Interviews: advice for candidates

The ‘Views’ articles represent the opinion of the authors rather than being the official stated position of OSP Group Ltd. They are published by OSP Group Ltd to stimulate debate around key issues and challenges facing the UK construction industry.

Employers want to know about your attitude, temperament and personality as much as your technical skill. They will also be keen to know about your competence regarding site safety, whether you will fit into the existing team, whether you will be reliable, diligent and hardworking.

First impressions count
When you meet someone for the first time, whether at work or socially, first impressions count and you inevitably draw conclusions from superficial information such as hairstyle, clothing and body language. Therefore your physical appearance is particularly important in determining what someone thinks about you.

So, be smartly dressed, well-groomed, alert, sit up straight and make regular eye contact. Your objective should be to engage the interviewer and establish a personal connection. Be friendly and smile.

Preparation is key
Find out about the employer’s company as well as the specific project. Get onto the company’s website and read the About us section of the site.

Have a list of questions to ask. Inevitably the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions. Asking about the company’s approach to safety or sustainability demonstrates your interest and enthusiasm.

Find out as much as you can about the person or people interviewing you. Get onto LinkedIn and take notes on their qualifications and career path.

Take along a smart, bound copy of your CV and illustrations of previous projects. Make sure you take a notebook and pen and feel free to take notes during the meeting.

Allow plenty of time and get to the meeting early.

Conducting the meeting

Listen to questions carefully and give honest replies. No one expects you to be perfect and interviews respect honesty rather than boasting and fabrication.

Try and stay calm and relaxed in the meeting; this demonstrates that you are unflappable, confident and able to deal with pressure.

Think of the interview as a two-way process: you are interviewing the employer as much as he/she is interviewing you.
Never cut into the interviewer’s questions and always allow him/her to finish what he/she is saying.

If you are asked a difficult question it is better to take time in answering rather than looking like a rabbit caught in the headlights.

Avoid negative thoughts and ‘what-if-I-don’t-get-this-job’ scenarios. Think positively. As with successful athletes, visualise success.

Follow up
End the meeting with agreed actions by the interviewer and follow up after the meeting with a thank you email demonstrating your enthusiasm for the position. This is also an opportunity to get back with any further information that was requested. Keep your recruitment adviser informed of any direct communication with the employer.

If for whatever reason you don’t get the job, put it down to experience and move on to the next opportunity.

Guy Lane, Consultant
21st July 2018

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