Job interview in the oil and gas sector


Third step: Priceless tips about JOB INTERVIEW in the oil and gas sector from Fair Recruitment Experts for graduates!

 Read – use – achieve success!

Job interview is the next step in the recruitment process after positive evaluation of CV. Personal interview is a method used most frequently to identify the right candidate for the presented position. Often this is also the only moment when representatives of the employer have the opportunity to get to know the candidates better. It may happen that the job interview is the final step in an extensive recruiting process, therefore it can be crucial for success in applying for a job. For this reason the most important rule with job interview is – be prepared.

Same steps of the interview are easy to predict owing to the fact that consultants responsible for conducting the interview use proven interview schemes. For the purpose of our topic we adopt a universal standard that is most widely used by our customers.

Beginning of the interview

After entering the room, where the interview will take place, representatives of the employer will welcome you and present themselves as well as other people, who will be present during the meeting. Right after recruiter will ask a question totally unrelated to the subject of the meeting. Most often these are questions about any problems with finding headquarters of the company or the weather. During major events, especially sport ones, the recruiter may also bring up this subject. Such nonbinding exchange of views should allow to make contact between candidate and employer’s representatives, as well as help in relaxing the atmosphere. After a brief exchange of views, person responsible for conducting the interview, should present plan of the meeting.

Presentation of interview plan

Standard plan of the interview may be presented as follows:

– Presentation of the company, completed and currently conducted projects, as well as plans for the future;

– Presentation of position and description of its place in the structure within the company, as well as requirements for the given vacancy;

-An initial introduction is followed by fundamental part of the interview which is a series of questions to the candidate;

-During each interview candidate also gets a chance to ask questions to representatives of the employer;

– At the end, along with thanks for coming, the candidate should be informed of the date and method of notification of results of the whole recruitment process.

Interview questions to the candidate

 The main objective of this part is to discuss content of the CV or in case of graduates, knowledge acquired during studies, internships and apprenticeships. First of all, listen to the entire question before you answer. Questions asked during the interview should verify authenticity of the information provided in resume. Verification of the candidate’s knowledge and skills is another objective of the interview. It may happen that in order to verify information, candidate will be asked to solve a task or test, which usually is related to candidate base of knowledge. The final purposes of the questions to the candidate is to complement knowledge about him. The better-written resume, the smaller number of additional questions asked by representatives of the employer. A large number of supplementary questions arising during the interview, may adversely affect the candidate causing stress. To avoid such a situation, candidate should respond specifically and fully to each recruiter’s question. Person responding briefly and laconically can expect additional questions regarding to a single topic until the recruiter will receive a satisfactory answer. Usually, one of the participants of the interview is a representative of the department / division to which the offered position is assigned. Due to the substantive knowledge, this person is responsible for verification of candidates’ technical knowledge, qualifications and experience.

Despite technical questions, recruiter may also arise ones directly related to the candidate personality and soft skills such as initiative and the ability to achieve the objectives, creativity, communication skills, ability to cooperate in a team, ability to solve problems. Before the interview you should take time to practice answering the interview questions, that will help calm your nerves.

There is a series of questions underestimated by candidates, however, from the recruiter point of view, these questions have considerable sense. For example:

·  The question about the strengths – first of all this question checks the   candidate’s priorities and secondly, whether among these advantages occur examples which are crucial for the position;
·  The question about the weaknesses – the same like in the case of questions about advantages – the interviewer wants to check whether the candidate is aware of his flaws that determine the level of maturity but also if that weaknesses will have a direct influence on the future work;
·  The question about greatest success – a person who leads recruitment process wants to know candidate’s value system and secondly how that person achieved success, if it was just a coincidence or actually the result of deliberate and active approach;
· The question about failure – similar to the question about flaws or weaknesses, presented question determines the level of awareness of failures or mistakes made in the past by the candidate, as well as lessons learned and possible action that person undertake to eliminate mistakes;
· During the interview, candidates can expect questions about the motivation to work in a given company, at particular position. The purpose of this question, it is probably clear. The recruiter wants to know the exact motives that determined decision to work in this particular company;
·  The question about financial expectations occurs when a job offer does not include information about wages and also when the candidate has not been asked to include such information in the application documents before job interview.

Candidate’s questions

We also should remember, that right behind the interview questions to the candidate, secondly the most important part of the interview is candidate’s questions time. Especially graduates should always welcome the opportunity to ask questions and demonstrate interest in the job offer and the company. Normally, in the middle of the job interview or near to the end, you will have an opportunity to ask about practically every aspect related to work. At any price, do not underestimate the chance to ask questions therefore, prior to the meeting prepare a short list of questions. Quality of these questions can also be crucial to the final decision on your application.

How to prepare for a job interview?

First and foremost, if you are interested in employment at the offered position, you need to carefully prepare for the meeting with the representative of the employer. Preparations begin after receiving an invitation for an job interview.

Typically, such information company sends by e-mail. It may also happen that you will receive call from the HR department.

In the first place, check if it is possible for you to take part in the interview at certain date and time. If you have any other plans, you should try to reschedule day and be available for the employer. Perhaps you will be invited for the interview to another city. Then it is strategic to plan your trip in order to avoid any possible delays.

It is important to remember, that the interview may also involve persons from different department than HR.
In case of recruitment to international companies also representatives of international offices / headquarters may participate, therefore candidate should adjust to their timetable. As soon as possible, candidate should confirm attendance at the meeting, preferably via email and also select a confirmation of receipt message. Setting a reminder on your phone / tablet / computer could be helpful. It may sound silly, but it happened to us several times that candidate forgot about an appointment. In some cases, this may effect in candidate’s rejection. Be also on time for the interview or even five to ten minutes earlier.

Before the interview, candidate should reserve some time for preparation. The best time to start preparation seems to be one day before the interview focusing on the three main areas.

Knowledge of the employer

Before the interview, it is useful to find out as much as you can about the employer. Company research is a significant part of interview preparation. Checking company website, reading about completed projects, company structure and the scope of services offered appear to be the best way.

Awareness of your own purposes

Based on information about the company, you should think what is interesting in employer’s offer and also what you can expect from the company concerning career development, work environment and remuneration. These issues should be carefully considered before the interview and also help in answering the question about motivation, which was mentioned earlier. It is recommended to be prepared before each job interview, so that representatives of the company would see a real candidate for the job, and not another applicant.

Knowledge of own career

It is worth to review your resume again. Some facts from the previous career / studies may have been already forgotten. Going through the CV will help in answering questions from the representatives of the employer. You may also consider potential questions and prepare some answers.

In order to be prepared better I would like to introduce some practical guidelines for the preparation and behavior during the conversation.

Important Tips

Despite the fact that dress is not the most important during the interview, we should pay attention to it. For an interview for a professional position, dress accordingly in business attire. Many times the first impression is crucial and may influence the whole conversation. Clean and neat dress means that the candidate is serious about the job and is prepared for the meeting. Business casual, which is jacket imposed on a t-shirt, consider to be the proper option for the job interview. Very important may be details proven neatness: clean shoes, well-tied tie, clean and neat nails.

It is strongly advisable to prepare clothes day before interview whether take care of proper sleep. That would help avoid morning panic and unnecessary stress. After a quiet night and previous preparations, the day in which you have planned interview should not be stressful.

Ladies should note that their makeup is not too provocative and flashy. It is important also not to use strong-smelling perfume. People who smoke should not smoke directly before the meeting. Absolutely you should avoid drinking alcohol.

Non-verbal communication

During the meeting watch your body language, be open and smile. Do not present closed position characterized by crossed arms or legs. For people participating in a conversation is a clear sign of the embarrassment and discomfort of the candidate.

Of course you should not behave too freely. Behaviors such as stretching, crossing your legs or hands behind the head can be seen as an expression of disrespect for the other person. It is also important to take control of impulses, which may indicate the nerves. Throughout the conversation, eye contact with the person leading interview should be maintained, which demonstrates the interest and serious approach.

Verbal communication

As mentioned earlier, the questions asked by the recruiter are mainly related to prior experience, and in the case of graduates related to knowledge acquired during internships or education. Answers should be sincere, without unnecessary exaggeration but also remeber not to sell yourself short. You should remember that at any moment the answers can be verified, if not during the interview, than certainly while working but with the negative consequences for the company. An unflattering opinion about the candidates may cause difficulties in finding new job whether block the possibility of career development.

Describing reasons why you choose particular employer appear to be the best answer for the question concerning previously held positions or chosen education. In case of graduates why you chose this school / college / department / specialization. Your answer should include also information about the position held with details about duties and responsibilities. In case of graduates appropriate would be description of known theories, technology or practical knowledge acquired during internships. Definitely candidate should avoid perfunctory answers like “yes” or “no”.

People, who already have work experience in a particular industry, should present the most important projects in which they participated. For fresh graduates essential will be presentation of the scientific projects that they were involved in.

Sooner or later you need to be prepared for question about motivation to work in a given company.
The typical formulas of professional and personal development should be absolutely avoid. Even if these are the reasons why you would like to work in a particular company.

Answering these questions you should underline specific directions for development that is important for you, whether the newest technology that is being used by the company. Be more precise and present your knowledge about the company. Show that you made effort to update information about the employer. Definitely avoid identifying finance as main motivation to apply for the job. Responding to questions about soft skills support answers with specific examples.
While describing your previous professional career or courses during the study, never badmouth your previous employer. In case of graduates it might be disrespectful opinions about people conducting classes. There are several reasons why you should follow this rule. First of all, loyalty to employer is valued in the labor market. Therefore, a person smearing former employer could potentially be a source of bad reviews about the company in the future. Secondly, especially in technical fields with narrow specializations, people even working in different companies, know each other. Therefore, it may happen that when we express our unflattering opinion about someone during the interview, one of the person conducting conversation could be his friend.

Questions to the employer

Based on company description and information included in the job offer candidate should prepare questions that he would like to ask during the interview. All of them need to be related with specific issues that are interesting for you. Appropriate questions could be connected with career path, possible directions of development, system training, cooperation with companies / foreign departments. It is worth to prepare a set of questions especially that during the interview some of them will be answered. During the interview you should avoid questions about the salary. We also know from experience that for many candidates answer to the question about financial expectations may cause problems.

How to prepare to answer about financial expectation?

There are three possible ways to find information about possible salary at a given position. Firstly, friends and colleagues working in a similar company or industry. Secondly, searching for similar offers where salary range will be included. On this basis you can prepare your answer. Thirdly, industry forums, oil and gas job sites offer salary survey and contacts on LinkedIn are usually very willing to provide information on the subject. However, if your search turned out to be unsuccessful, it is best to wait for an offer from the company.

As my final point, I would like to draw attention to one fact. It may look that till now we discussed just obvious and insignificant matters. But they may be crucial to the result of recruitment, due to the fact that usually more candidates apply for the position. From this group, the employer will chooses the best one. In case candidates represent a similar level, crucial for final decision may be just such trivia as spelling or grammatical errors in your resume, missed call or messy look.

Job search is a time-consuming process and can often lead to discouragement. Nevertheless, participation in recruitment processes gives a new experience that helps to eliminate previous mistakes and finally can help in successful end of the recruitment process. I wish that for all of you job interview will be valuable experience.

Aleksandra Grodzka

Recruitment Consultant of Fair Recruitment

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Barbara Pach

Marketing Manager of YoungPetro; Student AGH University of Science & Technology in Cracow; Poland SPE Student Chapter

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