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Job Interviews

How to Prepare and Conduct Yourself

Having reached interview stage, this is the time for you the candidate to do yourself justice, and to prove to the interviewer the good judgement of your recruitment consultant in arranging the meeting.

The following suggestions will give you the confidence that you have prepared fully for your job interview/s, and are presenting yourself in a positive manner at every opportunity.

Preparation

  • Check out your route to your destination and the anticipated travelling time beforehand. Memorise the name and correct pronunciation of the person interviewing you to avoid embarrassment
  • Read up on the company (size, divisions, latest projects etc) before the meeting to demonstrate your genuine interest in working for them
  • Dress appropriately – if unsure ask your consultant for guidance. If you are coming straight from a construction site to attend an interview, it is courteous to inform the interviewer about this via your recruitment consultant beforehand
  • If it becomes unavoidable that you are going to be late, inform your recruitment consultant so they can liaise with the interviewer

Prepare Questions to Ask the Interviewer

The best questions often become apparent during the meeting. However it is always good practice to have a few basic questions that show you are interested in your potential new employer eg.

  • How do you divide your civil engineering and rail businesses up in operational terms?
  • How optimistic is the company about winning a significant slice of the water AMP6 contracts?
  • Once the current 5 MTR contracts all finish in Hong Kong, what other projects have you in the pipeline to move people onto?
  • What prospects for career progression are likely to be open to Project Managers with £20M road construction experience once this current job finishes?
  • What is the best thing you like about working for the company?
  • Why did you join this company yourself and how long have you worked here?

Answering Challenging Questions

Difficult questions can sometimes be asked more to test how you respond to an awkward situation rather than the interviewer looking for you to supply a ‘correct’ answer.

  • Avoid detailed negative comments about any previous employers as this can reflect badly on you
  • Consider your answer before starting a response to a difficult question
  • If needed, ask the interviewer to explain the question further before starting to answer it

Manner During the Interview

  • Smile on first contact
  • Give a confident handshake
  • Speak to all the people in the interview room rather than just the person asking the question
  • Identify your potential line manager (if present) and establish a relationship with them

Enthusiasm and Professionalism

  • A valuable way to win over the interviewer is to let your general enthusiasm and professionalism become apparent.
  • If you have got the interview on the basis of your literacy, academic knowledge or the personal traits you have described in your profile, you need to showcase them now.
  • Many candidates, but in particular first time job seekers take the risk of putting too much emphasis on questions relating to salary and package; it is worth demonstrating what you can offer the company before discussing what you would like them to be paying you.
  • It is important to avoid coming across at interview as being a job hopper. This is particularly the case if the company is considering investing heavily in your training or providing course sponsorship.  Make a point of explaining the good reasons for changing jobs where appropriate

At the End of the Interview

  • If you have liked what you have heard say so. You could do this by summarising the points discussed that you most liked which join together your skills and the job available.
  • Politely ask about how the selection process will move forward from here. If it seems appropriate ask how many other people they are considering for the role/s available and when they plan to make a decision. This may prompt them to ask you if you are keen to be considered further, which is never a bad thing if you are interested.
  • If you are keen to be considered for the next stage of the selection process, say so. It is not impossible that discussing this could lead to you being verbally offered the job on the spot. Even if not, it usually reflects well on you if you are seen to be showing confidence and initiative as long as it is framed in a courteous manner.

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