Category: Interview experiences

Interviewee question: tell me about yourself

I just had an interview with a decent company. I think it went OK. I just want to ask your opinion on something.

In school, we had several accounting professors who were partners in big fours, some were CFOs, COO, and CAO. Basically they weren’t people from the street, they were successful individuals.

Whenever it comes to interview they always tell us to ASK QUESTIONS. Not only ask questions at the end, but also in the middle and in the beginning. They always put an emphasis on this.

Today I had an interview where the first question was tell me about yourself. After I finished answering, I asked the interviewer to tell me about herself. She gave me a smile like WTF you asking me questions/almost like rolling eyes, and did not answer the question.

Did I do something wrong? Should I have been one of those guys who should have waited until the end? I swear it was an awkward moment.

Well, yeah, you did something wrong. Asking questions is good advice but why would you ask her to tell you about herself?

You should be asking questions about the job and the company, not about person interviewing you. So the work environment matters but not specifically the personality of the interviewer. There are exceptions though – if you can ask the interviewer a question about them and the job, that’s good. Something like how long they’ve been there and how long they plan to remain (if the interviewer is leaving soon that might matter to you) could be appropriate. Something about their management style makes sense if you’d be working under the interviewer. Would you tell me what’s made you so successful here? would be a strong question to ask thanks to the embedded compliment. It doesn’t sound like ass-kissery but it ought to give the interviewer that warm fuzzy feeling that says you respect her.

Interview experience: Lotte Department Store Seoul (sales management)

The job aptitude test started at 7:50 AM and the interviews started at 9:15.

First interview

This was a high pressure interview where two workers grilled me. I remember a few questions:

Have you gotten any suggestions that you found hard to accept recently? How did you react?
Tell us about something you did creatively in a group.
Tell us about a time you were working ina group and had to make some changes.
Tell us about a time when you were group leader. How did you lead?
What personal skills do you have to make a good a group? Describe how you use these skills at the group’s first meeting.

Second interview (English skills)

Here I was one on one with a native speaker.

Introduce yourself.
Why did you apply for a position in sales management? What is sales management?
Tell me as much as you can about Lotte Department Store.
Tell me about your internship experience.
Tell me about your hobbies.

Third interview (discussion / debate)

They put six of us in a room and gave us a topic: The game industry is developing rapidly in Korea but we should make a bill to prohibit adolescents from accessing internet game sites to protect them. We had 10 minutes to think and then moved to the interview room with two interviewers. The put is in two groups, pro and con. The idea was to listen carefully to the opponents reach some sort of compromise.

Fourth interview

The final interview was the executive interview. There were three executives and three interviewees. This time the atmosphere was pretty relaxed.

Introduce yourself briefly.
What are your strong and weak points?
What do you think of our company president, Shin Guek Ho?
Do you know how many Lotte Department Stores there are in Korea?
Tell us about your volunteer experience. What did you learn from it?
What current issue are you interested in?
Tell us about IT technology and how we can use it in our department store.
What can you do better than other job applicants?

Interview experience: Daewoo International 2010 (Steel)

I was in the afternoon group so I arrived at noon and the interview started at 12:30. It was a personality interview where six executives asked questions of me. I was the only interviewee and the atmosphere was very heavy.

What do you know about our company? Tell us in English.
Why did you apply here?
What are our strong and weak points compared to our competitors?
Why did you apply for the steel sector?
Tell us as much as you can about the steel industry.
You have an interesting hobby. Why do like boxing and what have you learned from boxing?
How god is your English and do you speak other languages?
Tell us about a failure you’ve experienced.

Interesting that there weren’t many personality questions in the personality part of the interview.

Then they put me ina room with a laptop, gave me a topic, and 45 minutes to prepare a presentation. “What are the main issues of CEPA with India and what is your opinion? Suggest business strategies for our company.”

I used the net to do some research and created a PowerPoint presentation. Then I delivered a 5 minute presentation to 4 workers who asked some follow up question on my content.

Tell us more about the water business.
How did you think of trading cotton and silk between India and Korea?
Where did you get your information?
Tell us more about the natural gas business.
Sum up the presentation in Korean.

Interview experience: Daewoo International in Seoul, Korea

On April 29, 2010 I interviewed for my dream job at Daewoo International. Now that I’m working somewhere else, the interview remains a painful memory but I can’t deny that it was a learning experience.

I had to arrive at Daewoo Headquarters at 7:30 am. I arrived on time but nearly everyone else was early. There was coffee and Dunkin Donuts there for us. No one touched the donuts; we were all too nervous. We just sat there sipping coffee.

Thanks to alphabetical order I was one of the first to interview. There were five interviewers. First they asked me of my opinion of the Cheonan sinking in English. Then next questions were in Korean: Do I speak better Spanish or Arabic? How was my life in Sudan? When do I plan to get married?

Then I was guided to a computer lab to start preparing for the presentation part of the interview. Unfortunately, the topic I received was something for which I had not prepared: In the age when direct business between vendor and buyer is becoming more common, how can Daewoo as an agent maximize its role to seek profitability?

I had 50 minutes. I spent 20 on research, 10 on PowerPoint, and 20 on the script. They guided me to another waiting room where I had 30 minutes to stew. I presented to 5 interviewers who asked some questions regarding the presentation and about me after I’d finished.

The last step was a Spanish conversation test and it was fairly simple – What was the best trip you’ve ever taken? Compare life between Korea and Guatemala. What did you do to prepare for this interview?

It took about 4 hours in total so I was too exhausted for my afternoon class. The result wasn’t favorable and the process was stressful, but it became a useful experience for future interviews.