How to Interview for a Job (Part 2)

Part 1 went over:

  • Preparing for the job interview
  • How to act during the job interview
  • How to speak during an job interview

 

Part 2 will go over:

  • How to conduct yourself during a tour of the company
  • Questions to ask at the end of the job interview

 

Going on a Tour of the Company during the Job Interview

The engineer you interview with will often take you on a tour of the company.

 

Listen carefully to what the engineer says and shows you. For this part of the interview, it’s important that you pay close attention to what the interviewer is telling and showing you so that you can come up with questions to ask during the tour.

 

The tour is an excellent chance to get a feel for your potential new work environment, meet some of your potential co-workers, and gain a better understanding of the company’s project. Introduce yourself and shake hands with any co-workers you’re able to interact with during the tour.

 

Ask the interviewer questions and paraphrase what you observe throughout the tour to show that you’re mentally engaged and interested in the company.

 

For example, the interviewer can mention how most of the electrical systems are replacing the relays with a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC). This gives you the opportunity to bring up any PLC experience you have, ask how the transition to PLCs is going for the other engineers, ask what kind of PLCs are being used, etc.

 

Keep in mind, going on a tour of the company is NO GUARANTEE that you’ve secured the position. It just means you haven’t screwed anything up enough to end the interview.

 

Questions to Ask at the End of the Job Interview

The interviewer will give you the chance to ask them questions at the end of the interview. The questions you ask can seal the deal and get you hired. These are some of the things you want to accomplish with your questions:

  • Show your interest in the company and the position.
  • Show what you have to offer the company and the position.
  • Express appreciation for the interviewers skills, background, and accomplishments.
  • Show your willingness to learn and develop yourself.
  • Make it seem like you already have the job and are already a part of the company.

 

Don’t ask questions just for the sake of asking questions or because it’s good etiquette. I did that a few times and basically shot myself in the foot every time. Ask questions that give you a better idea of what the company is like, what the job requires, what you have to offer the job and the company, and shows appreciation for the interviewer.

 

Here are the types of questions you should ask and an example that I’ve personally used in a real interview

 

A question that acknowledges the interviewer’s expertise in their field and asks for their professional wisdom. You are implicitly complimenting your interviewer and showing respect for their expertise. 

To an engineer: “(insert name here), I’m glad to have this opportunity to speak to a professional engineer like you. You must have a lot of insight into what being an engineer is like. In your mind, what are the qualities of a good engineer?”

  1. This question should be asked to an engineer who is older and more experienced than you.
  2. You’re acknowledging and complimenting your interviewer’s knowledge and expertise.
  3. This question also shows that you’re interested in learning and improving as an engineer.
  4. Try to say the interviewer’s name often. Saying a person’s name often is a compliment to them.

 

To an HR person: (Insert name here), you must have interviewed many different candidates for positions at the company and gained a lot of insight into what the ideal candidate is like. In your mind, what are some non-technical qualities, not listed in the job description, that the ideal candidate would possess?

  1. Follow their answer up with another quality.
  2. For example, the HR person can say that motivation and communication skills are important. You can say that you agree, then say that a positive attitude is also important. Then, go over an example of when you used a positive attitude to motivate people and finish up a project.
  3. Same as reason #2 for the engineer question

 

A question that shows an interest to learn on your own (initiative) and contribute to the company.

Example: “(Insert interviewer name here), I know that my practical experience for some of the job qualifications is not very strong, and I want to learn as much as possible on my own so that I can really hit the ground running on my first day. What are some resources that you would recommend I look into?”

  1. The phrasing of this question shows your willingness to learn.
  2. “…on my first day.” This makes it seem like you’re already hired and your first day is set in stone. The interviewer is more likely to hire you.
  3. This question is great for entry-level positions. Don’t ask this question if you’re interviewing for an experienced or particularly specialized position because you’ll show too much inexperience.

 

A question that asks the interviewer about their experiences at the company.

People generally enjoy talking about themselves, so it’s worth asking the interviewer about their time at the company, how they got their start, etc. You’ll also get a better idea of what the day-to-day at the company is going to be like.

 

Ask at least one question based on what the interviewer told you during the interview.

It shows you were listening to them and will get the interviewer to like you.

 

To an engineer: ask a question about one of the projects they’re working on.

  • You can usually learn about projects from the company website.
  • Ask for more details on the project, where the project progress currently is, and/or when the expected completion date is.
  • This question shows interest in the company.
  • Engineers/engineering managers generally enjoy talking about their work and projects.
  • Follow up this question by going over an aspect of your skills or background that can be helpful for accomplishing the project.
    • For example: The company’s is creating a High Voltage Electrical Testing Apparatus product. You’re applying to the mechanical design engineer who will ideally have familiarity with electrical equipment. You should emphasize your electrical knowledge by going over any projects that involved electronics (microcontrollers, High Voltage equipment, PLCs, etc.) and your experience working with electrical engineers.

 

“As the (insert position name here), what are some specific things I can do to in the next 6 months to exceed your expectations for the position and help meet OUR company’s objectives?”

You make it seem like you’re already hired and a part of the company with this wording, so you’re more likely to be hired. You also show interest in the success of the company and that you’re an overachiever who will exceed the requirements of your position.

 

“Do you have any concerns about my qualification and fit for the position?”

  • If the interviewer has any reservations about your fit for the position, this question is your chance to put those reservations at ease.

 

“Did I answer all of your questions in as much detail as you were hoping, or is there something I can explain in more detail?”

  • Make sure you answered all of your interviewer’s questions.

 

“What are next steps moving forward?”

 

“When do you expect to make a hiring decision?”

 

“Is it all right if I follow up with you in 5-10 business days?”

 

Questions 9-11 are just to give you an idea of how the hiring process will move forward after the interview. If you don’t hear anything back in 5-10 business days, follow up with your interviewer about how the hiring process is going.

 

IMPORTANT: Questions 3 and 7 to 11 might be answered during the interview. If you want to ask them again, say something like: “I know we covered this already, but could you remind me of…?”

 

Final Thoughts

That’s how you interview for a job. Comment down below what you think and if this helped you in your interviews. I’m considering creating another blog post where I take all the common job interview questions and provide effective answers to them. Let me know if you guys are interested in that.

 

And if you haven’t already, subscribe to my free newsletter.

 

All the best,

Brandon

 

Thumbnail image by Luke Pamer

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