When interviewing for construction jobs or building trades jobs, there are basically two types of interviews: the screening interview and the hiring/selection interview. Both of these are styled differently and you need to be prepared for both.
Screening interviews are used to qualify you for selection before you meet with a construction hiring authority. Screeners will try to weed you out rather than get you hired. These construction interviews are normal for companies who receive hundreds or thousands of solicitations for a single construction job opportunity. Screening interviews are usually quick, efficient and low cost strategies that result in a short list of qualified candidates. They assist Operations Managers to save critical time by eliminating unqualified candidates.
If invited to a face-to-face screening interview, it will usually be with a third-party construction recruiter or someone from human resources. Human resource interviewers are typically experienced and often are professionals skilled at construction interviewing and screening candidates. They may not understand the details of the job that you interview for, but they are effective at judging character, intelligence, and good fits for the company culture. They are also good at identifying potential “red flags” or problem areas with your work background and general qualifications.
Your toughest task might be to get past the screeners to the Operation’s Managers. Be prepared to explain any discrepancies in your background (i.e. gaps in construction employment or construction education, frequent job changes, layoffs, etc.).
Some examples of screening interviews include telephone interviews, computer interviews, video- conference interviews and the structured interview. The purpose of these interviews are to screen you and eliminate you from selection of for the various construction jobs you are interviewing for. The result of this process results in a short list of a few finalists since there may be several dozen candidates to weed out.
Telephone interviewing is the most common way to perform an initial screening interview. It helps both the construction interviewer and the candidate get a general sense of mutual interest in pursuing things beyond the first construction interview. It also saves time and money, and may be tape recorded for review by other interviewers.
During a phone interview, your goal as a candidate should be to arrange a face-to-face meeting. If this is not possible, try to arrange another time to talk, or get the name/address of a suitable contact in the employer’s firm so that you can submit a construction resume.
If you are caught off guard or unprepared with an incoming interview call, ask to meet in person, or reschedule the appointment for a more convenient time. Remember that the person calling is the one who establishes control. Therefore, it’s to your advantage to place the call at a more convenient time.
Tips for phone interviews:
- At the start of the conversation, make sure to write the person’s name down correctly. Ask for the correct spelling. Ask their phone number so that you can call them back if cut off.
- Keep the following items handy: copy of your construction Resin Driveway resume, list of employer questions, pen, paper, research material on the employer, and any other notes you might have. It may also be a good idea to have a glass of water nearby.
- Dress up as though you are going to a face-to-face meeting. This usually will help to enhance your energy level and professional presence.
- Always try to smile speaking on the phone. People can usually sense when you’re smiling or frowning.
- Try to speak in a loud, clear voice considering that most phone reception reduces phone sound levels.
- Ask several clever questions as if you were in a face-to-face meeting.
- If you place the call, don’t let the long-distance phone charge shorten the construction jobs interview.
- If confronted with a question you do not have a simple and effective answer for, state that the question may be better answered in person.
- Thank the interviewer for his/her time, and follow up with a “thank you” letter.
These construction interviews are used to weed out top candidates from dozens or hundreds of candidates that may be applying for a specific job opening. Computer interviews involve answering a series of multiple-choice questions that will pre-qualify candidates for a potential job interview and/or request resume submission. Some interviews are handled through the telephone with push buttons, while others require accessing a web site to complete the construction job interview with a computer keyboard and mouse. Computer interviews are often timed. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to go in as an alias in order to get a sense of questions and timing before applying under your real name.
Video-Phone and Video-Conferencing
Video-conferencing systems provide the transfer of audio and video between remote sites. More than half of the largest U.S. companies utilize video-conferencing as a means of convenient communication and as an alternative to more costly face-to-face meetings. Basically anyone in the world can perform video-conferencing with the use of a microphone, camera and compatible software. Video-conferencing is now available via the Internet. The continuous drop in cost makes it a popular resource for construction businesses as well as home use.