As a recruitment professional, I have talked with many hiring managers and mentored many candidates on how they should conduct themselves during an interview. I’ve seen mistakes made by both sides (both from the candidate and from the interviewer). That’s why I’ve compiled a list of 5 tips for a successful manufacturing interview.
#1) An Interview is a Two Way Conversation
The interview should be a two way conversation between the candidate and hiring manager. To have a successful interview, there should be a good back-and-forth dialogue between both the hiring manager and the candidate. There are too many times after I’ve de-brief a candidate where the candidate thinks the interview went well but the hiring manager did 90% of the talking. For example, when asked to go for a plant tour, the candidate should prepare technical questions regarding the plant’s supply chain, production capabilities, and what types of projects the hiring manager wants to implement within the next 6 months. You can then relate back to your own experiences, offer suggestions, ideas and show how you can improve the manufacturing operations based on your prior experiences. This is a sign of a good interview.
#2) Be Prepared for the Interview
Research is key to a successful manufacturing interview and any interview in general. There is lots of information to find on the internet prior to the day of the interview.
As a candidate, you should find the following information:
- Who is interviewing you? (is it human resources, the technical manager or a panel of managers).
- Pay attention to the product and services the company offers. Find out what industry they are in and where in the supply chain this company lies. If its an automotive supplier, find out which automotive parts this plant produces and what are the specific processes within the plant that are required to produce such widget.
- Most importantly, find out the background of who you are interviewing with. Using LinkedIn, candidates can find out the background of their hiring manager. What company did the hiring manager come from? How long was he/she at the corporation? What type of past experience do you have that relate to the position at hand?
These are all important to know prior to meeting your interviewer. It gives you the depth of knowledge and what to expect during the interview process.
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#3) Don’t be late!
I’ve mentored and coached candidates on interviews many times. Plan out the route you are going to drive to the interview the day or night before. I like to arrive 30 minutes prior to the interview and drive around the area. I can get a good scope of the company by looking at which location they are in.
Are they in an industrial park or a plaza? Are there other corporations in a similar field of business in the area? How professional does the corporation look from the outside? Are there a lot of cars parked in the parking lot? (which indicates that the plant operations is quite busy at this point in time) or is there a lack of cars in the parking lot? There are many little signs and clues that you can gather even before you meet with your hiring manager. Then 10 minutes before your interview, enter the reception area and ask by name who you are there to meet. Of course, don’t forget to bring your mask as the interview will mostly be conducted indoors.
#4) Dress Appropriately For the Job (This does not always mean your 3 piece suit and tie)
How you dress portrays an image about you. Dressing appropriately for the role that you are interviewing for makes a huge difference on how confident you will feel in the interview. If you know you are going for a plant tour in the first interview, show that you mean business. Wear your steel toe boots and bring your safety glasses to the interview. Take a look around the board room or reception area and mentally note the types of products that are being showcased in the reception area. If the job calls for it, wear a crisp white dress shirt and some dress pants to the interview. Sometimes, wearing your suit blazer and tie in a manufacturing plant can make you look out of place.
#5) Be Honest About Yourself and Your Compensation
Honesty goes a long way in the interview. Having your interviewer understand your situation and why you are motivated to leave your corporation gives the hiring manager a good understanding of why you are motivated to take this role. Remember that everybody is human and we all have made life mistakes in our time. Don’t forget the hiring manager is a human being as well and he/she is probably just as nervous as you are during the interview. If the interviewer asks you about your compensation and what you are looking for, be honest and tell them your optimal range.
#6) Have Fun!
Learning about a new corporation and a new role can be exciting. If you have been working at the same corporation for the last 10 years, meeting someone outside of your corporation (and within the same industry) can be a great experience. You’ll get an understanding of how others conduct their business and how your experience can relate to their workplace. You might even pick up a few tips and see some weaknesses that your competition is showing at this time. You can show how you can overcome their pain points and see where you can be an asset to their organization.
Interviewing does not have to be as stressful as it sounds. There might be multiple interviews in the recruitment process but you should see this as an advantage. Every senior manager that you meet will give you more insight into the corporation that you are going to join. It should give you an idea of their personality, their work style and their habits.