So, you’ve nailed your application and got through to the interview stage. Take a moment to congratulate yourself – in such a popular market, you’ve done well to get this far.
At the same time, you may be feeling a bit nervous. The interview is arguably the most important part of your job hunt. It’s where you sell yourself properly, beyond just the CV and cover letter.
The best way to manage those nerves is by preparing properly. This gives you peace of mind and ensures you go into the interview feeling that little bit more relaxed.
That’s where this blog comes in (even if we do say so ourselves)! We’ll guide you through some of the key principles to follow, to give yourself the best possible chance of having a successful interview.
Show that this is a role you genuinely want. Do some detailed research and reference it in your cover letter. Which areas has the company recently rolled full fibre out in? Has there been any exciting media coverage? How about award wins? This shows you’re not just sending a generic copy and paste application.
The same goes for your interviewer. Take a look at their LinkedIn profile and/or company website bio, to get an idea of their background and what they do. If there’s something that stands out, mentioning it in the interview is a great way to connect with them.
You should also have a good understanding of what their role within the company currently is. What projects are they mainly responsible for? Knowing this will give you an idea of their top priorities, so you can prepare answers related to this area. It’ll also inform some of the questions you ask them. We’ll go into more detail on this later.
It’s worth remembering that doing your homework not only helps you impress, but also gives you confidence that this is the right company and role for you.
P.S – if you’re applying for a role on the Network Build project, you’re in the right place. You can also check out the CityFibre website beforehand to learn about the project and weave this into your interview!
While you want to sell yourself, avoid exaggerating or making things up. Remember everything can be easily checked nowadays, so it’s best to be honest.
Whether it’s gaps on your CV, or tickets you’ve achieved – be clear and open about everything. Remember you’ll be speaking to experienced professionals – people who know plenty about Fibre, Telecoms and Utilities – so blagging and bluffing is not the way to go.
Everything you do should point towards a positive attitude. Right from your first handshake (if this is an in-person interview) or your first “hello” (if it’s a virtual one) – be engaged and friendly.
Show that you really want this job. Don’t appear downbeat or disengaged – this can easily be picked up, even through a computer screen. The more enthusiastic you are with your tone of voice and body language, the more this will filter through to the interviewer.
This is especially important for trainee or unskilled roles – interviewers want to know that even though you lack experience, you know what to expect from this type of career and are keen to pursue it. You could even ask them during the interview if they provide the opportunity to do a trial shift. This shows your enthusiasm and passion, which is something every interviewer wants to see. It’ll also be a good way for you to see what the work and company is like.
Generally speaking, Fibre interviews are quite informal for ‘boots on the ground’ roles (for example Fibre Splicers, Fibre Engineers and Civils Operatives), so don’t be put off if things feel conversational. Unlike a lot of other industries, you won’t just be asked competency-based questions, and a lot will depend on you showing you’ll fit in well.
Show you’re a solution
You still need to show you match up to the job from a skills and competency perspective. Be confident and relate your previous experience to what the hiring manager is looking for.
Don’t use clichés – be specific about what you actually did. For example, if you worked as a Fibre Supervisor, explain how you built relationships with Highways Authorities and other partners to ensure standards were met and projects were delivered.
Even if you don’t have prior experience, draw on other things you’ve done. We’ll use the Fibre Splicer role as an example. This is a job which requires a lot of physical and outdoor work. Perhaps you’ve worked on a construction site before? Don’t be afraid to use this as a selling point and talk about what you achieved.
Ultimately, what you’re doing is drawing a link between what the hiring manager is looking for, and what you’re capable of.
Answer questions calmly
Even though the interview is likely to be conversational, it’s important to stay professional and unflustered when answering questions. Don’t ramble – stay clear and to the point. Always accept the offer of a glass of water, as it could come in handy. If you’re unsure about a question, it’s fine to take a minute to think. You can also ask to come back to it afterwards. Most interviewers will know that this can be a stressful situation.
You might be asked a question like “Why are you leaving your current job?”.
Avoid being negative about your current employer, or mentioning money as a reason, as these don’t reflect well on you. Focus more on the positive aspects of the role you’re applying for. This is especially important if you’re trying to get into the Fibre industry for the first time. Emphasise your excitement about the impact you could make, and the chance to help so many people with the power of broadband.
At the end of the day, it shouldn’t a case of you looking to leave your current role – more a case of you being excited by this one.
Ask your own questions
An interview should never be one-sided, so keep a balance by asking almost as many questions as the interviewer. After all, they need to sell the role and company to you as much as the other way round. If you don’t have many questions, they’ll probably think you lack ambition and aren’t as interested as you made out in your application.
Use this opportunity to find out as much as possible. Think about what’s important to you and ask questions related to this. Some good ones include:
What are your key full fibre rollout targets for the next 18-24 months?
How will you measure my success?
How do you see me progressing?
Are there any challenges in this role I should be aware of?
Who are some of the key people I’d be working closely with?
How would you describe the company culture?
What’s your favourite thing about working here?
You may also want to finish off with a question like:
“Are there any reservations you have about hiring me?”
This might sound a bit edgy, but it gives you an opportunity to see what they think of you. It also means that you can reassure them over any reservations they might have - in other words, you can gently fight your corner and again position yourself as the right person for this role.
As the old saying goes: “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”
Hopefully these tips will help you get your preparation right, giving you the best possible chance of succeeding at the interview stage. In a market where competition is hot, this could make all the difference.
Ready to put these tips into practice?