one
    or two of the requisite
    requirements for a
    job, he/she should be ready for a
    question
    related to these requirements in a couple of

    ways.
    First, she should emphasize how well she
    meets the
    other requirements of the job.
    And second, she should
    emphasize her
    interest in the area, including the
    willingness and ability to learn (as he/she
    did), including
    any information on skills
    that are relatively closely
    aligned with
    the topic.


    Re the second question: After a reasonable
    wait, I
    would email as a follow-up. If there
    is no answer to
    the email, I’d call.
  2. site admin Says:


    Lisa Balbes suggested:

    1. If they ask about a field you do not know,
    or a skill
    you do not have, try to answer by
    saying while you
    have not done exactly that,
    you have done this, which
    is quite similar.
    For example, “No, I have never taught
    a
    corporate training class, but I did teach 5
    other
    graduate students how to use the
    NMR in a formal
    setting. I developed the
    lesson plan, delivered the
    material, and
    conducted follow-up testing to make
    sure
    they understood the material before
    certifying
    them to use the machine.”

    2. It sounds like they have a better fit,
    but there is a
    chance he will not accept
    the offer. You could
    probably call them
    once more, but if they have
    already said
    you are not a good fit, I would
    not do
    more than that. It would also help if you

    did something to make yourself more
    attractive
    in the meantime - perhaps
    take a class or
    somehow learn the
    material that you are lacking.
    Then make
    sure to tell them that when you call..

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