Interviewing Tips for the Construction Professional:
Prior to the Interview:
- Remember to plan ahead and do a little homework. You need to research the company and the position to which you are applying. Be ready to share past career accomplishments through specific examples and try to tie them into the needs of the employer.
- If you are new to interviewing or feel the need to brush up, it is always a good idea to role play (rehearsing). Practice answering questions.
- Make sure you have good directions and phone numbers for where you will be interviewing. If you do not know where the office is located, take a few moment to drive by the office to make sure you know how to get there. It is crucial to be on time!
- Dress for success. Get your hair cut, trim facial hair, take your suit to the cleaners and have it freshly pressed, shine your shoes etc. Remember, you only have one change for a first impression.
- Make sure you show up a few minutes in advance, collect your thoughts and take a few deep breaths.
During the Interview:
- Give a firm handshake at the beginning and the end of the interview with everyone in the room (should you be interviewing with more than one person.
- Maintain Solid Eye Contact with your interviewer. Show them that you want the job with your interest.
- Keep a positive attitude. Avoid negative comments about your past employers.
- Show that you can adapt - Remember to be sensitive to the style of your interviewer. Play attention to the details of their dress, office furniture, and general décor which will give you helpful clues to assist you in tailoring your presentation.
- Relate your experiences to what the company does. Focus on your achievements relevant to the position. Use examples of your work and relate it to what they build. How have you helped your prior company make money, save money and solve problems?
- Encourage the interviewer to share information about himself and his company with you. Demonstrate your interest in him. Ask him "Why you do like working here" or "What does it take to be a successful project manager with your company?"
The Salary Question
The salary question deserves special mention. You need to answer this question, if asked, with caution. A careful and well-reasoned answer will present you in a good light as a smart, shrewd business person who will represent the company's interests with intelligence, while a careless answer can damage your prospects for the position. If you state a specific dollar figure, it may be lower than what the company would have offered you had you not said anything. Or it could be more than what the company could offer initially, yet there may be other mitigating factors that would still make the position attractive to you. In either case, you lose. The best answer is always something like this: "The roles, responsibilities and future potential with your company are more important to me than the salary. I am open to a fair and reasonable offer."
After The Interview
Always send a follow-up thank you letter. It has been our experience that this carries a great deal of weight with the employer. It is such a small thing, yet it is something few people take the time to do, even though it can be the deciding factor in getting an offer if you are competing with equally qualified candidates. It is very important, however, that the grammar, spelling, and punctuation be perfect. If this is not your strong area, have someone proofread your letter. If time is short, a well worded email is appropriate. If time allows, a typed or hand written note leaves an even more impactful impression. When was the last time you received a hand written note on excellent quality stationary? When you did, how quickly did you open that envelope? It's the attention to details that separates you from the others interviewing.