• For those with wings fly to your dreams

    Interview tips

    I can admit, I feel a bit more qualified to write this post now that I have a permanent job. But to be fair to myself, I did manage to stay employed or in school full time (or both!) for most of the past 3 years.

    1. Dress to impress(yes even you) Some folk think the idea of dressing in a suit for interview is a bit old school but I still believe it says something about your respect for the company and yourself as a professional.  Even when I interviewed for restaurant jobs, I usually wore my low key brown suit, at least dress pants and a blazer.  In the Bay Area this is rare, I remember wearing 2 fairly conservative pants suits to my GRID interview wondering if I went overdressed.  For my Solar City interview I wore a business casual dress. I felt more comfortable since I knew most of the people who were interviewing me and I had a glimpse of the culture there. At least dress one step above what's the norm there. But unless you're going to have to audition your technical skills (installing solar, welding, lawn work, Hvac troubleshooting, etc.) please don't wear jeans.
    2. Do your research about the position and company - I know another stand-by but it stands.  By researching the company you never know what you'll find. Among other things I realized that CESC was behind the lighting audit at GRID and I mentioned it.  Doing research about your position helps you draw connections to past experience and school
    3. Have a questions, good questions! I knew that it was time for me to get hired when my questions were starting to be harder than the questions I was being asked.  I even started joke about it, but that's my nervous habit.  Some of my favourite questions were:
      • Why is this position currently open? How many positions are available (if it's a big company)
      • What would you say is the ratio of office to field work? (if applicable)
      • How would you describe the work culture here?
      • Who is the go-to person here? What skills make them so valuable?
      • What is your management style (if your potential supervisor is interviewing you)
      • What was it about my application/resume/reference that convinced you to interview me/ bring me back to the next phase? 
      • What are the next steps, when will I hear from you about the position? and if neccesary I understand there are many candidates, about how long till a decision is made?
    4. Send a Thank-you note/email - I sent mostly Thank-you emails no more than 24hrs out. Unless it's a Friday than you may want to aim for Monday morning so it's at the top of the inbox.
    5. If you're denied the position, reply (if possible) I realise sometimes even in interviews you get sent the noreply@companywhoismissingout.com but even then you can email the contact person.  
    6. Industry specific: since I apparently seemed to be fully embedded in the green industry, it's a small one and I always mentioned something like. "Perhaps I'll see you at X conference, event, etc." sometimes I knew I was going to see somebody at a specific event. 
    7. Non-profit specific - mention that you'd be interested in volunteering, perhaps helping the dept/position you were denied for, if anything you'll gain experience.



    About me

    I'm a 20-something Southern girl living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I've been working in the wild and wacky world of non-profit green construction in one way or the other for over 3 years. I'm also the owner of Oakland's own Engineered Cupcake.