Tricky Interview Questions

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We’ve covered a lot of tough interview questions in past posts, and here we come at you with yet another round.  Sometimes interviewers ask us questions that are more on the tricky side.  It’s hard to know what to say – it often seems the best approach is to tell them what they want to hear, rather than the truth – and sometimes it’s just confusing why these questions are being asked in the first place.  Here are a few examples:

What Are Your Hobbies?

Why is this question relevant to the job you’re applying for, and why would the interviewer care enough to ask this in a formal interview?  Try to look at this question as a means for the interviewer to understand who you are a little better.  If you’re hired, you’ll be absorbed into the company culture, so the company wants to get a more complete picture of you as an individual.  Understanding what you do for fun can help the interviewer determine what your working style might be like.  It can also help them determine how a job will fit into your life, given what you do outside of your work.

How Would Your Coworkers Describe You?

Do you even know the answer to this question?  Could you really provide an accurate assessment of what others think?  This question is more of a way for the interviewer to find out what qualities you most value about yourself, as you likely assume that these are the same traits that others appreciate.  It also showcases how modest or overconfident you might be.  Here you might take the chance to describe some positive interactions you’ve had with coworkers, citing instances where you have collaborated with them on projects.  This will give you a way to back up your answer, as well as to imply that you are able to work well in a team.

Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

This question is tricky because it’s hard to tell if you should speak about yourself in five years at that company – after all, you don’t want to appear presumptuous, but you also don’t want to seem disloyal.  And what if where you want to be is in the seat of the person who is interviewing you?  Instead of focusing on what specific position you see yourself in, try to think of things you want to have achieved.  In what areas will you grow the most?  What goals do you have for your career?  After you’ve considered these questions, you can then turn your answer around and talk about ways in which you will be able to accomplish all of this at the company you are interviewing for, speaking about how your growth will be mutually beneficial for you and the corporation.

Some questions during the interview can seem like time wasters – and some are.  But interviewers often have underlying points they’re trying to get at, even if it’s just to see how you’ll react to a specific question.  Try to prepare for an interview as thoroughly as you can and keep an open mind when tackling tricky questions like these.

All the best,

The Doostang Team

Doostang Success — Responses within 3 Days of Applying for Jobs

Dheeraj

Georgia Institute of Technology, 2009
Supply Chain and Operations Analyst – DTDC

“I was just coming out of college and found job search to be a challenge.  I was applying to jobs on some other sites, but after spending my precious time I was still just waiting for responses and I was beginning to lose my confidence. I did get very few responses eventually, but they still weren’t from the company HRs.

After learning about Doostang, I started applying through the site. I saw some positive responses, so I got a premium membership. All of a sudden, plenty of opportunities opened up all around me.

I started getting responses directly from the hiring managers within 3 days of applying for jobs, which was very quick for me given the time constraint I was in. I ended up getting 2 offers and was in a position to negotiate my pay package.

The filters and saved-searches were very useful. The newsletters sent by Doostang were also consistently guiding me in my job search, and as a result, I was performing better in the interviews.

Overall, Doostang has been a mentor and helped me get many opportunities.

I strongly recommend Doostang Premium to anyone seeking a new job or a career change – I know they will eventually end up with a great opportunity like I did.”


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Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Summer Intern – Leading Client & Proprietary Assets Firm, Greenwich, CT

Project Director – Prominent Consultancy, Chicago, IL

Quantitative Equity Analyst – Innovative Quantitative Investment Management Firm, Boston, MA

Marketing and Operations Associate – Cutting Edge Tech Startup, SF Bay Area, CA

Investment Banking Analyst – Premier Full Service Investment Bank, New York, NY

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Doostang Success — Jobs and Employers of Top-Notch Quality

Steven

Baruch College, 2010
Junior Securities Analyst – Value Line Investments

“If someone had turned me on to Doostang earlier in my job search, I would have been working several months earlier and would’ve had a much more pleasant job search experience.

It’s amazing how easy it is to apply to jobs on Doostang, but what’s more important is the top-notch quality of the jobs and employers that make themselves available on this site.

Unlike with other job sites, with Doostang you don’t feel like you are sending your resume into cyberspace, because Doostang lets you know exactly when someone chooses to look at your resume.”


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Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Associate Analyst – Global Long/Short Equity Fund, New York, NY

Consultant – Premier Experienced Healthcare Consulting Firm, Boston, MA

Investment Banking Intern – Research-Centric Boutique Investment Bank, San Francisco, CA

Associate – Top Boutique Management Consulting Firm, Washington, DC

Equity Analyst – Leading Private Banking & Investment Management Company, Boston, MA

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Doostang Success — Marketing Director Job Offer after 1 Month

Sean

Muhlenberg College, 2007
Regional Marketing Director – Icon Securities

“I had been unemployed since February 2010 after the passing of my mother.  I had begun to lose hope using various free websites, when I came across Doostang.  I took the plunge for the 3 month commitment because I was so impressed with the format.

Literally the first job I applied for, I was contacted to come in for an interview.

The job was directly in line with what I was looking for and it was extremely easy to find using Doostang’s search system.  Although Doostang led to me getting the opportunity to interview with 4 different companies in a one month period, it just so happened that the first job that I applied for on Doostang led to my employment.

I received a great offer today, which I accepted.  I can honestly say that, if it was not for Doostang.com, I would still be unemployed today.

I will be sure to recommend Doostang to any and all of my friends who are looking for employment, or a change in companies.

Thank you!”


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Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Trading Assistant – International Investment Advisory & Trading Firm, Toronto, Canada

Corporate Strategy Sr. Manager – Innovative Payment Solutions Platform, SF Bay Area, CA

Investment Banking Intern – Premier Boutique Investment Banking Firm, New York, NY

Sr. Consultant – Executive-Level Advisory Consulting Firm, Los Angeles, CA

Operations Analyst – Fast Growing Ecommerce Company, Jersey City, NJ

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Who Makes a Good Professional Reference?

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Employers place a lot of value on references, because these provide both an insight into how well you work with other people, as well as a subjective perspective on who you are.  While a resume is something that you can spend time tweaking and perfecting on your own, a reference isn’t entirely in your control, and is therefore more honest in some respects.  For this reason, it’s crucial that when you are deciding whom to ask for a reference, you choose someone who will not only sing your praises, but who will also be able to speak intelligently about you and give hiring managers a more complete picture of who you are and how you work.  Here are some individuals you should consider:

Your Current Employer

Few people will have a better understanding of how well you work for someone than your current employer.  Hiring managers like to speak to referrers who have a current, realistic take on the candidate being reviewed, and so they will take a lot of stock in what your current boss has to say.  Before you list this person as a reference, however, make sure that you have discussed with them your plans to find another position – otherwise you could find yourself in some hot water.

A Past Employer

A past employer is also a good person to turn to, especially if you haven’t worked too closely with your current employer.  It’s especially helpful if you had a particularly close relationship with your previous boss, and if they can provide a more valuable insight into who you are.  Depending on how much time has passed, it’s probably a good idea to refresh this person’s memory by summarizing some of the highlights from your working relationship, as well as to update them on some of your current professional endeavors.

Your Professor

Many individuals just entering the working world will turn to professors to vouch for them, and this is just as acceptable as asking an employer to refer you.  A professor will have a solid idea of your work ethic, your ability to collaborate with others, and your overall intelligence.  He or she will likely focus on the transferable skills that you possess, which you can utilize in the workplace.

A Coworker

If you feel that you cannot turn to an employer for a good reference, consider asking someone you work with.  A coworker can speak to how well you work in a team; they can also discuss your ability to take the lead on certain projects or help others with their work.

A Customer

Depending on your line of work, another individual to consider as a potential reference is a satisfied customer with whom you have worked closely.  This person can speak about your professionalism, your ability to get the job done in a timely manner, and your communication skills.  A customer who is willing to go out of their way to provide a good reference speaks volumes about your character and working style.

These are just a few of the many individuals whom you can ask for a reference.  Other examples include business contacts, teammates, family friends, and more.  Any person who is able to speak about your work ethic, leadership skills,  ability to learn, value as a team member, and so on, is a possible reference.  Just make sure that you ask them before you start giving away their contact information to hiring managers!

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

Doostang News March 21: How to Avoid Feeling Overwhelmed at Work

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We all have those days at work that never end – you can’t stay focused, unexpected obstacles keep appearing out of nowhere, and work starts to pile up.  Feelings of frustration and hopelessness at work often make their way into the rest of your life, causing more stress at the office, and so a vicious cycle begins.  Check out our list below for a few things that you can do to stay on top of everything at work.

Make Lists

When you’re particularly busy, it’s easy to forget about something important, which can lead to further problems and further stress.  If you start to feel as though the workload is becoming too much, take a few minutes to write down everything that you need to do.  Aside from keeping you organized, doing so will often lead you to realize that all those things that you need to accomplish are more manageable than you thought.

Communicate with your Boss

If things feel as though they’re getting away from you, it’s important to connect with your boss from time to time.  Perhaps you need to go over a complicated project, ask for an extension, or even just talk things over with someone.  It’s better to keep your boss in the loop and let him or her know what’s going on – they might be able to help you out, but even if not, at least this way they’ll know to look out for things a little later than expected.  Failure to communicate could lead to more problems.

Ask for Help

If there’s too much on your plate, don’t be afraid to ask a coworker to lend a hand.  Many will be happy to help you out, especially if you’re willing to return the favor in the future.  Enlisting someone’s help also has the added benefit of getting another opinion on a matter, or seeing how someone else approaches the same project – in a possibly more productive manner.  Don’t be shy or assume that others will be unwilling to help you just because they are busy too.

Feeling overwhelmed at work is a slippery slope.  For many individuals, the more overwhelmed they feel the less productive they are, which complicates things further.  So even when you’re at your busiest, take some extra time to get yourself organized and don’t be afraid to reach out to others for a little help.

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

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Doostang News March 14 – How to Make a Good Impression on an Interviewer

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While you can spend countless hours preparing polished answers, learning how to make great eye contact, and putting together a stellar outfit, one part of the interview that you don’t have total control over is the human element.  For better or for worse, much of what determines whether or not you’ll get the job is how you connected with your interviewer.  If that person doesn’t like you on a personal level, you probably won’t land the position, even if you’re extremely qualified.  That said, here are a few things you can do to make a great first impression:

Use Humor Sparingly

There’s no question that a little bit of humor can ease the tension and make the entire interview seem more comfortable.  But if your interviewer shoots you down with a stern look or a reprimand, your attempt at joking around can turn into a total buzz kill.  The best policy is to stick to something lighthearted that won’t offend someone on any level – after all, you probably know nothing about the person sitting across from you, and therefore you have no way of knowing what types of remarks they would consider to be in bad taste.

Wear Deodorant

This one is common sense. It’s important that you don’t sweat or smell in an interview, otherwise the interviewer will probably rush you out the door in order that they can breathe again.  Make sure to wear something that isn’t too stifling and try not to offer up a wet handshake.  And while it’s crucial to ensure that you don’t smell bad, on the flip side, you don’t want to drench yourself in a perfume that the interviewer will choke on.  Use perfumes and bath products sparingly, since, once again, you don’t know if your interviewer is allergic to – or can’t stand – a certain odor.

Don’t Be Too Demanding

It’s important to inform the interviewer of your job needs during the conversation, and this should come up naturally.  However, don’t get too carried away with making demands about your hours, salary, or office environment.  If you start laying down the law about needing a completely silent work area or a desk next to the window, the interviewer may simply move on to the next candidate who is much easier to handle.

Don’t Be Overly Enthusiastic

It’s important to show excitement for the job in an interview, but if you go through the entire conversation with a giant smile plastered on your face, you’ll come across as too intense, insincere, or downright weird.  You’re interviewing for a job, so try to be serious too.

Don’t Go Overboard with Questions

At some point during the interview, you’ll have the chance to ask a few of your own questions.  It’s crucial to have at least one or two of them ready, and these should be intelligent and relevant.  However, keep in mind that if you start barraging the interviewer with queries – especially if you’re simply asking these to prolong face time  – you’ll probably get on the other person’s nerves.  Asking too many questions can hurt you just as much as not asking any.

Knowing how to behave in an interview is a tricky matter – you want to go in and out with a bang, so that you stand out amidst the other candidates; but you don’t want to go so over-the-top that you offend or annoy.  Probably the best thing to keep in mind is that a job interview is about selling yourself to a company in a professional manner, and that the time to express your individuality and let down your guard will come later.

Good luck,

The Doostang Team

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Private Equity Analyst, Atlanta, GA – Top Boutique Private Equity Firm seeks a Private Equity Analyst.


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Investment Banking Analyst, Greenwich, CT – Technology-Focused M&A Investment Banking Firm seeks an Analyst.


Market Research Associate, Chicago, IL – Premier Multi-Disciplinary, Employee-Owned Consulting Firm seeks Market Research Associate.


Intern, New York, NY – Growth Private Equity Firm seeks Full-Time Intern.


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Doostang New Jobs This Week: February 28 – March 6


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Healthcare Analyst, New York, NY – Top-Tier Hedge Fund seeks Healthcare Analyst.


Management Development Associate, Los Angeles, CA – Top Industrial Supply Company seeks Management Development Associate.


Real Estate Private Equity Associate, Washington, DC – Well-Capitalized Real Estate Investment Manager seeks a Real Estate Private Equity Associate.


Healthcare Strategy Consultant, Burlington, MA – Top 50 Strategy Consulting Firm seeks Healthcare Strategy Consultant.


Associate – Technology Investment, Baltimore, MD – Top-Tier Entertainment Firm seeks Financial Analyst.


Management Development, Atlanta, GA – Preeminent Equipment Manufacturer & Distributor seeks Management Training.


Internship, Philadelphia, PA – Prominent Financial Consultancy seeks Intern.