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Preparing for Interviews in the Expert Witness Construction Sector

Interviews can be nerve-racking and stressful at the best of times. Often it’s the ‘not knowing’ that can cause candidates to become overly nervous to the point where it effects their decision making and performance at interview.

Not knowing what questions you will be asked…
Not knowing whether you will get on with the interviewer…
Not knowing whether any testing we be done during the interview…

I hope to provide some basic pointers in this blog, that may help candidates prepare when interviewing for roles within the specialist market of construction disputes that I recruit for.

Make Sure your CV has no mistakes


Before you even get to interview stage, this is critically important. It may sound completely obvious, however you would be amazed the amount of spelling and grammar mistakes I find on CVs on a weekly basis.

Whilst this may be overlooked in other areas of employment, it likely will not be when applying for expert witness roles.

I have known CVs be rejected purely on spelling mistakes alone. Don’t allow yourself to miss out on opportunities due to such a basic error.

Finally, keep your CV neat. Use one continuous font; do not use multiple colours and try and stick to a simple and tidy format throughout.

Be prepared for a 2 or 3 stage interview process


Whilst I have known candidates to be lucky enough to receive and offer after a single interview within this sector, I find this to be an extremely rare occurrence.

Most clients that I work with tend to have at least 2 stages to their interview process, and in many cases even 3 stages or more.

Some of the clients I work with may be happy to conduct one of the stages via phone, or give you a case study or similar test/assessment to do from home. So you may not necessarily have to schedule to take 3 days off work to attend their offices on separate occasions. However, you do need to prepare that an interview process can span over several weeks rather than days. Please factor this in to your decision on when to start your search if you are working to a particular desired start date.  The best jobs do sometimes come to those that are prepared to wait and be patient as you pass through a rigorous assessment process.

Be prepared to be tested


The vast majority of employers within the expert witness sector within the construction industry disputes sector will expect you to undertake at least one test as part of their interview process. Based on the clients I work with, below are a few examples of the types of tests that may be carried out:

  • Problem Solving
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Excel Proficiency
  • Written/grammar testing
  • Attention to detail testing
  • Mathematical testing
  • Case Study Testing

Don’t worry, companies will not look to test candidates on all of the above. These are just a selection of the types of tests that are carried out by various employers within the sector. It is likely you’ll be asked to do a couple of the above at interview stage and the tests you are asked to complete can depend on the level of seniority that you operate at. Several clients I work with, will also ask you to complete a case study. This may be while attending an interview, whilst others will allow this to be completed in your own time and returned to them.

Although you will likely not be tested on all of the above, I think the skills and competences are rather telling and quite useful to candidates looking to move into or within this sector, to understand what employers value in candidates.

The key thing to remember though, is that the vast majority of employers will advise you prior to the interview if they will be expecting you to complete any tests during that meeting.

Construction Dispute Case Studies


Being asked to carry out some form of task in relation to an example dispute case study (often details of a project & dispute) is common amongst a number of clients that I work with.

Each client I work with have individual case studies that they will issue to candidates. They’re often divided into Quantum or Delay orientated examples of projects and / or disputes and you will be asked to prepare a short piece of written work in relation to each individual piece.

These case studies can be used to assess:

  • Technical knowledge
  • Critical thinking
  • Planning skills
  • Written English skills
  • Analytical skills

You may be asked to carry out a case study whilst at the client’s office, or you may be able to complete it in your own time from home depending on the employer. If you are asked to complete a case study, it will often be asked at the early stages of an interview process, so it can be referred to later on in the process by hiring managers.

Be Prepared to Show Examples of Your Work


If you’ve worked in the expert witness sector within construction disputes before and have been involved in drafting / writing of reports, then be prepared to show the best examples of your work.

Nothing gives employers the confidence to hire someone quite like seeing that they’ve previously written sections of reports to a high standard.

It would be useful to volunteer this information if you have it, however be prepared for some employers to ask to see examples of your previous work regardless of whether it’s volunteered or not.

Whilst they will appreciate that there will be sensitive information within the document, if asked to provide previous work, you will be asked to submit a redacted version of your work.

To save yourself time, it may be worth having some redacted examples of your work saved for future use.

Conclusion


I hope the above gives you some indication of what will be expected of you to during the process to secure a role in the expert witness professional sector and some useful pointers of how you can be best prepared for the application and interview process.

As an experienced recruiter in the construction claims, delay and disputes sector, part of my role is to guide candidates that I am working with through the hiring process in the hope of giving the best candidates the best chance to succeed at interview and progress their careers as far as possible.

In addition to the above, Maxim Recruitment have some general tips on how to prepare and conduct yourself during an interview, which you may find useful that can be found at: https://www.maximrecruitment.com/career-advice/job-interviews/ .

If you’re interested in reviewing your options within the expert witness sector within the construction industry in the UK or internationally, Maxim Recruitment have a wide variety of Quantum and Delay orientated roles in the UK. These can be viewed HERE https://www.maximrecruitment.com/quantum-delay-claims-and-dispute-jobs .  Once you have submitted your CV via the Maxim website and I have reviewed your CV, I can do my best to help your career in the expert witness sector as much as I can.

About The Author

Stuart Hackett
Senior Recruitment Consultant, UK

I am based from the Maxim Recruitment head office in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire and I specialise in the recruitment of quantum and delay, claims and expert witness professionals in the UK and Overseas.  With over 11 years experience spent recruiting construction professionals, I have an extensive knowledge of the construction industry and an enviable network of reputable clients and contacts, allowing me to find my candidates the right position with highly desirable employers.

Latest UK Quantity Surveying Jobs: https://www.maximrecruitment.com/quantum-delay-claims-and-dispute-jobs 
Email: stuart@maximrecruitment.com

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