Tips from a Serial Job Interviewer

By Adam Rubenfire for The Wall Street Journal

Sofia Faruqi went through 100 job interviews so you don’t have to.

interview panelFrom 2007 to 2013, as she worked her way through school, Faruqi, 28, interviewed at 40 different firms in the financial-services industry. Eleven of those firms offered her a job, and she accepted four of those offers, including one for her current job. She now works as a portfolio manager at Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge, an asset management firm in Boston—and informally advises job seekers on the side.

She recently spoke with At Work for one more interview. Edited excerpts follow.

WSJ: You must have a good answer to that perennial interview opener: “So, tell me about yourself.” So, tell us about yourself.

Faruqi: I am originally from Pakistan, and grew up in the Middle East. I got a scholarship to study in the U.S. at Dartmouth, and that’s how I came here. After undergrad, I started doing investment banking at JPMorgan JPM +0.17% in New York, and then during the financial crisis of 2009 I discovered that my passion was in the stock market and investing. So, I joined the investment team at a pension fund in Toronto, and that later led me to business school at Wharton, during which I worked at a hedge fund in San Francisco. After that, I managed money for a client for a few months after business school, and then in February I started at Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge.

WSJ: What do interviewers really want to know when they ask that?

Faruqi: It depends. Some interviewers are looking to get to know you and see where you come from and the path you’ve taken. Other interviewers just want a summary of your most recent experience.

WSJ: Over the course of 100 interviews, you’ve been asked a lot of questions. Which ones caught you by surprise?

Faruqi: The ones that caught me by surprise were the ones that were either really good or really bad. Some of the best that InterviewI’ve been asked were: “What values did you grow up with? What makes you proud of who you are?” Also, “What’s the most exaggerated point on your résumé?”

WSJ: That last one is bold.

Faruqi It’s a good question, because all résumés have some level of exaggeration. It’s really good to just ask that outright.

In terms of the worst questions, one was “Your resume says you speak French. So, let’s do this interview in French.” Another horrible one was, “Will you go out with me?” That only happened once, so it’s a very rare thing to happen, but not great. You always have to keep your composure, no matter what happens.

WSJ: What’s the oddest thing an interviewer has asked you to say or do?

Faruqi: A recruiter once asked me to build a model in Excel. That is not unusual in itself. The odd thing is that I filled out the spreadsheet with gibberish, and I still got the job. The model was supposed to be of a particular consumer segment, and at the time I just didn’t know how to do that, so I just …Read the rest of this article

Advertisements

About facetteam
FACET is a human resources consulting firm specializing in the four phases of the Talent Management Cycle: Attract, Retain, Develop, and Transition. The Group's practice specifically addresses facilitation of smooth career/life transitions for individuals leaving organizations as well as career management, leadership training and coaching for employees whose assignments within organizations are impacted by change or other organizational needs. By application of several directions of pursuit, the corporation accomplishes a single goal: maximum utilization of human resource potential and productivity through efficient hiring, training and career development. The Facet Group was founded in 1981 and is headquartered in Lafayette, Louisiana. As an ARBORA GLOBAL PARTNER, The Facet Group shares a parallel philosophy of the highest quality and standards with other owner invested firms. Through this network, we provide services worldwide. To address organizational needs outlined by its clients, The Facet Group offers a comprehensive package of workplace consulting services, focusing on providing high quality, creative programs which favorably impact the bottom line.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: