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The 40 Best Questions to Ask in an Interview - How to Go Deeper Than "What's the Culture Like?"
When it comes to interviewing advice, there's plenty to go around for hiring managers. We've certainly covered our fair share here on the Review - none more popular than last year's 40 Favorite Interview Questions from Some of the Sharpest Folks We Know.
Many interviews will include a random question designed to test your critical thinking skills. As pointless as these may seem, they are a reality that you need to be prepared for. However, in addition to this, you'll find that preparing for these questions are actually useful in helping you think through how to solve complex business problems.
In other words, don't get frustrated.
Attached is the case interview guide published by Harvard's Management Consulting Club. It includes a review of strategic frameworks as well as numerous example cases.
Here is a simplified version of some of the frameworks, so use it as a refresher.
After all is said and done, we want you to be able to move on and get amazing internships that eventually lead to amazing full-time offers. Below are some principles to remember when you're in the market for an internship.
Golden Rule: Keep Your Bowl Face Up
You never know when rain is going to come. Business is constantly moving. You honestly never know where your next opportunity will come from. So the key is to always keep the door open and keep your bowl face up so you're ready for the rain.
- Always be courteous and polite in your business interactions. But then take the next step and actively try to help other people, whether it be helping them on off hours or hooking them up with an introduction to someone you know.
- Be involved, no matter what that looks like. That could be participating in extracurricular activities, on-campus clubs, societies, communities, etc. Try allocating some of your free time to side projects with other people or a book.
- Network! Just reach out and talk to people. This can be professionals in the industry or your fellow classmates.
- LinkedIn is going to be your best friend. LinkedIn actually has a great culture where professionals are willing to give back.
- Don't be shy to reach out to random people with something like, "Hey I'm a college student and I'm really interested in your company and the kind of work you do. Could we set up a time to chat for 10 minutes or so?"
- Here's why.
- Why do you think people are on LinkedIn publishing articles and stuff like that? It's because at a certain point in people's career, they start wanting to give back. Eventually, the satisfaction they get from helping other people becomes equal to the satisfaction they get from actually doing their job.
- Especially if you play the student card, most people would love to feel accomplished and distill their wisdom upon the minds of the rising generation.
- Post often on LinkedIn and use hashtags (totally the opposite of Twitter)
Looking for a Job: Black Market First
The reason we covered the Golden Rule and Networking first is because you need to understand how companies hire people.
What you're probably familiar with is going into a job posting site, whether through your school or otherwise, and looking for a job posting that fits what you want to do. What you don't know is that posting a job description on those sites IS A LAST RESORT FOR THESE COMPANIES. With the exception of some entry level jobs, most positions make it onto those job posting sites only after the company couldn't find someone on their own.
When a position opens up, this is how it usually works.
- The company first looks inside their own company to see if there's anyone that wants to rotate into that role
- If no one fits, the person in charge of hiring will ask their subordinates if they know anyone who would be interested in the job.
- If they still can't find anyone, then they'll chuck it onto a job posting website.
If you want to get a great role at a great company, it's only going to happen if you're in at step 2.
This is what I call the "Black Market" for jobs. These are jobs that people don't even know exist. These are jobs that you can only find if you know someone.
- Have a purpose for where you send your resume. Don't just jump at every opportunity. Actually think about whether you would like to work there and why. Interviewers can tell the difference between genuine interest and an hour on Google.
- Reach out to people you know (1st/2nd Connections on LinkedIn) who work there and ask meaningful questions about work there that actually matter to you. Show your thoughtfulness instead of trying to impress them with cool questions.
- Do your best to find out who is going to be interviewing you and, if possible, who else is being considered
- Look for commonalities that you have with your interviewers and make sure to talk about them.
- Look at what experiences other candidates have and think about how you can differentiate yourself from them. Especially look for those that have better prior experience than you and think about how you're going to position yourself relative to them.