Candidate Advice

The most asked job interview questions (and how to answer them!)

Need some help preparing for those tricky interview questions? We've listed the most commonly asked questions, with best answers and red flags

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Tell me about yourself

This is a really common question, and is often the first to be asked.

Stick to a work related answer – never go into your personal life unless the interviewer asks you. Give a brief summary of your career history, how your career has developed focusing on your achievements.

Why did you leave your last job?

You should always try and give a positive response to this question, it’s a good idea to highlight that you are now ready for a better opportunity and a new challenge.

However tempting it may be, never ever bad mouth your current employer.

What are your strengths?

This is a question that you should always be prepared for when going into an interview. Be ready to give several examples of your strengths and have instances where you have demonstrated them ready. Don’t list strengths that aren’t relevant to the job you are interviewing for, and don’t be shy about your accomplishments!

What’s your biggest weakness?

We all have weaknesses – recognising them is what’s important.

A good trick for this question is to make sure you highlight how you’ve addressed any issues you’ve faced; perhaps you’ve attended a training course or worked with a mentor.

For example;

“I get quite nervous giving presentations and talking in front of a room of people, so I enrolled on a course to improve my public speaking.”

Don’t mention any faults that would directly affect your ability to do the job.

What do you know about our company?

Make sure you do your homework by browsing every part of the company’s website as that is the most authentic source of information to answer questions like these. If you happen to know someone who already works there ask them for some specific information.

Key points to make a note of are;

  • Industry/sector.

  • Goals.

  • Major competitors.

  • Culture and values.

Why should we hire you?

Make sure you have used the job advert to figure out the employer’s most sought-after skills, and come up with a brief example that explains how you have acquired that skill.

This question should be answered with a sense of bi-party need. Speak in a balanced tone to send the message that company needs you just as much as you want the job. Stay clear of comparing yourself with other applicants though!

How would your co-workers describe you?

You don’t want to merely give a list of adjectives your colleagues would say about you. Instead- focus on one attribute that describes your work ethic, and think of a time when you have demonstrated it in the workplace. When telling a story- it is crucial that you do not just make something up, and don’t be dishonest.

Try to use the STAR method for delivering your answers to questions you are asked:

The beauty of this is it allows you to elaborate in context and it opens the door for further questions about the topic you have chosen to respond with.

It’s a clear, structured and concise method and the best way of minimising the amount of questions that you just "don't know" so here is a recap:

Situation: The position I was in

Task: What I was asked to do while in that situation

Action: What I did after I was asked to do what I was doing in the situation

Result: What end product of the action.

 Written by Jenny Headington

Do you have the essential skills for a career in the Manufacturing Industry?

Manufacturing is a diverse industry that offers opportunities to people with a wide range of backgrounds. Whether you’re interested in production, installation, logistics or engineering, it’s important to understand that businesses seek a specific set of skills from potential employees.

We have put together a list of the essential skills that we believe manufacturers are looking for

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1.Attention to Detail

With speed and precision being a high priority in manufacturing, it’s essential for workers to be focused and detail-oriented. When operating heavy machinery, a lack of attention can spell danger for you or your co-workers.

Attention to detail is also critical when it comes to completing work to a high standard, small details can make the difference in measurement and fittings and if these are completed incorrectly it can cause faults and flaws in the end product or service.

2.Critical Thinking

To succeed in the manufacturing industry the individual has to be able to think on their feet and troubleshoot and resolve problems as they arrive.

Workers must be able to use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions or approaches to difficult situations.

3.Interest and Aptitude for Technology

Technology is constantly evolving and changing the way manufacturing workplaces operate and coordinate. Advances in technology have altered the way manufacturing is operated.

By demonstrating an interest in technology and a strong desire to learn it, you’re sending a message of your long-term potential to employers.

4.Flexibility

Many manufacturing positions now require knowledge of a wide variety of processes and procedures, so an employee who has been, or has the ability to be cross-trained is hugely valuable to a company.

Today, companies look for candidates that have the ability to be cross-trained in numerous functions, as they will be greater assets to the business.

5.STEM Skills

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills play huge roles in Manufacturing; being able to apply the right principles and techniques to the design and production of many goods is essential.

Many people are not fully aware of their math skills. All they know is that they think it’s not always fun. And admittedly, math and science can be acquired tastes. A career in manufacturing can lead you to discover the true value and potential of these skills.

6.Working effectively on a diverse team

Manufacturers need their colleagues to work together towards a common goal.

Being a good teammate is a good step towards becoming a good leader. The type that can disagree without being disagreeable is the people who can succeed in a team environment.

You should also offer problem-solving skills and ideas and be conscious of others ideas.

7.Adaptability

During a time of political and economic change, the ability to adapt to changing work conditions is essential.

Being able to work efficiently during times of increased workloads and pressure, or the ability switch to a different role when required is fundamental as unexpected situations may arise.

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For a confidential discussion about how we can help your business source top manufacturing talent, or if you are eager to develop your career in manufacturing, please get in touch with one of our specialist recruitment consultants who will be happy to help.

Written by Tom Greaves, edited by Jenny Headington

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