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Solutions in the Round -- Professional Development--Stay Calm and Ace That Interview

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From the WUSS abstract for this topic

Interviewing is a necessity for obtaining a job, but it's an area of dread for many people. Collectively, SAS users at WUSS have thousands of interviews under their belt, but you individually may only have a handful so far. Come share your experiences and get tips on how to prepare for and handle the interview process. Solutions in the Round (SITR) is a roundtable format section where attendees discuss approaches and solutions to a programming problem or SAS topic. Users from different perspectives and all experience levels are encouraged to participate.

Discussion at WUSS

Common interview mistakes:

  • Dress inappropriately – don’t wear perfume or cologne
  • Late for interview
  • Ill-prepared; not familiar with company interviewing with, etc.
    This is a major problem – if you are interviewing with a company you should know how they came to be
    Also, look into how the company is doing financially; well-funded?
    Startup companies must succeed within 1 – 2 years; if the company is not rising by then it may be a yellow flag
  • Come out and say you don’t want to work a lot of hours, etc.

Interview Strategies:

  • A thorough interview can be extensive to ensure candidate possesses all of the skills that they claim to have
    Consider additional skills aside from SAS programming when going into an interview
  • Base answers around what is appropriate for the job
  • Show that you are able to think in a productive environment; don’t just list off everything that you know, answer the actual questions directly
    When you go on and on, it appears to a hiring manager that you don’t know the answer
  • Industry can be taught – it’s harder to teach someone how to behave
    How can I be part of the solution? Don’t make the initial interview all about yourself
    Think about the client(potential employer) and how you can help them
  • S.T.A.R. Technique
    Great approach for answering “character questions”
    Situation, task, action, result.
  • Students – list internships and research projects; papers submitted can be listed even if they have not yet been presented
  • Show that you have an understanding of the job and the challenges you will face
  • Google is your friend: e.g. how to prepare for a phone interview, Skype interview (appearance and be mindful of what’s behind you!), panel interview
    Panel interviews can be intimidating (articles exist on this subject)
    Stay calm, do not get excited or angry
  • Have some answers prepared for common questions such as:
    Why do you want to work here?
    Tell us one of your biggest failures
    Top 10 Interview Questions, e.g.:
  • If a job calls you and you may not be completely interested in the position, take the interview and learn from it!
    You will be a bit more polished each time you do it
  • When it comes to money, the first one to talk first always loses
  • Email follow-up Thank You or rapid handwritten (within 3 days of interview) won’t hurt your chances or getting hired, provided the
  • Thank You is well-written and has no grammatical errors
    This strategy is typically implemented after in-person interviews
  • Go to local SAS Users Groups meetings; recruiters often attend and may be hiring
  • Consider working with an agent
    Typically requires 3 – 8 years of experience
    There are SAS specialist recruiters!
    Staffing companies specialize in programming realms such as biostatistics
    Every single recruiter is on LinkedIn
  • SAS directory of partners is a great way to identify SAS partners that may be hiring

Prepare now for the future…

Further Discussion -- Open to All

Please join the conversation! Also, if you were one of the live participants, please feel free to correct any mistakes or omissions from our original discussion.