Dedicated to Student Outreach

How to Ace Your Job Interview:
A Guide for Students Entering the Construction Industry

Job interviews can be intimidating. You’re meeting a stranger (or worse a panel of strangers) to sell yourself and showcase the reasons why you’d make a great fit at their company. No pressure, right? Although interviewing is a nerve-racking process, it’s an important part of your post-grad journey. Check below to learn the ins & outs of interviewing that will give you the best shot at getting hired.

Before The Interview

  • Practice. Calm your nerves by planning out responses to questions (see FAQs section below). Dress in the outfit you plan on wearing, sit down, and pretend it’s the real interview. That way when it’s go time, you’ll be prepared and won’t struggle coming up with answers on the spot.
  • Dress for Success. No matter what job you’re applying for, it’s important to dress polished and professional. Switch out your sweatshirt and sweatpants combo for business attire – a suit jacket, slacks, blouse, dress pants, or blazer. Picking out your outfit prior prevents scrambling the day of.
  • Prepare a Pitch. At almost every interview, the first thing your interviewer will ask is: “Tell me about yourself.” Prepare an elevator pitch or 30-second introduction of yourself. For example:
    • This past spring I graduated from [school name] with a [degree/program name] in [major or concentration]. It was a great experience; I was involved in [extracurricular activity] where I [describe accomplishment]. But I’m glad to finally be done with exams and take time to focus on finding a career path that I’m passionate about. Currently, I’m an intern at [company name] where I learned a lot about [topic] and acquired skills in [field]. I’m really interested in [field, position, or type of job] and would like to [future goal or accomplishment you’d like to achieve] so I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me to see if I’m the right fit for your company.
  • Know Your Resume. How well do you know yourself? Your interviewer will ask specific questions regarding what’s on your resume. Make sure to review all your skills and past accomplishments beforehand.
  • Know the Company. Explore the company’s website. Read their About, History, Mission, Vision, as well as any other standout pages. Also, read the job application & description again and tailor your responses accordingly.

During The Interview

  • Greet Your Interviewer. Whether it’s a handshake or virtual wave, greeting your interviewer sets the tone and starts the meeting on a friendly note.
  • Make a Positive First Impression. Your interviewer has probably met with dozens of candidates. Before the hard-hitting questions start, take a few minutes for small talk to break the ice. If you can find something to connect on, not only will the conversation flow smoothly, but you’ll also leave a memorable impact.
  • Use the STAR Method. When answering behavioral interview questions (questions that start with: Describe a time when…; Have you been in a situation…; Give an example of.., etc.), structure your responses like a story.
    • Situation: Set the scene. When did your example occur? Where did it occur? Who was involved?
    • Task: Describe your responsibility. What were you tasked with? What was the challenge?
    • Action: Explain how you overcame the challenge. What steps did you take? How was it resolved?
    • Result: State the outcome. What did you accomplish? How did that impact your company?
  • Keep On Topic. Avoid going off on tangents. You have limited time to answer each question. While you may have a lot to say, staying focused and keeping concise will prevent incomplete answers.
  • Ask Questions. Keep in mind interviewing is a two-way street. Ask your interviewer questions that will give you clarity on whether this company is the right fit. This is the time to gain insight into the company and show you’re serious about the job. Examples:
    • What is the culture like at this company?
    • How did you get started at this company?
    • Are there opportunities for professional development?
    • What qualities or attributes make a person successful in this role?
    • Is there anything on my resume or about my experiences you’d like me to clarify or elaborate on?
    • What’s been your favorite memory on the job so far?
    • When can I expect to hear back about the job?
    • What are the next steps in the hiring process?

After The Interview

  • Send a Thank You Email. Keep it simple and send it within 24 hours after your interview. Thank your interviewer for their time and highlight key learnings from the interview. For example:
    • Hi [interviewer name],Thank you for meeting with me and taking the time to discuss my fit for the [position] at [company]. I enjoyed learning about your firm’s successes and how your experience has been as a [interviewer’s title].

      I would be grateful for the opportunity to contribute to your team to achieve [responsibility or team goal].

      I appreciate your consideration and look forward to hearing from you.

      Sincerely,
      [Name]

  • Follow Up. If you haven’t heard back from your interviewer after a week, send a follow-up email asking for an update on where they are at in the hiring process.

FAQs

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What makes you a good fit for this position?
  • What experience do you have in the industry?
  • Tell me about a time you overcame a challenging situation at work.
  • What’s something not on your resume that would make you a good fit?
  • Why are you interested in working at our company?
  • What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • How would people describe you?

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