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There is something about job interviews that can send chills down people’s spine. Perhaps it is the reminder of a terrible interview that has you cringing to your teeth when you remember it. Or maybe it is the fear of screwing up your chance of getting into the company you want. In the competitive job market, it will take more than a nice suit and a firm handshake to get into the firm you want. If you want to get ahead of the competition, you will need to understand how the construction industry decides to hire and knowing what kind of projects the firms you want are working on. Only then can you start working on your approach for your next job interview.

Most firms are different from one another. Even if they seem similar in content, you may have to change not only your approach but also your portfolio to suit a firm’s style and needs. For example, one firm may be more inclined to hire someone who is willing to work long hours while others are looking for creative thinkers who can work smart. You can change your resume’s career objective to lean towards a firm’s specialty or let them know if you are the type who can think of innovative ideas if you feel that they are the type that is willing to take risks.

Interviewers might assess your personality using questions that delve into your personal hobbies, your work motivation, and special skills— specifically if the answers to those indicate a lifestyle that might tell more about your attitude or work ethics.

Another assessment scenario involves asking about your capability to react under general pressure. Creatives like architects will have to explain their creative process while engineers and project managers will have to tell stories of their tenacity or something similar.

Alternately, they expect applicants to ask about the company and how their career interests can benefit both parties.

Before engaging in an interview, take the time to research the firm’s projects, successes, and failures. Explain to them how you are a great fit for the company with an accompanying reason for it.  As mentioned before, each firm’s interests vary, and you need to research thoroughly how to respond to these four whys:

  • Why did you choose us?
  • Why didn’t you choose the other firms?
  • Why do you think you are qualified for the vacant position?
  • Why did you leave / why are you leaving your last firm?

Keep in mind that the last question can be tricky to answer. Being too vindictive or disappointed in your last firm may give the interviewer a negative impression, especially if you are straightforward in telling them of your previous company’s negative aspects. Approach the question carefully and stick with a neutral answer, all while focusing on telling them how the positive lessons you learned from your last job helped you improve your skill set.

The topic of career paths often takes form in the question “where do you see yourself in X years?”. A company wants to be sure that an applicant can be depended on to improve rather than getting in a company for the sake of work experience. For example, an architect who openly aspires to end up in the animation industry might not be the best candidate for the job. A dedicated working relationship is more attractive than a casual one.

Once the interview is over, you should thank the interviewer and tell them that you hope to hear from them soon.

Now pretend that after weeks of waiting, you have finally received a couple of offers from numerous firms. You might think that it is going to be an easy decision of picking a company with the highest offer, but it is usually not that simple. Consider if the firms have any factors that can cause stress to you. This can have something to do with location, if they allow pets in, or if the culture might not resonate with you. You can also check for online reviews and see if dedicating months of your life to the place is worth it. For fresh graduates, their options might be limited to whoever decides to take a chance with them. But for those with over two years’ experience in the business, the industry is akin to an ocean full of oysters. Just make sure that the one you pick houses a pearl.

Job hunting can be a memorable, albeit painful experience for most people looking to get into the industry of their dreams. The first month of applying can leave people disillusioned, especially after a couple of rejections and “We’ll call you” variations from their first choices. In worse cases, no replies at all. But there is no reason to fret because everyone can learn from their rejections and improve on making the first impression on their next interviewer. Who knows, perhaps in a decade or so, those companies might start contacting you to work for them instead!

 

Awesome!

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