The Out of Control Interview
Maria Fernandez is a bright, popular, and well-informed mechanical engineer who graduated with an engineering degree from State University in June 2012. During the spring preceding her graduation, she went out on many job interviews, most of which she thought were conducted courteously and were reasonably useful in giving both her and the prospective employer a good impression of where each of them stood on matters of importance to both of them. It was, therefore, with great anticipation that she looked forward to an interview with the one firm in which she most wanted to work: Apex Environmental. She had always had a strong interest in cleaning up the environment and firmly believed that the best use of her training and skills lay in working for a firm like Apex, where she thought she could have a successful career while making the world a better place.
The interview, however, was a disaster. Maria walked into a room where five men- the president of the company, two vice presidents, the marketing director, and another engineer- began throwing questions at her that she felt were aimed primary at tripping her up rather than finding out what she could offer through her engineering skills. The questions ranged from being unnecessarily discourteous (“Why would you take a job as a waitress in college if you’re such an intelligent person?”) to be irrelevant and sexist (“Are you planning on settling down and starting a family any time soon?”). Then, after the interview, she met with two of the gentlemen individually (including the president), and the discussions focused almost exclusively on her technical expertise. She thought that these later discussions went fairly well. However, given the apparent aimlessness and even mean-spiritedness of the panel interview, she was astonished when several days later she got a job offer from the firm.
The offer forced her to consider several matters. From her point of view, the job itself was perfect. She liked what she would be doing, the industry, and the firm’s location. And in fact, the president had been quite courteous in subsequent discussions, as had been the other members of the management team. She was left wondering whether the panel interview had been intentionally tense to see how she’d stand up under pressure, and, if so, why they would do such a thing.
1. How would you explain the nature of the panel interview marina had to endure? Specifically, do you think it reflected a well-thought-out interview strategy on the part of the firm or carelessness on the part of the firm’s management? If it were carelessness, what would you do to improve the interview process at Apex Environmental?
2. Would you take the job offer if you were Maria? If you’re not sure, what additional information would help you make your decision?
3. The job of applications engineer for which Maria was applying requires (a) excellent technical skills with respect to mechanical engineering, (b) a commitment to working in the area of pollution control, (c) the ability to deal well confidently with customers who have engineering problems, (d) a willingness to travel worldwide, and (e) a very intelligent and well-balanced personality. List 10 questions you would ask when interviewing applicants for the job.
I need 150-200 for each question.
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