Ace the Interview: Cast away your fears to land that position

So you’ve landed the interview and you’re one step closer to landing that Aerospace position you’ve been dreaming of. The only thing standing in your way is that pesky interview. Maybe you always choke in the interview or you’ve been at your last job so long, you don’t really know what the interview process is like anymore. Let’s just say what everyone is thinking; interviews are nerve wracking, but the interview is nothing to fear. After all, you are on some level qualified for the position or you never would’ve been called in the first place right? Some of these tips may seem like a no brainer, but they are often critical mistakes people make during an interview; sometimes they are mistakes people make because they don’t realize that getting an interview through a staffing agency is a little different than if you landed the interview on your own. As overwhelming as they may seem, interviews don’t have to be a huge stress, just be yourself, take a deep breath and read on to find out how best to prepare for that upcoming interview:

  1. Know where you’re going: This may seem like the most obvious tip but it is also one of the most important. The silliest reason people lose out on a position? They simply don’t show up. Therefore it’s important to make sure your have the correct address, meeting time, and know the name of the person you are scheduled to see. Many companies have multiple locations so it’s always best to confirm the address with the person that invited you for an interview and take down the information somewhere where it will be easily accessible to you the day of. It’s also a good idea to have a navigating system like, google maps, yahoo maps or mapquest on in your car, even if you know where you’re going.
  2. Arrive 10 minutes before your interview: If you are running late or can’t make the appointment for any reason, call your recruiter prior to the scheduled interview time. With advanced notice, your recruiter can let the hiring manager know that you are on your way or they can reschedule the interview for you if necessary. While you want to avoid being late to an interview altogether, your chances of still having an interview are much higher if you call in advance than if you simply don’t show up. Arriving a few minutes early also gives you the opportunity to pull yourself together, i.e., comb your hair, take a deep breath, and collect your thoughts. It’s important to note that while it is important to arrive early, there is such a thing as arriving too early as well, so try to arrive no more than 10 minutes before your scheduled interview time.
  3. Educate yourself about the company: Be sure to research the company with which you will be interviewing; do your homework by visiting the company’s Web site and searching the Internet for news and articles about that company. Hiring managers often complain that many candidates apply without knowing anything about what their company does and some hiring managers may even ask you what you know about the company. While you don’t need to memorize the CEO’s biography, you should at least be familiar with the company’s products and/or services.  With more information about the company, you are better able to “sell yourself” for the job.
  4. Dress appropriately: Even if the work environment at the company is casual, be sure to arrive at the interview dressed professionally and neatly groomed. After all, the people you see dressed casually already have to the job, you still need to interview for yours, so it’s always best to look nice and make a good first impression. Be sure to dress in conservative, business professional attire. Ladies, if you make the choice to wear heels, make sure they are a sensible pump of appropriate height.
  5. Be confident and calm when you meet the hiring manager: The hiring manager wants to choose the best person for the job and there is a good chance that person is you, otherwise you wouldn’t be that this interview. Make it easy for the hiring manager to choose you by smiling, shaking his/her hand firmly and showing you are happy to have this opportunity. He or she wants to hire the best person for the job, and there is a good chance that person is you. Make it easy for him or her to come to this decision. Smile pleasantly and shake hands firmly. Let him or her know that you are happy to be there. Though it may seem like it, is is not drudgery; it’s the first step to an exciting, lucrative new assignment with this company.
  6. Know the specifics of the job requirements: If you haven’t already, find out what your recruiter knows about the job and any particular areas of your resume might be of interest to the hiring manager; these areas are what you’ll want to emphasize and expand on during your interview. Be sure to also think of specific examples from past jobs that illustrate your ability to be successful with this assignment.
  7. During the interview, speak clearly and remember to make eye contact: As mentioned previously, you should be prepared to talk about your participation in projects relevant to the new assignment and how your past experience will help you become a valuable member of the team. In addition to good content, you will also want to make sure you speak clearly and maintain good eye contact with your interviewer(s). If you are interviewing with more than one person, make sure to give good eye contact to both interviewers.
  8. Answer the interview questions completely and succinctly: Stick to the question and avoid rambling; the best way to go about this is to take a deep breath and give yourself a little time to think about the question before you answer. Contrary to popular belief, it’s okay to take a few seconds to think about the question being asked of you before you answer. An interview isn’t a race, it’s about giving the best answers that prove you are the best candidate for the position. So take your time and remember, it is also okay to stop talking after you have answered a question.
  9. Resist the urge to tell the hiring manager that his or her entire approach for software design, development, testing, etc., is wrong: A surprising number of candidates embrace this approach and are always surprised when they are not chosen for assignments. You may have different ideas that would be valuable to the company, and it’s okay to have these ideas, but an interview is not the place to share those opinions. but telling someone you have just met that he or she is incorrect is a sure way NOT to get the job.
  10. Don’t criticize former employers, coworkers, companies, projects, etc: A scathing dissertation on the incompetence of your last project manager is unprofessional and never helps you land new assignments. If asked about past situations that were less than pleasant, try to emphasize any positive results you may have brought about without airing your “negative laundry list.”
  11. Ask intelligent questions about the company, project, and assignment: If you have done your research about the company, you should be able to prepare relevant and thoughtful questions prior to the interview. Many qualified candidates lose out on prime assignments because they appear disinterested. Don’t let this happen to you! If needed, write any questions you may have down and bring them into the interview with you. Be sure to ask if it is okay to read from your paper should you decide to do so. Note that if you decide to write down your questions, make sure not to fold the paper or, if you have one, bring your questions in a portfolio so that it stays neat.
  12. Do not discuss pay: The hiring manager is not able to discuss your pay due to co-employment issues and doing so puts him/her in an awkward situation. Have this conversation with your recruiter; they will make their best effort to negotiate a reasonable pay rate on your behalf.
  13. End the interview on a positive note: Show the hiring manager you want the position. Ask him/her if there is anything else that you need to answer to show you are the right person for this assignment. Thank him/her for his/her time and consideration. Try to find out next steps and when you can expect to know whether or not you have the assignment. (While the hiring manager will probably contact your recruiter, this emphasizes your interest in the assignment and gives you a better picture of where he or she is in the selection process.)
  14. Be sure to contact your recruiter immediately to tell him or her about the interview: If you have any questions or concerns about this assignment, discuss them with your recruiter.♦

PGS Worldwide, a boutique SDVOSB Agency, founded in 2011, is the #1 staffing supplier to several notable aerospace and defense companies. If you, or someone you know, are interested in jump starting your dream career in Aerospace, check out our available positions today. If you’re interested in doing business with us and want to know what we are capable of, check out our capability statement.

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