Friday, August 1, 2014

Taking job interviews is good

I had a real job interview yesterday for a data scientist position in a (very well funded) startup. It was a short lunch meeting with the objective of "getting to know you". It was awkward and uncomfortable and I thought long and hard about writing this blog post.

So here's a list of things that were "off" and what I learned from it:

  • a meeting needs an objective that is predefined or at least specified at the start of the meeting. I learned that if there isn't one, I need to ask the other party to define one. It's like a friend of mine just wrote: "If you don't know the question how will you know if/when you get the answer?"
  • meeting for lunch is OK, but you need a place with limited noise. I learned that if I either organize or agree to a meeting in public space, I need to scout it out beforehand or be vocal about being bothered by the noise.
  • when you meet for lunch, organize the questions-answers so that everyone has a chance to enjoy or at least finish their meal. Once again it was a new experience for me and I'll verbalize this the next time.
  • have the courage to say "I don't think it's a good fit". Leaving with a "we might get back to you either before or after vacations or something, maybe" is just insulting. In future I will make a concluding remark myself if the other side is avoidant.
Interviewing for a position is a skill, from both sides of the table. Only way to get better is to practice. The experience I had yesterday was a good learning experience and I'll continue the journey :)

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