A Construction NVQ and a CSCS Card are a must for anyone intent on making a career in the construction industry. However, having these credentials is no guarantee that you will be hired for the job you apply for. Actually, the fact that the Construction NVQ and CSCS Card are the de facto pre-requisite for a construction career in the UK has made having them become almost ordinary.
Put differently, probably everyone that has applied for the same job you have applied for has an NVQ and has passed a CSCS Card test. And that is why the interview is one of the best places to set yourself apart from the other candidates.
Preparing for a Construction Interview
So how do you prepare for the interview? First, remember that your interview starts way before you enter the interview room – rather, the interview starts at the point of your initial job application via your cover letter and resume. One of the most common presumptions made by applicants for construction jobs is that the recruiters will be more focused on their technical capability than the quality of their application.
Whereas it is true that candidates for construction jobs are primarily evaluated on their technical competence, the professionalism of your cover letter and resume may be the one thing that distinguishes your application from those of other candidates and earns you an interview. Again, bear in mind all applicants likely have met the required threshold in terms of NVQ, CSCS Card and experience.
Now, once you make it to the interview room remember that body language can also speak in your favour, carry yourself with confidence but be careful you do not come across as arrogant and aloof. The enduring stereotype of the typical construction worker is that of a rough, burly and tough person. While work at a construction site will almost inevitably involve dabbling with lots dirt, dust and grime, this should not be misunderstood to mean that workers cannot be civil and project a smart image of themselves. This is obviously especially true of candidates for managerial and supervisory positions.
How to present yourself
The picture you present of yourself at the interview should not only be one of an assertive construction professional and a patient and respectful team player. The construction site can be a stressful work environment – the interview panel must be persuaded that you are not one to easily buckle under pressure and lose your cool.
Construction jobs are technical and so interviews are likely to involve certain technical questions specific to your line of work and for which you must be prepared. However, do not affirm knowledge of a technical term when you either do not know or are uncertain of what it means. Interviewers know that possession of an NVQ or a CSCS card does not necessarily mean you know everything there is to know about the job. It is better to admit you have no experience of something than to be caught out later on.
Requesting clarification on something, accepting you do not know what it means or have not done that type of work before does not necessarily mean you will not get the job. Interviewers will always view candidates favorably when can both demonstrate knowledge in the major areas and show an enthusiasm to learn new skills.