From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

June 2020
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Interviewing preparation.
Filed under: Interviewing
Posted by: site admin @ 5:08 pm

We met by chance at a Hartford workshop a couple
of years ago. EO contacted me recently about preparing
for an upcoming interview this week.  We talked about
a number of things.  Highlights from five are provided.

1.  What is the job description?  What is EO applying for
so that she can show how (s)he meets and exceeds
the qualification musts and wants?  EO did not know.
Until just last night, (s)he discovered a recent job listing on
the company website that closely matches the skills and
most experiences this recent Ph.D has achieved.
EO can plan to devise her responses to questions with a
keen eye on this published inorganic chemistry position.

If the job description does not come up in the discussion,
then a copy of the document can be made and used to
provide a response to one of several kinds of questions, like:
   - what is your ideal position you seek now?
   - What kind of a position do you see yourself fitting? 
   - Why should we want to hire you? 
EO can use the document as a case for which (s)he fits.
Very nice research that also reveals curiosity and problem
solving skills.

2.  What is the interview day going to be like?  What should (s)he
be prepared for? 
They asked EO to come the night before and be picked up at
a hotel nearby at 8am.  The interview will include an hour
technical presentation, lunch and a dinner meeting.
Who will attend the technical presentation?
Who will (s)he interview with[Are they in
Do people in your network know them?]
These are fair questions to ask the host this afternoon, showing
a strong desire to interview well.  In addition, avoid  going over
the alotted time in the technical presentation. A good technical
presentation can alot about 2 minutes to each content rich slide
(but not too overloaded– see blog entries on presentations!) 
Have a hard copy of slides with you so that you can refer to
them and use them in case of emergency.

Expect this to be a long day.  Don’t expect a break between
interviews and dinner. 

3.  Find good opportunities to visit the rest room to be comfortable
and make sure the person in the mirror looks like you want.
If you need a nutrition bar, have it in your purse.

Consider including safety shoes and safety glasses in your
carry along (or purse) for they may provide a tour.  It is
common on many technical interviews.

4.  Bring with you.  Have a couple of hundred dollars, extra
copies of your resume, list of references, list of publications,
cell phone, thumb drive with your talk files and pertinent
telephone numbers
in case of unexpected events. 
Save all receipts as they will be needed for reimbursement.

5.  As for the types of questions you might expect consider
looking at behavioral based ones, given in this site’s

This is an exciting experience.

2 Responses to “Interviewing preparation.”

  1. site admin Says:

    EO “knocked me over” with a phone call from the
    hotel after the interview. EO said they were very
    impressed with the preparation, especially bringing
    copies of pertinent documents (which many
    interviewers did not have), and with keeping
    within time limits in the presentation. ‘
  2. site admin Says:

    It never hurts to bring up what to wear at various
    interview situations. EO asked if (s)he should
    wear the same clothes as during the interview

    Evening coat or wrap is only different thing.

    Also see MIT suggestions
    Washington State suggestions 

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