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Old 11-18-2007, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Stuck on the East Coast, hoping to head West
4,479 posts, read 10,368,633 times
Reputation: 9359

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A few nights ago, I had an interesting interview. It was a phone interview and I was put on speaker phone and there were three other people on the line. Then they told me all of their questions were to be answered using the S.T.A.R. format. In other words, they gave me a word or phrase and then had me describe a Situation in which I displayed or overcame the word/phrase, the Task that related to it, the Actions I used, and the Response I got. For example, they might throw out the word "flexibility" and I had 30 seconds to respond. Then the second part was answering a question a client might ask me in the absolute simplest language possible (and this field is very technical).

Agghhhh. I don't know how I did. They're supposed to let me know the first week in December. The worst part is that after it was over, I thought of much better answers than those I had given. Also, it was difficult not seeing their faces so I have no idea what they're reactions were. My only consolation is that this was great practice, and, hey, I brought material. I did have an answer for every single thing.

Anyway, this was my first interview in a few years. Is this how interviews are going now? Are they really interested in what you're saying or is this a test to see how well I do under pressure? Has anyone else had one of these interviews?
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Old 11-18-2007, 07:55 AM
 
Location: Hampton Roads, VA
673 posts, read 2,992,146 times
Reputation: 335
Interesting...I havent head of that technique used for interviewing before. Usually I get questions about what I do, what are my strong points, what are my weaknesses, how do I handle stressful situations, etc. I guess it really depends on the field that you are in as well. Good luck!
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Old 11-18-2007, 08:18 AM
 
Location: Zebulon, NC
2,275 posts, read 5,885,526 times
Reputation: 3611
Good Lord, I'd never want to work for anyone who conducted "interviews" like that. That wasn't an interview - it was a pop quiz. Being timed on the answer?

I don't see it as an effective way to get to know a person. They're not going to meet you face-to-face before making a decision?

If I may ask - what type of job was this for?
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Old 11-18-2007, 08:22 AM
 
Location: southern california
61,305 posts, read 79,866,762 times
Reputation: 55458
ditto on that. somebody met the HR requirement to do 3 interviews b4 a hire.
face to face is the way its done.
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Old 11-18-2007, 09:51 AM
 
7,139 posts, read 13,677,956 times
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I would quickly write them a well constructed letter, describing the unfairness of this intimidating practice, and TELL them if they really want a good employee to have the guts and gonads to schedule a face-to-face interview. That's just me, but then I am a real B*tch and no longer put up with crap.
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Old 11-18-2007, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Stuck on the East Coast, hoping to head West
4,479 posts, read 10,368,633 times
Reputation: 9359
Thanks for the responses. So far everyone else I've talked to hasn't had this experience, either, so hopefully this isn't a trend. The position is remote (the company is actually on the other side of the country) so the phone interview made sense. The position was one in which I'd be answering questions via chat or phone so I can see why they'd want to see if I could do this quickly and correctly.

I guess the whole format doesn't really bother me all that much. All I can do is work with what they give me. It's just that I would love to know how to prepare for this type of interview. I mean, I've never experienced something like this. Although if its an anomaly maybe I shouldn't be worry 'bout it, eh? Gotta say, though, that I'm trying to change industries so this position could be a great foot in the door and I'd be willing to tough it out just to get the experience on my resume.
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Old 11-18-2007, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Transition Island
1,679 posts, read 2,344,245 times
Reputation: 719
Default Not Alone

I had a telephone interview on Friday as well and I am changing fields also.The position is in higher education, but I will still use all of the same skills which I used in my human service positions. I did not like the telephone interview because I am accustomed to seeing a face. I have been asked over the phone about my interest and why I believed I was qualified for the position, but never an interview.

I am not certain how it went because it was my first one. I answered the questions to the best of my ability, but I am used to seeing a reaction and not being able to see one was somewhat intimidating to me. I have great telephone etiquette and many of my job tasks have been related to speaking with others on the phone, but this experience was difficult to say the least. I guess a comfort level will be achieved once you do them enough.
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Old 11-18-2007, 05:40 PM
 
2,775 posts, read 3,286,569 times
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I've certainly heard of STAR format interviews as they are a great way to conduct an interview (I've used the method many times). But... I've never heard of one given in the way yours was! The STAR process is just one where you ask the interviewed person to provide examples of what they have done in particular workplace situations that demonstrate particular skills or qualities they claim to have (or which you want the hired person to have). The idea is that most everyone can and will say they are honest, a quick thinker, a hard worker, a superb manager, and willing to go above and beyond... but when you ask for examples where they have handled particular situations in the past - well that's a great way to really see how the interviewed person thinks. I've interviewed several people who failed miserably when using this interview format... I've also interviewed several who did very well. It's not supposed to be a "timed event" nor are you supposed to throw out words like a pop quiz... instead I typically work the question into the interview much more casually and I would say much more eloquently than just throwing out a key word and starting the equivalent of Jeapardy music.

Your interview sounded ridiculously "by a book" or "process-oriented." Honestly, I have peers I work with today that would conduct an interview like that if given the chance. Fortunately they aren't generally given the chance as process-oriented people lack the intuitive ability, general warmth, and overall people skills needed to interview others well. You need to let an interview flow and when you instead create a rigid and timed format you are not letting anything flow. I wouldn't want to work for a company that interviewed me this way unless I enjoyed process-oriented type of labor or genuinely thought the interviewers were just over-empowered HR representatives (versus who I'd actually be working for if hired).
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Old 11-18-2007, 06:00 PM
 
Location: Camberville
13,493 posts, read 18,360,607 times
Reputation: 23165
I didn't realize that sort of thing was so uncommon! For one round of my summer internship interviews, there was a similar sort of "lightening round". Ditto for several interviews for leadership and student union positions in both high school and college. For my internship, after I was hired, I questioned the process. According to my boss, the questions were used to see how I dealt under pressure and in a new, intense situation- specifically because the work environment was entirely multilingual and daily changes that create highly pressured situations. What you say isn't as important as how you react. It's a bit strange that the technique was used over the phone though, as body language is just as important as what you say.
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Old 11-18-2007, 07:20 PM
 
8,532 posts, read 27,565,877 times
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My condolences - that sounds like a nightmare!

There is a whole industry devoted to making HR feel like they have some input into the hiring process, and it turn, making candidates crazy. Microsoft is actually credited for the 'mind puzzler' interview questions which became rampant in the tech industry, but today, Microsoft has abandoned that technique.

I've taken Meyers-Briggs tests, played the trivial pursuit games, and answered dopey "what would you do if I gave you an elephant" questions. In all cases the company in question was not one I wanted to work for in the end. There appears to be a movement in HR against this sort of thing - in the late 90's it was very popular - until people started realizing that it makes candidates nuts.

Last edited by NYSD1995; 11-18-2007 at 08:36 PM..
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