Blue Collar Jobs: 5 Interview Prep Actions
In the second post in this limited series post, Blue Collar Jobs: 5 Key Interview Prep Actions, we’re going to take a closer look at what you can do before going to the interview that will increase your chances of getting the job. Competition for roles can be tough and if you’re willing to put in a little extra effort up front, it can really pay off in the long run. Let’s look at the 5 actions that will increase your odds.
Know Your Resume
In the previous post, Blue Collar Jobs 5 Things You Can Do To Get The Job, I covered the importance of having a resume. If you haven’t checked that one out yet please do. Here’s the secret – having a resume is one thing. Knowing what is on your resume is another. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve interviewed a candidate and when I ask them to explain a certain section of their resume, they look at me like I have two heads.
If you are going to take the time to create a professional, meaningful resume, it is just as important that you know, understand, and remember what you decided to include on that resume. Yes, it is ok to have a copy of your resume with you that you can refer to but if you include a specific piece of information (e.g., experienced Delta machine operator), be ready to speak to that point. For example, how old was the machine, or how many predefined products were loaded into the system? If you can answer these types of questions without much hesitation, you’re showing the person interviewing you that you know what you’re talking about. You’re also showing them that you are good with details and can clearly communicate when you need to. All of these are good things.
The last thing you want to have happen is that you freeze, stumble over your words, and cannot clearly articulate what you meant when you added that bullet to your resume. If you can’t get the details about your own life and work experience right, why would someone trust you to take over specific responsibilities within a new company? Not knowing what you’re talking about destroys confidence and that is a deal killer most of the time.
Practice Your Answers
Sure, you may feel a little foolish practicing your answers aloud. My advice, do it anyway. You can find a list of common interview questions here if you need some help on what might be asked of you. Practicing your answers in your head is better than not practicing at all but when words start rolling out of your mouth, sometimes they end up different than what you planned. That can be trouble.
Take the time to say your answers to common questions over and over again. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will be with how and what you want to say. This is good for two reasons. First, most interviewers are going to ask you some fairly generic questions. For example, they might ask you to tell them what you liked best about your last role. If you struggle to come up with an answer, you’re showing that you were either unprepared or cannot think on your feet. Neither are good. Tell yourself a few times what you liked best about your last role so when asked, you feel more comfortable providing the answer.
Second, you’re building your confidence. Most interviewers and been interviewees themselves. They know it is stressful, so they’ll throw you a few easy questions first. If you practice and answer these easy questions without trouble, you’re building your level of confidence during the early part of the interview. This can end up buying you a little wiggle room later in the interview as the questions get more difficult. By practicing your answers and building confidence, you are in a position to make a solid first impression during the interview!
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Like, Um, Cut Out Fillers
Next up in Blue Collar Jobs: 5 Key Interview Prep Actions, is a serious distraction. While you’re practicing your answers to some common interview questions aloud, keep an ear out for filler words. People love to use like, um, ah, right, and so WAY too much! The good news is that most of the world uses these fillers on a regular basis so the person interviewing you may not be bothered or even pick up on it. The bad news is that most of us (you included) have our go to fillers.
If you’re a like person (like, that is awesome, or like, I’ll be totally solid for you in the job) and your interviewer isn’t a like person, you stand to rub them the wrong way every time you speak.
Yes, this is a bit of a flash back to speech class for those of you that suffered through that in high school and college. Being articulate is important though. Too many fillers distracts from what you are trying to communicate and the point you’re trying to make. It also could raise some doubts with the person interviewing you as to how quickly and effectively you’ll be able to communicate if you’re hired for the job.
Remember that most jobs, regardless of how laid back the employer may be, interface with customers on occasion as well. If you find yourself in front of a customer, using less filler words there will help you too!
Research The Company – Including People
True story. I was interviewing a gentleman about two years ago and one of the first questions I asked him was – tell me a little bit about why you’re interested in working here? No joke, he looked at me and said, “what is it you do around here?”. I knew right then and there he wasn’t going to get the job. It was one of the shortest interviews I’ve ever conducted.
If you’ve taken the time to pull a solid resume together, and practiced speaking to it, now isn’t the time to get lazy. Go online and at a minimum, look up two things. First, look up the company’s website. Read more about what they do, their products and services, their history, and about the management team. Second, go on LinkedIn (professional networking site) and see if you can find the name of the person you are interviewing with. If so, read more about their experience.
Neither of the activities above should take more than about a half an hour. But, if you take that half an hour, you’re not walking into the interview blind. You have additional context about the company and the person you’re meeting with. Both are a good thing!
During the interview, one thing that can really set you apart is if you make a connection with the person interviewing you. No, you don’t have to be their best friend when you leave, but during the interview, if you discover that you both used to work for the same company or that you both enjoy fishing, that may stick in their mind. Later, when they are reviewing the 10 or 15 people they interviewed, they remember the discussion about fishing. That connection may set you apart in a good way from the rest.
Dress For The Occasion
I’ve hit on this one a few times. For me, going to an interview always meant wearing a suit and tie. As I got older and gained more experience, I’ve gone to interviews in everything from jeans and a T-shirt to a suit and tie. It’s a topic for another post but I don’t believe what I wear has anything to do with my intelligence or capabilities. Realistically, what you wear does make a difference.
A suit and tie can be overkill for certain environments and certain jobs. You’ll need to feel the situation out and make a call on what you ultimately wear. I have included a solid go to outfit with links should you be interested. This combo shows that you are serious about getting the role but doesn’t put you in the overdressed category.
When pricing is right, you can get the whole outfit for around $100 (which may seem like a lot, but you can reuse the combo for a lot of different situations). Also, my apologies to the ladies out there. My fashion advice doesn’t expand past a nicely dressed gentleman.
Here is a cost effective and very versatile outfit that can be used for interviews, training meetings, and even taking your lady out on a nice date (she may be pleasantly surprised to see how nice you clean up).
- Docker’s Straight Fit Pants– great choice when you need to look a little nicer but don’t want to spend big on the suit.
- Amazon Essentials Oxford Shirt– tucked in and paired with your khaki Docker’s, you’re looking professional but not overdressed. Something blue looks good with the khakis.
- Columbia Belt– this ties the pants and the shirt together.
- Socks– It might sound stupid but if you go white, it’s just not right. Pick these up and use the brown pair with this combo.
- Clark Shoes– I love Clarks. They are comfortable and stylish but not overdone. You can also use these on date night to show your lady how nicely you clean up.
That rounds out the Blue Collar Jobs: 5 Key Interview Prep Actions. If you keep these in mind and use them to your advantage, you can set yourself apart from the competition. When you do that, you increase your odds of getting the job. A better job hopefully leads to more money and opportunities for promotion and eventually, perhaps a clearer path to a financially secure retirement!
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