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  • Interview next week - any tips?

    Discussion in 'General jobs discussion' started by Pete, Nov 20, 2009.

    1. Pete

      Pete Well-Known Member

      Sep 2009
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      Got an interview next week for a new job as a mechanical engineer, would be interested to hear any hints and tips from either side of the desk!

      Do you use a portfolio? What's the format? What's the content? Sketching? CAD? Drafting?

      "What sort of salary would you be expecting?" - aim high or be modest?

      What do you with your hands?

      Any input welcome!
    3. mvalenti

      mvalenti Well-Known Member

      Nov 2009
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      If its your first Engineering Job, I might be inclined to bring a portfolio. Most companies my guess wouldnt care if you presented yourself properly. I found honesty is the best policy. If you dont know something or have the knowledge, dont bullshit. I would recommend getting a book on salary negotiations. I read one called "Get paid what your worth" I believe was the title. Great tips! Quick read also. Gook Luck!

    4. aknotley

      aknotley Active Member

      Jul 2009
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      I have always used a portfolio in interviews - nothing too flashy or arty. Just lots of images of the best projects/parts/assys I've worked on or designed over the years: a few pics of CAD models, one or two renderings and a 2D drawing or two. I also throw in some thermal or FEA stuff for good measure. I find that it effectively communicates to the potential employer what you can do (so much easier pointing at a picture) It also helps bring a bit of structure to the interview and you never run out of conversation (or forget to mention something important) when you have a portfolio to talk around!
    5. Dave_Premier_Rec

      Dave_Premier_Rec Member

      Aug 2009
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      Interview Tips
      General tips
      · Never be late
      · Know the location
      · Read the job specification (also take with you)
      · Research company - get a brochure, view website
      · Know about their products and/or services/markets they target
      · Communication skills are ranked higher than qualifications
      · An interview is a two way process – ask questions
      · Take it seriously - this 30 minutes may determine the course of your life
      · Practice with a friend or family member beforehand
      · An interviewer is a skilled professional and they know what they are looking for
      · Act like you are determined to get the job
      · Be positive and confident
      · Fill out forms carefully and neatly
      · Shake hands
      · Don’t sit down until asked
      · Look interviewer in the eye
      · Be factual
      · Be sincere
      · Tell the truth
      · Speak positively about reason to move on from current job
      · Be clear and to the point
      · Turn phone off
      · Wear a suit and tie (males) or smart business attire (females)
      · Shave (males)
      · Polish shoes
      · Ties – reflect your personality
      · No earrings or jewelry (males)
      · No chewing gum
      · Take a briefcase to store documents
      Good questions to ask
      · Reason for vacancy?
      · A detailed job description?
      · Training?
      · Expansion plans?
      · For a tour of the office?
      · Career progression?
      Be prepared to answer
      · Why work for us?
      · Why leave your current role?
      · Where do you want to be in 5 years time?
      · Achievements to date?
      · What have you learned from your last job?
      · How could you benefit us?
      · Personal life?
      · Strengths?
      · Weaknesses?
      · How would people describe you?
      · How do you cope with pressure?
      · Don’t be over-aggressive
      · Ask about benefits and holiday
      · Waffle too much
      · Be nervous
      · Be evasive
      · Criticise
      · Look at the floor
      · Have a limp handshake
      · Never criticise current/last employer
      · Request feedback
      · Ask about next stage at end of meeting
      · Accept any offer on the spot or be tactful and give a date for a decision
      · Shake their hand and thank them for their time
      · Call agent immediately after

      I would also take a portfolio is possible. Depending on the type of company, tailor the portfolio to suit (i.e more sketches if it's a product design company)
    6. Pete

      Pete Well-Known Member

      Sep 2009
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      Wow, thanks for the info- particularly the questions to ask the company! Would also love to know how to not be nervous!! :D

      I've heard a couple of people mention that you should ask for feedback on the interview - I’ve never been brave enough to do it without sounding a bit odd... Any suggestions?

      This will be my third job since leaving Middlesex Uni last summer!

      (Not as bad as it sounds!)

      After a 6 month placement on my MSc course, I got taken on permanently as a Design Engineer, and had a fantastic time - great company and friendly from top to bottom with a very literal open door policy. Then got made redundant after 6 months along with 25% of the company and 50% of the R&D Dept...

      Following that I took up an offer of a 6 month KTP style scheme at Anglia Ruskin University. Here I’m effectively working as a consultant with a company to design a mobile patient hoist from scratch. It’s a bit of an odd set-up, but I have total responsibility for the design and management of the product and project, which is a fantastic (and slightly stressful) experience that I didn't get and probably wouldn’t get in 'industry'.

      Anyhow, that's up in Jan, so am looking for job number 3!
    7. Dana

      Dana Well-Known Member

      Sep 2010
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      Ditto on the portfolio... I keep a looseleaf binder with samples (mostly assembly drawings, but some 2D drawings and renderings) from nearly everywhere I've worked. Started it while working as a consultant, but kept it up after returning to direct employment. I've been told numerous times that that's what got me the job.

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