Gaining your trade qualifications after a period of study is an exciting milestone but what happens next? How do you nail a job interview so you can begin your dream career in the construction industry?
There may be hundreds of people applying for the same job as you. The key to success is making a great impression and standing out from the crowd.
“An interview can be a nerve wrecking experience, especially if it’s your first or if you haven’t been to one in many years.”
1. First Impressions Count
First impressions really do count, so your first interview is very important. Ensure you give yourself plenty of time to arrive for the interview. Allow for traffic and ensure you are punctual. While interviews for trade jobs don’t necessarily have a formal dress code, you should still dress respectfully. If you’re coming straight from a job site, let them know that prior to the interview.
2. Research the Employer
Researching the employer prior to applying for a job is a great way to know whether you’re a good fit. But showing some background knowledge about them will also flag your enthusiasm and interest in the job. Look up their website and social media accounts, read about recent projects that they’ve worked on and even learn about the person who will be interviewing you. It will set you apart from another candidate who knows nothing about the company.
3. Know your Strengths and Weaknesses
There will always be a question about your strengths and weaknesses, even though it may not be phrased this way. You may be asked what skills or qualities you can bring to the position – this is where you can show off your knowledge and discuss your skills, including people and management skills. An employer might also seek out weaknesses by asking you about a time when something went wrong on a job site. This is your opportunity to shine. Have an example ready where you can be honest, but also show how you resolved the problem. Remember, nobody’s perfect but it’s how you respond to problems that sets you apart.
4. Discuss your Ability to Work on a Team
No matter what position you are applying for, nobody on a construction site works in a bubble. You need to collaborate with other trades, you need to compromise, and you need to be aware of other people’s roles so a project can run smoothly. Be prepared for this sort of question. You don’t want to just answer yes, I’m a team player. Be prepared with a great example of how you worked with others to make a project better.
5. Acknowledge you are at the Start of your Career
Obviously when you’re starting out, you don’t have the experience of someone who has been in the industry for many years. But enthusiasm and a willingness to learn go a long way in impressing an employer. Be prepared to talk about why you’re seeking the position, what you hope to learn, how you aim to be a better tradesperson and even where you see yourself in 5 or 10 years time.
6. Attention to Detail
A trades person needs to show attention to detail in all aspects of a project. A job won’t run smoothly if a person is not organised and cuts corners. You can talk about this in your job interview (highlight it as another strength), but also demonstrate it by being prepared for the interview. Have a copy of your resume with you so you can refer to it easily if a question is asked. Have details of referees prepared and typed up so you can hand to the employer upon request. Little things like this will show you thought ahead and were prepared.
7. Study/Rehearse for the Interview and be Confident
An interview can be a nerve wrecking experience, especially if it’s your first or if you haven’t been to one in many years. The best preparation you can do is to study for it as if it were an exam. You can Google possible questions like these ones, and ask others in the industry what questions they were asked in interviews. You can even have someone you trust to role play an interview with you. While you can’t predict every question that will be asked, being prepared in this way will give you a lot of confidence.
Finally, as a student of Trade Institute of Victoria, you also know that we always have your back. You can ring your former trainer with any questions you have and they’ll be happy to guide you before you attend your interview.
The construction industry is a rewarding one and we wish you all the best as you take your first steps to finding a job.