Whether you’ve already signed up to a course with Access Training or are planning on doing so soon, if you’re planning a career change you will likely have an interview very soon. These interviews can be daunting, especially if you have been in a secure job for some time and are out of practice. But don’t worry – we’re here to help.
Here are seven top tips for mastering a job interview for a trade position:
1. Research the Organisation
The question “why do you want to work for us?” is common in interviews, and while you can spout a generic response, a more detailed answer will see you impress more. But, how can you do this without doing your research?
Before even applying for a position, it is important to research the company to find out if you’d like to work for such an organisation. Take a look at the company’s website, determine where it is based, and speak to your tutors or friends and family about the organisation’s reputation.
Then, once you’ve applied, delve a little deeper. Discover how large the organisation is, if it has won any awards and discover its true USPs. That way when you answer that you’re excited by the prospect of possibly joining an award-winning company which is quickly expanding, you’ll have the knowledge to back up your statement if prompted.
2. Dress to Impress
As a tradesperson, it’s unlikely you’ll ever have to wear a suit to work. In fact, you’re almost always live in work trousers, boots and a sweatshirt. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear one to the interview though.
Although we’re told from a young age not to judge a book by its cover, sometimes it can’t be avoided. Dressing to impress will show that you’re professional and are serious about making a good first impression.
A black, grey or navy suit paired with brown or black shoes is always a winner. Opt for a plain, non-garish shirt and a tie that complements the rest of your outfit. It’s hard to go wrong with a classic cut suit, but be careful not to look like you’re going to a wedding or a funeral.
For ladies seeking a job in trade, similar rules apply. A trouser suit, without the tie, is proficient, or you could add a scarf for a pop of colour. If you decide to wear a skirt, make sure this is of a sensible length and is no more than a few inches above the knee.
3. Plan Your Journey
Fail to plan and plan to fail. If you’re travelling to a location for the first time, it would be sensible to map the route and discover how long your journey will take. You may even like to factor in some spare time as a buffer, as winging it on the day could result in you getting lost, stuck in traffic or finding public transport is not running - all of which would make you considerably late.
Organisational skills and punctuality are an essential skill for tradespeople, and faulting at the first hurdle does not make a good first impression.
You may be nervous, but don’t forget to smile! Showing your pearly whites will show you’re a happy person, who is personable and easy to approach. No one wants to work with a grump and, as tradespeople spend a lot of time with customers, a pleasant demeanour is essential.
5. Consider Questions Beforehand
Although you may be good at thinking on your feet, in order to put your best foot forward and answer the interviewer’s questions as best you can you may want to consider your answers beforehand.
There are a number of generic questions that crop up in many interviews, such as:
• Tell me about yourself.
• What do you do outside of work?
• Why do you want to work for us?
• What are your strengths?
• What are your weaknesses?
• What motivates you?
• Where do you want to be in five years?
• Is there anything you’d like to ask me?
6. Get Acquainted with the Job Spec
Okay, so you’ve done your research on the company, but do you know exactly what the position you’re interviewing for involves? For example, what’s the difference between an electrician and electrical engineer position, or a mobile and maintenance plumber?
Knowing the ins and outs of a position will not only let you know what to expect should you get the job, but it will help you to tailor your responses to questions in the interview.
7. Be Yourself
Last but not least, be yourself (well, yourself on best behaviour). Don’t try and pretend to be something you’re not or exaggerate your skills, because employers always find out in the end. If you lie in an interview, you will quickly find you’re not suited for a job, are not very good at it or don’t enjoy it.
Want to Start Your Journey to a New Career?
These seven tips will come in handy before an interview, but if you haven’t already signed up to retrain then an interview may be some time off.