Whether you are actively or passively exploring new job opportunities, knowing how to prepare for an interview is a skill worth having. We have created a guide on how to prepare for your next interview; to ensure you walk in confident, prepared and ready to land that job.
The guideline and tips below are an effort to assist you with the process and help you effectively prepare for your interview. Remember interviewing is a skill and to do it well takes time and preparation.
1. Before the interview, spend some time on the employer’s website and research the company.
Before you go to the interview, make sure that you find out as much about the company as you can. Take the time to check out the company’s website, LinkedIn profile, and other social media channels. Read about the company, their clients, and their products or services. Your goal here isn’t just to learn about what they do, but learn about how they see themselves.
Understanding a company’s culture is important to know what they value, how they work, and how well you’ll fit into it. The information gathered from the website is useful to know, because if that understanding is reflected in your conversation in the interview, you’ll come across as if you “get” them.
The more you understand about the context they work in, the better you’ll be able to tailor your answers in a way that will be relevant to them.
2. Dig into the job description.
The job description usually contains a lot of useful information, therefore it is very important to spend time going through it line by line and thinking about how your experience and skills are needed to excel at the job.
In particular, for each responsibility or qualification listed, try to come up with concrete examples from your past that you can point to as supporting evidence that you’d be great at the job.
For example, similar challenges that you’ve faced and how you tackled them, as well as particular successes you’ve had that you can tie back to what it will take to succeed in this role.
3. Practice your “About Me” Overview.
The question, “So tell me about yourself” is inevitable. When putting together your answer to this question, think about your top three professional strengths and form your overview around those. Make sure to include highlights from your previous positions, why you are interested in a new opportunity and the skills you can provide an employer.
As a rule, this is generally about two minutes long. Don’t only think about professional strengths, but who are you as a person and what values do you hold that make you a strong candidate?
Since expertise is so highly valued in the Packaging industry, come up with a list of materials, components, processes, and technologies you have experience with. Check out our hiring checklist for a useful list of areas of expertise to help you build out yours.
4. Write down the questions you’re likely to be asked, and practice saying your answers out loud.
One of the best ways to prepare for your interview is to practice. Try to answer some common interview questions such as: Why are you thinking about leaving your current job? What interests you about this opening? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What experience do you have?
Specifically, for the packaging industry, employers will want to know what industries you have worked within, what materials you have experience working with and the role you played in the different projects you’ve worked on.
Figure out how you’ll answer and practice saying those answers out loud. Doing this kind of reflection and practice ahead of time should make a significant difference in how polished and confident you appear when you’re talking to your interviewer.
5. STAR Interview Format
In preparation for your interview, research the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) interviewing technique to help assist with the interview process. Have 3 to 4 projects that you can quickly talk about to showcase your experience. Think of a situation similar to what the interviewer is asking you about that had a successful outcome.
Remember to give a concise description of what the situation was you were working on solving. Explain the specific challenges you faced in completing the task. Give highlights on the action steps you specifically needed to take to get the job done. Finally, give a summary of the results you achieved.
Often in interviews, the interviewer will question you about a project you felt could have been improved upon or failed. This is a great time to reevaluate projects you’d do differently if you had another chance at them. Approach this thought process the same way you think about your success stories.
6. Find out the type of Interview you will be going on
There are several common types of interviews such as one-on-one, group and behavioral. You shouldn’t assume you will get a certain one. Don’t be afraid to ask, so you can be prepared.
7. Prepare several questions for the Interviewer
Develop questions that you really want to know when you imagine going to work at this job every day. Asking questions during an interview shows your interest in learning more about the company and you want as much information as possible before making a decision to accept an offer.
Examples of questions you might ask: What are the biggest challenges the person in this position will face? Can you describe a typical day or week in the position? What would a successful first year in the position look like? How will the success of the person in this position be measured? What kind of packaging projects will I be exposed to? What is the opportunity for expanding my expertise?
Since there are different types of employment options within the packaging industry, (project-based vs full-time employment, on-site vs remote) make sure you understand the type of engagement you’re interviewing for and what that entails.
It’s normal for job candidates to write out these questions and take them to the interview to reference.
8. Prep for Your Interview
If you get nervous before interviews, it can help to remember that the employer almost certainly thinks you’re qualified for the role, or they would not be interviewing you. The goal is to give a good interview that shows why you’d excel at the job and what you’d be like to work with every day.
Prep Your Outfit
Get your interview outfit ready as early as possible, so you can concentrate on the interview and not on your outfit. Wear something that is professional and makes you feel your best. Make sure you try it on ahead of time, just to make sure everything fits.
Come Prepared and Know Where You’re Going
Print and bring with you some extra copies of your resume and a list of your references, just in case the interviewer asks for it. Bring a notepad and two pens so you’re ready to complete paperwork or take notes. Allow enough time to get there and anticipate traffic.
Bring the phone number of your interviewer just in case you get lost or are going to be late. It’s also a good idea to go for a visit before the interview so that you are familiar with your route and how long you need to give yourself to get there. Check out parking, as you don’t want to arrive and find out there is no place to park your car.
You should have an agenda and hopefully the names of those who you will be interviewing with. Perform some due diligence. Dig into each of the interviewer’s profiles on LinkedIn. Get to know them to the best of your ability.
Mute your phone or other technology. Turn off alarms that may be on your watch. Leave food, cigarettes and other items not necessary for the interview in your car or at home.
9. Follow Up with a Thank You Note
Follow up a job interview with a thank you note reiterating your interest in the job. Restate why you want the job, what your qualifications are and how you might make significant contributions. Email is an acceptable way to send a thank-you note but make certain each person you engage with receives their own.
At Adept Talent, our recruiters have interviewed hundreds of candidates for the packaging industry and had the pleasure of placing engineers at some of the most renowned Food, Beverage, CPG and Life Sciences companies in the world. If you’re interested in working on packaging that has a big impact, check out our open positions.
To download a checklist to help you prepare, click here to go to our resource library.