Help me prepare for this job interview, complication: I interviewed for the same job last year, and was not successful
December 4, 2012 10:30 AM   Subscribe

Please help me prepare for a job interview for a job which I have my heart set on


I have an interview coming up (on Thursday) for a job which I've had my heart set on since having an interview there about a year ago. I didn't get the job then, due to an office restructure (internal hire?).

I have since applied to the job twice, through an agency, but did not get an interview.

Just last week, I applied directly to the company, and got an email later that day asking me to come in for an interview.

The job relates to advertising, and mostly involves data entry and translating, and requires a good knowledge of Adobe PDF. It pays just slightly more than minimum wage.

Basically what I am asking is

#Do I mention the previous interview? Do I approach this differently seeing as I have already had an interview there?

# Is it weird that they want to interview me again after having already been rejected a few times, and is it weird that this is the fourth time they've advertised this position in a year?

#What do employers look for in someone doing data entry work?

#Do you have any interview tips, given the nature of the job and what it involves?

posted by iamsuper to Work & Money (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Don't mention the previous interview. It's immaterial.

There's going to be a point in the interview where they're going to say, "Tell me about yourself". You should have a succinct "mission statement" kind of blurb to say about yourself.

"I'm an Administrative Professional with X years of experience in the X industry. I have a great grasp of Adobe PDF and I'm so excited about being interviewed because this is my dream job."

Let them do the talking. Listen. Get permission to take notes and take them. Get a feel for the interviewer, go with his or her flow. Have some questions prepared for when they say, "Do you have any questions for me?"

1. Tell me what a typical day is like here.
2. What kind of person is a good fit for the culture here?
3. Based upon our discussion here today, how do you think I'd fit in here?

Do a bit of reading about the company. Don't memorize a bunch of stuff, but one of the questions we asked in recent interviews are, "So what do you know about us?"

Shake hands with the interviewer when your finished and say, "I really feel like this would be a good fit, what are the next steps?"

They should tell you something along the lines of "We're interviewing through the end of the week, and then we'll be calling folks in for second interviews."

You say, "Great, I'm really fired up about this job and I'd love to be in that second group."

Send a thank you note (via email is fine) when you get home.

Good Luck!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:41 AM on December 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Are you qualified for this job? Are you pretty confident that your skills will be a good fit? If so then spend the interview focused on listening to what they're telling you and providing answers that focus on the fact that you'll be a good fit for the company. You don't need to sell them on the fact that you're competent. You wouldn't have gotten an interview if you didn't meet the criteria for the job, the interview is, in large part, for them to see if you will fit in their office culture.

When they talk about why you're interested in this job that's a great time for you to mention what appeals to you about this company. You don't have to get crazy detailed with what you've learned from your research but saying you first found the company because of the work they did on X client is a good way of illustrating your specific interest as opposed to being just another job.
posted by dadici at 10:47 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ruthless Bunny has some great suggestions. I would add that I always am more comfortable and do better in interviews if I approach it as looking for the right fit for me instead of worrying about whether or not they think I'm the right fit for them. I've had jobs that were great on paper but were horrific due to politics or general climate in reality.

So have questions for them ready and really think about whether or not you actually would want to work there. One great question to ask is, "What qualities does the perfect candidate for this job have?" Their answer will reveal a lot about their perspective, company culture, and whether their priorities match your priorities. You should also ask about opportunities for advancement and work/life balance.

Good luck!
posted by Kimberly at 10:48 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Enthusiam cannot be undervalued. I have hired many people who may not have the all of the skillset that day but were enthusiatic and I felt fit into my group and were teachable.

I have gotten every job I closed the interview with by saying "I want this job." Seems to be something many neglect to say outright but it has always been met with good results. If it is going really well you can soften by saying "Just to be clear, I want this job." or "In case there is any doubt, I want this job."

Good luck.
posted by shaarog at 10:50 AM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I find job interviews much easier when I go in mentally thinking I am interviewing them. Of course, that is much easier if you already have a job and don't need the job you are interviewing for.

Also, I might be careful overplaying the dream job thing. You indicated it's not much above minimum wage and somewhat clerical in nature. If I was the interviewer for that job I would be a little suspicious of somebody who wasn't aiming higher. It's a foot in the door job, not a dream job. You want it because you have the skills to be successful at it, and being successful at it will help you grow in the company. At least that is what I would want to hear.

Ask about turnover in the job and why they are hiring. Turnover is a fact of life in an entry level job. If all 4 people left the company it is something to be concerned about. If 3 of the 4 are still there but have been promoted that is a good thing. Also, they may have not hired anybody those previous times they advertised. Stuff happens, people get busy and distracted and open jobs sit open for months.

Mostly just relax and be yourself. Good luck!
posted by COD at 12:02 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: One way you can differentiate yourself from other candidates is to come prepared to talk about some advanced skills with PDF. For example: your ability to optimize PDFs to keep file size small without compromising visual quality.

For data entry, they will want to know that you can sustain focus and accuracy for extended stretches of time, and that you are able to concentrate in less-than-optimal conditions.
posted by nacho fries at 12:49 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: When I'm feeling nervous about an interview I go through all the posts on Ask a Manager about interviewing, and also look up "top interview" questions online and work on my answers to them.
posted by radioamy at 9:09 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for your advice, I start in a week!
posted by iamsuper at 7:11 AM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

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