Tips for a successful first interview
FACE TO FACE. An interview is your opportunity to sell yourself, but it is also your chance to evaluate whether the job suits you. For this process to work effectively, a candidate for an engineering position must be adequately prepared to answer and to ask pertinent questions that provide the details necessary for both the hiring manager and the prospective employee to make an informed decision.
- Research the firm interviewing you. Study its website: looking at its mission and goals, examining prior projects and gaining an understanding of its specialties. Use this knowledge in your answers and in preparing your own questions.
- Understand the job description and its technical requirements. Be prepared to explain your technical strengths and give examples to show you have skills and experience relevant to the position. Brush up on any unfamiliar skills listed in the job description by researching and studying the topic thoroughly.
- Prepare an answer to this question: “Why should we hire you?” Your answer should highlight the specific personal qualities and professional qualifications that make you a better choice than any other candidates being considered.
- Plan to arrive 5-10 minutes early. If you are unfamiliar with the location, do a practice run (at the same time of day as your interview) to learn the route and the time required.
- Dress appropriately for the company’s culture. When in doubt, business attire is the best choice.
- Bring several hard copies of your resumé. There may be more than one person interviewing you and they may not have brought copies for themselves.
- Don’t fidget while waiting. That includes texting, checking email, etc., and be sure to turn your mobile phone off! Assume that you are being observed at all times. Project confidence and a calm demeanor. Give the impression that this interview is your highest priority.
- Speak with a clear and relaxed tone of voice. Practice some of your answers while looking into a mirror and pay attention to your facial expressions
- After the interview, send a handwritten note. Email is not personal enough for this purpose. Put some thought into what you say: thank the interviewer for the meeting, express your interest in the position and briefly reiterate why you are a good fit.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Craft detailed responses to these typical questions before the interview:
- How can you make their firm better?
- Why are you interested in engineering?
- Why do you want this job?
- Why are you leaving your current role?
Show interest by asking follow-up questions and additional questions you have prepared, such as:
- What kind of growth does the company expect during the next five years?
- What sets this firm apart from its competitors?
- What personality types succeed on your team?
- How will my success in the position be determined?
- What is the first major project you would expect me to handle?
- Which aspect of my background will help me succeed in this position?
Basic strategies for answering technical questions:
- If you know the answer, be precise and concise. It may help to use a whiteboard or draw a diagram on a pad to illustrate your points. When finished, ask if that was the answer the interviewer sought.
- What if you don’t know the answer? Be honest about it. Often, the interviewer will encourage a candidate to attempt an answer. In this instance, the interviewer is evaluating your approach to a problem. Display logic and reasonable thinking as you proceed.
WHY DO IT ALONE?
The team at Ware Technology Services is at your side throughout the job seeking process – helping you prepare your resumé, matching your skills to opportunities, recommending you to prospective employers, scheduling your interviews and following up with you and the interviewer to determine next steps. So, let’s go to work on this together.