Updated on August 22nd, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 35
Explain to me the 80/20 rule.
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How to Answer
Assure the interviewer that you are familiar with basic statistical concepts and practices by briefly walking them through your understanding of the 80/20 rule.
"My understanding of the 80/20 rule is that the most reasonable first steps you take with your data set will usually bring you 80% of the way to a solution. The remainder of your work is the last 20%."
Would you say you are creative? When have you shown creativity?
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How to Answer
As a Statistician you will often need to think outside the box. This take creativity! Talk to the interviewer about a time when your creative side presented itself in the workplace.
"I would certainly consider myself creative. Most of my life I have spent time in the arts and I enjoy being creative in my off time. I exercise creativity every time I walk into a new project. I need to assess the situation, create an outline, discover key elements of the project and put everything together like a story in the end."
As a Statistician, the most important thing about one's job is to understand data, and interpret findings. Talk to the interviewer about the ways you feel statistics are important.
"I feel that statistics are incredibly important because they show the truth from data and help us to predict the most likely scenarios. Without statistics, we wouldn't have weather forecasts, medical studies, genetic predictions, or even the stock market. Statistics allow us to prepare and improve."
6. How would you rate your education? What things would you like to improve upon? As a Statistician, where do you feel you had the most room for growth after completing your post-secondary education? Talk to the interviewer about the areas that you feel most challenged and if there are any additional courses that you would like to take. Here is an answer example: "I completed my Bachelor of Mathematics at MIT and would grade my experience as 10/10. If I could choose any area to improve my skills, coming out of university, I would choose to take additional coursework on topology and chaos theory."7. Do you have experience working with SQL? SQL programming language is a very important skill and a great asset to any resume. Talk to the interviewer about your abilities with SQL. Here is an answer example: "I have intermediate level experience with SQL and have worked with it for approximately 6 years with company ABC and company XYZ."8. How do you like to present your data findings to your coworkers? Have you ever presented your data to your co-workers? Which way do you prefer to present your findings, and why? Here is an answer example: "When I present my data findings to my coworkers I like to make it easy to follow, interesting, and engaging. By using graphs and charts as much as possible, I can keep my coworkers engaged during my presentation."9. How would you explain a p-value to a novice? Assure the interviewer that you are familiar with basic statistical concepts and best practices by briefly walking them through your understanding of what p-value means and how you would make it an easy-to-understand concept to a layman. Here is an answer example: "If I had to explain p-value to a novice I would use the simple explanation from Wikipedia that says p-value is best explained as the probability of obtaining a result equal to or "10. Why is mean square error a bad measure of model performance? Assure the interviewer that you are familiar with basic statistical concepts and best practices by briefly walking them through your understanding of why mean square error is not an ideal measure of model performance. Here is an answer example: "I feel that mean square error relies too heavily on unknown factors which makes it an unreliable measure to many industries."11. Why did you enter a career in statistics? What is it about a career in statistics that was enticing to you? Talk to the interviewer about why you chose this career path. Be sure to show your passion for your career when you answer this question. Here is an answer example: "I entered into a career in statistics because of my interest in data and analytics and the science behind it. We cannot function without statistics for areas in finance, medical, and investigatory. I find statistics absolutely fascinating."12. What is your dream data set, if you could have access to anything? When you answer this question be sure to tie in some of the work you know you would be performing if you were hired by this organization.
Talk about your dream data set and a bit about why you chose that set. The interviewer would like to see some passion in your answer. Here is an answer example: 13. What do you know about our company? By researching the interviewing company, you are expressing your interest to the interviewer. Show that you are engaged in the process by talking about the research you have conducted on their organization. Here is an answer example: "I know that your company has won many awards over the years for being a Top Employer and for profits in your industry. I have researched your online presence including social media and have come across a very positive message."14. What is model fitting? Assure the interviewer that you are familiar with basic statistical concepts and practices by briefly walking them through your understanding of model fitting. Here is an answer example: "Model fitting, or statistical model fitting, comes from the idea that we cannot reverse engineer a law but we can reverse engineer a model from data. Model fitting shows us how to fit a model to data in just 3 steps. It's a vital concept for all Statisticians to know."15. Tell me about a data project you have done that was successful. What made it successful? In your career as a Statistician, which data project would you consider to be the most successful, and why? Be sure to display your passion for your work when you are answering this question. Here is an answer example: "My most successful data project was one I completed last year which was focused on assessing the effect of XYZ chemical on the genetic makeup of 4 different plant families. It was a success because our findings were new and we were able to make an argument towards banning the use of the chemical. This was a big win for me as I am an environmentally focused individual."16. Tell me about yourself. Take a few minutes to tell the interviewer a few things about yourself. You can begin with your recent education, family life, volunteer work, or talk about your travels. Bring up anything that is interesting and highlights your ability to be a responsible, reliable, and bright individual. Here is an answer example: "A bit about me - I love to travel, read, and conduct research. I am a recent grad from Columbia University and have spent the past 12 months traveling the world. It was the best experience that I could have given myself as I was able to learn so much from seeing how the rest of the world lives. I returned to the US just last month and have been actively looking for work the past couple of weeks. I am looking forward to getting into the routine of a career again."17. What makes you a great problem solver? Consider the skills and qualities that help you successfully face problems and know how to deal with them. Your keen eye for detail and ability to see opportunity where others can only focus on the problem are skills that you can cultivate through practice. Employers want to see your methodical approach to solving problems step-by-step. Demonstrate that you are proactive, noticing problems before they become an issue to impress your interviewer. Share your strengths as a problem solver and your ability to innovate and create solutions. Here is an answer example: 18. What excites you? Every hiring manager wants to know how to best keep you motivated and excited on the job. Talk to the interviewer about what excites you and keeps you happy at work. Here is an answer example: "I have a healthy competitive edge, even if its a personal competition. For me, I am excited and motivated by winning; whether that be winning over a new client, exceeding my KPI's or being recognized for a job well done. I am also motivated and energized through great teamwork."19. Rate your communication skills from 1-10 with proper examples backing your given rating. On a scale of 1-10, how skilled are you in communication? Why did you choose that particular rating for yourself? Here is an answer example: "I rate my communication skills as a 9/10 as I will, on occasion, have times when I am not as clear as I would like to be. My supervisor and co-workers will attest to my clear and concise communication skills. Because I am an open leader, my team will let me know if I need to clarify anything."20. What are your salary expectations? The best thing that you can do when asked about your salary expectations are to be open and honest about what you are currently earning, and where you want to be in the future. Here is an answer example: "I can share with you what I am currently earning, and where I would like to be in my next position. Currently, I am earning a base salary of $78K plus an annual bonus opportunity of an additional 10%. Last year my earnings were $85K and I'd like to earn a bit above that in my next position."21. What leadership qualities do you possess? Some great qualities of a leader are:
- Being someone who people naturally want to follow
- Exceptional interpersonal skills
- Strong relationship building skills
- Taking ownership for the team's errors and mistakes
- Excelling at motivating others
- Providing kudos to your team
- Knowing how to select and hire the right people to join the team
- Having a vision for the future
These are just a few to get started! Which qualities do you most identify with? We recommend picking about 5 qualities, and feel free to think beyond this list. Tell the interviewer your 5 things, and share your perspective on why you feel you have the quality. For example, you may state, "I feel that I am good at motivating a team. Last year, I motivated my sales team every day, and we ended up being the top sales team in the company for the year!" Here is an answer example: "I feel that I am good at motivating a team. Last year, I motivated my sales team every day, and we ended up being the top sales team in the company for the year!"22. Tell me about a time you led a difficult project. If your job requires you to lead teams through projects and accomplishing goals, brace yourself to answer questions about the ways you have done these things in the past. Reflect on your past experience to provide an example that demonstrates your strengths when it comes to leading teams. You want to provide an example that highlights your abilities as a leader. Think about some of the qualities that are necessary for you and your team to be successful. For example, if you are leading a construction team on the build of a new office downtown, you will need to be able to communicate what needs to happen, when, why and how in order for the construction to be done the best way. You will also need to be able to listen to your team and have the flexibility to make changes if you need to. Share some of these kinds of qualities to show how you have proven yourself an effective leader when leading difficult projects. Here is an answer example: 23. What are your career aspirations beyond this job? Everyone has some sort of dream or aspirations on where their career could go. When you think about the future, what comes to mind? Openly share with the interviewer where you'd like to see your career take you. Be sure to include how you feel this particular company would fit in with those particular aspirations. Here is an answer example: "I have some pretty lofty career aspirations and after researching your organization and learning more about this position, I really feel that this role fits with my future aspirations. I would love to see myself promoted based on my hard work and results, eventually managing my own branch, then become a regional director."24. How do you like to be recognized for your accomplishments? We all like to be recognized in some way for our accomplishments in the workplace. Share with the interviewer how you would like to be recognized for your hard work. Through gifts? Financial perks? Public recognition? Kind words? Title promotions? Here is an answer example: "I am very much an over-achiever and find that the best way for me to be recognized for a job well done is to be given words of kindness and recognition. I am easily encouraged and the best reward for me is to know that my hard work is being noticed."25. Tell me about a contribution you made to the last team you worked on. It is important to show the interviewer that you are a team player. Talk about a time that you were recently expected to achieve a goal in a team setting. How did you go over and above to ensure that your contribution was felt? Here is an answer example: "Last month our company asked upper management to complete a full inventory audit. There were 4 of us in total and so we broke the audit requirements into shifts. These shifts had to take place when the warehouse was closed. In the end, there was one additional shift that nobody wanted to take. I volunteered myself to do that shift to show my dedication to my job and my co-workers. The gesture was appreciated and the audit was completed on time."26. What is your biggest strength when it comes to mathematics? Mathematics is a vital skill as a Statistician. Talk to the interviewer about which of your math skills are the strongest. You can choose more than one! Don't be afraid to brag about yourself a little bit. Here is an answer example: "I feel that my greatest strengths in mathematics are Multivariate and Vector Calculus and Linear Algebra. When you call my references they will likely say the same."27. Tell me about your post-secondary education. Briefly walk the interviewer through your post-secondary education and discuss any desire to continue that education. You can also discuss your best, and most challenging courses, how you compared to your peers, and any awards or recognition you may have earned along the way. Here is an answer example: "I attended MIT in 2006 where I earned my Bachelor of Mathematics. My best course was Linear Algebra and I graduated 2nd in my class. I have considered taking evening and weekend courses towards a Masters' Degree and would certainly look into that further should it be a valuable asset to you down the road."28. What do you think our company can offer that you are not receiving in your current role? A potential new employer always wants to understand your motivation for making a move. They need to be assured that what their organization offers is going to be fulfilling enough for you to stay long-term. Avoid speaking poorly of your current employer but be open and honest re: your needs. Here is an answer example: "I feel that your company can offer the growth opportunity and more complex projects that I am not offered in my current role. I am excited to move forward in my career and would be thrilled to grow within your organization."29. Tell me the last time you had completely unexpected results. What did you do after? As a Statistician, you know that every project is different and some may be more unpredictable than others. How do you react when you come into a completely unexpected set of results? Here is an answer example: "The last time I came across unexpected results was during a project focused on the activity patterns of animals in captivity. Believing most animals to be creatures of habit, I was surprised when the study showed differently for some species. I triple checked my data before presenting the findings."30. What is your favorite algorithm? Can you explain it to me? It is a great skill to be able to simply explain an algorithm in a basic conversation. Show the interviewer that you are capable of doing so by briefly discussing your favorite algorithm. Here is an answer example: "My favorite algorithm is The Sieve of Eratosthenes. It is a simple algorithm used for finding all prime numbers up to any given limit. It's an ancient concept that is very intriguing to me."31. What was the last thing that you did for fun? It's great to be a dedicated worker but how do you ensure that you also allow yourself to have some fun now and then? Talk to the interviewer about recent ways that you let loose. Be sure to keep your answer workplace appropriate! Here is an answer example: "Last weekend I went with some friends to the mountains to go climbing. I will do that a couple of times per month for fun."32. Do you have experience with database design? As an experienced Statistician you will be able to easily display your knowledge with database design. Assure the interviewer that you have the experience required for the job. Here is an answer example: "I have approximately 4 years experience in producing detailed data models. I am very confident in my abilities with database design."33. What do you dislike the most about being a Statistician? If you could change anything about your career, what would it be? When you talk to the interviewer about your dislikes in this career path be sure to turn it into a positive; avoid complaining and do not state any factors that would make you a poor candidate for the job. Here is an answer example: "What I found most challenging when I first started my career as a Statistician, was the inactivity I faced being behind a computer for most of the day. If I could pick out anything it would be that it's a sedentary line of work. I have started to go for runs during my lunch hour to break up the day. That has helped a lot."34. What do you enjoy most about your career as a Statistician? What makes you happy to come to work every day? Why are you excited to talk about your job to your friends and family? Assure the interviewer that you have a genuine passion and interest in this career path. Here is an answer example: "I most enjoy being a Statistician when I am working on a study that I am passionate about. Helping to come to important conclusions through medical data studies have been the most rewarding experiences in my career so far because the findings can be groundbreaking. I find that very exciting."35. Why are you looking for a new position? Career progression is an important topic in an interview. Be honest with the hiring manager about your career movement. Avoid speaking poorly of your most recent employer and be diplomatic in your answer. Keep it short and simple. Here is an answer example: "I have been with my current company for 4 years now and have received 3 promotions in that time. There is nowhere further that I can go in order to grow my career which is why I am looking for a new opportunity."
Author of Statistician Answers and Questions
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace.
Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career.
Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise.
Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
First written on: 09/15/2010 Last modified on: 08/22/2018
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