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Interview Advice for Manufacturing Professionals

top 10 tips for interview prep part two

Top 10 Interview Tips for Success (Part 2 of 2)

We’ve been talking a lot about interview prep. Last week, we listed the first five of our Top 10 Interviewing tips. This week, we’ll finish off the list with the last five. Here’s Part 1 if you missed it.

6. Be Ready to Explain Why – Demonstrate Thoughtful Decision Making In the Interview

Your resume lists the places you’ve been and many of the things you’ve done.  That’s helpful information to an interviewer but it doesn’t get to perhaps the most important aspect of what’s listed — why you decided to do those things in the first place.  A big part of what an interviewer hopes to learn from you is how you think through available opportunities and make your decisions. 

They want to see logical thought processes. They may not have made the same decisions that you made along their career path, but they need to be able to understand why you made your choices.  Hopefully, you’ve been thoughtful in your decision-making, rather than making snap judgments or careless decisions. An interviewer’s best way to predict how you’ll make decisions at their company is by seeing how you’ve made decisions in your past.

7. Be Open To/Seeking New Experiences – Especially Early in Your Career

When interviewing, it’s natural to be focused on the job they are hiring for and whether you’re a fit for the position  Focusing too much on just the position can limit your exploration of the company and the learning opportunities available in the process.  Asking for an opportunity to take a tour of their facility and meet with some of their Team can provide a chance to learn about both the company and the industry.  Checking online to see if they have any Open Houses or Job Fairs can be another way to both show interest in them and meet more of their staff. 

Each person you meet is an opportunity to see if they are the kind of people you’d like to spend time with if you were to start the next phase of your career at that company. Be inquisitive about everything and you’ll learn a lot more than just about that one particular position. Here are some ways you can engage with the Team: a tour, product,

  • Tour
  • Product
  • Interview
  • Open House
  • Hiring Fairs

8. Do Your Homework – Be Specific in What You Noticed During the Interview

Checking out a company is an easy process these days. Google has changed the nature of finding things out.  Don’t just do a quick once-over. Instead, look for specific items that may interest you. Say you tell the interviewer that you appreciate the opportunity of having multiple locations since you like the idea of potentially living in different places. This establishes that you checked them out and you’ve found one criterion that matches with your interests.  Here’s what to look out for:

  • Recent News
  • Product Areas — Relating to Your Interests
  • Geographic Locations — Relating to Your Interests
  • People & Career Path

Asking about a recent change in ownership and how it might have impacted the company shows that you’ve done your homework and can see if a big event like that might have changed the company culture.  Specific points will make it more obvious that you’ve researched them. Tying your comment into a thought question or one of your interests will have a positive impact on the interview.

9. No Homework – Own It

Despite how easy Google makes it, sometimes you don’t create the opportunity to research the company.  If this happens, don’t try to pretend that you did.  Faking it never plays out well.  Instead, just own the fact that you know you should have checked them out, apologize for not planning better, and then be ready with 2-3 questions that you would have tried to get answers to if you had researched them. This is part of a larger rule that if you made a mistake, just own it and acknowledge that you’ll need to do better in the future.

10. Stand Out by Going Old School With the Interview – Arrive Early, Engage 100%, Follow-Up

With so many candidates looking for the top jobs, it can seem daunting to try to stand out from the rest.  However, there are some old-school basics that can be important opportunities to set yourself apart. Since email is the main form of corporate communication these days, make sure you’re checking yours and responding promptly to messages from the company.  In your emails, make sure you’re communicating professionally, not as if you’re texting with a friend. Full sentences that convey your message as simply as possible are best. 

Arriving early is important so that you can show that you value their time. Note: show up 15 minutes early, but don’t go to the door until you’re 5 minutes early. Showing up at the door more than 5 minutes early will likely disrupt their schedule and be inconvenient for them.  You can use the 10 minutes in your car or outside the building to check out their website and social media accounts for the latest news. Engage 100% while you’re in their building. You might want to leave your phone in your car or at least turn it completely off while you’re in the building.  Try to learn as much as you can and be as interested as possible in understanding everything about the company. 

Finally, following up with a written “thank you” note to each person that you talked to is a huge differentiator.  Including something that you liked and something that you learned from your time with them is a big bonus opportunity.  Of course, you’ll make it easier on yourself if you take notes along the way!

Here’s a quick checklist of the little things you should be focusing on:

  • Email Activity
  • Communicating Professionally
  • Arrival
  • Engaging 100%
  • Follow-Up in Writing

Final Thoughts

There you have it.  The Top 10 Interviewing Tips for Manufacturing Professionals.

Hopefully, those can help you separate yourself from the other candidates and give you the best chance to find the right fit the next time you go looking for a new opportunity.

Let us know which one of these was most impactful to you and hopefully you can share a success story with us in the near future.

Here’s to your Manufacturing Success!