Engineers, capable and confident, how could it go so wrong at interview?
You know every component of machines, but do you know how to succeed at interviews?
I have had the opportunity to be part of the interview process as an interviewer and also a candidate too.
I’ve been part of panels large enough to form a small government and small enough too. Most of my interviewing these days is by Skype, or conference call, with one or two people. The world of interviewing has changed.
From my experience I think I can now sum up, fairly credibly, what will make a difference for you to achieve success at your next interview?
Some people think they can wing it! Perhaps these same people think that a successful interview is one that they answer all the questions and provide all the information successfully and that is enough to land the job. Well, no it won’t.
However, it really isn’t what you know that is important, it is how you communicate what you know, and how you present yourself, that will make all the difference.
Let’s talk about the details.
It’s essential that you’re familiar with the interview location. If you haven’t been there before then make a practice run some time before. Nothing worse than arriving late, or worse still, doing a ‘no show’. It certainly is difficult to overcome this. It can be done, but takes an understanding interviewer to give a second chance.
Remember that everything you do at the interview demonstrates how you will be as part of the team. So if you’re late for something as important as your interview, chances are that you will be late for your clients too.
Confirm the interview time
Confirm close to the interview day if it was organised a few weeks ahead. There really isn’t any excuse for getting the time incorrect and turning up late or not at all.
Phoning to confirm shows that you are organised, focus on details, and that you actually care.
Find out who will be interviewing you, their roles in the company, as this will give you valuable information about their questioning focus during the interview.
Know your own CV
You may think this is strange but there have been times when I’ve wondered if I have the correct CV to match the person seated in front of me.
By knowing your own CV I mean that you confirm the information within the CV when you answer questions and you can elaborate on information too.
Be familiar with your CV
Refer to parts of it during the interview. Some candidates make the mistake thinking that the panel will know the CV but to be honest, after reading CVs and interviewing many candidates, it is very difficult to remember individual CVs.
Respond to questions as though none of the panel have seen your CV! It well may be true.
Make a list!
Note the most important pieces of information about your experience that you really want to share during the interview. Things that will demonstrate your knowledge and skills that are relevant to the role you’re applying for. At the end of the interview when asked if you have anything further to add, check your list and share anything that you’ve not had the chance to share.
This is extremely important. Make sure that you’ve researched the company’s product thoroughly, their website, their market and main distributors or clients. Refer to this information when appropriate during the interview. No company wants to hire someone who has little interest in their company. So go prepared as though you are already working there.
Make connections between skills required in your current role and those of the new role. This needs some preparation before the interview, of course. Go through the Job Description of the new role and make notes of similarities with your current role.
Knowledge of potential clients and their competitors
Do some research about who potential clients could be and their competitors. Use your network in your current industry. Be prepared to share potential opportunities with the panel. Use examples from your experience.
Share how you can bring some fresh insights about the role and its potential.
Demonstrate how your knowledge and experience will bring fresh insights to the role – use examples from your own experience.
Start how you aim to finish.
Be yourself and not what you think your interviewers may want. You will rarely successfully second guess their thinking.
Present yourself with confidence in your abilities and readiness for taking on the role.
Be aware of your physical presence.
Body language (or poor body language) is an essential part of the interview process. Sit tall and slightly forward. Make eye contact with the person asking the question and include others when responding. Make sure you are dressed professionally, with clean and pressed suit or trousers and shirt. I always think that you should dress for the role above the one you’re applying for.
Remember that body language is very important. It sounds absurd but I know that candidates have missed on opportunities because of not presenting well.
Demonstrate your sincere interest in the role.
Make is clear that you’re interested. I’ve had companies refuse candidates on the grounds that the candidate didn’t seem enthusiastic for the role. If you put into action the points above you will demonstrate interest.
Further to this……..
Thank the panel for the opportunity, and that you will look forward to hearing of your decision.
Author: Dianne Rowe.
Dianne is an Executive & Leadership Coach for Engineers (and other clever people) & lead recruiter at Rowe & Co, Global Search Consultants in Oil & Gas, Power & Water.
Dianne knows that engineers have a tendency to undersell their skills and knowledge causing them to be conservative in their career aspirations. Leadership coaching with Dianne Rowe can help you to see your strengths and learn to expand and grow, both personally and professionally.