5 interview tips to help you ace your renewable energy job interview
Last week we spoke about CV tips to help you land a job in the renewable energy sector. Picture this: you followed our advice, perfected your CV, our consultants at Progressive found you a good fit and now you’ve been shortlisted for an interview with the client. Congratulations! Here are 5 tips to help you ace your renewable energy job interview:
1. Do your research!
Knowing a little bit about the organization you're hoping to work for is a very apparent tip for your interview, but it's still crucial. Select a couple of specific projects they've worked on to delve further. These can be brought up during the interview to impress the hiring manager.
As part of your preparation, you should strive to learn as much as you can about the organization and the position you are applying for. Use websites like Glassdoor to perform additional research on the firm, as well as potential interview questions. Don't be scared to chat with your recruiter as well; after all, that's why they're there.
2. Treat your virtual interview like a regular interview
With the current health and economic situation, a lot of clients are conducting interviews virtually and will most likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The last few years have demonstrated that this is the way to go — in terms of convenience, speed, time, and commuting costs. It's also better for the environment, which Renewable Energy clients appreciate!
However, if your interview is virtual, it is essential that you do not become complacent. Treat it as though it were a regular face-to-face interview.
- Join the meeting on time and dress professionally.
- Make sure you've done a thorough tech check ahead of time to ensure everything runs smoothly. To prevent distracting the interviewer, make sure your backdrop is simple.
- When the interview starts, act as though you were in the same room as the interviewer. Maintain good eye contact, answer questions calmly, and indicate your enthusiasm for the role. Renewable energy is an interesting industry to work in since you get to work with fantastic technology while helping to shape the future energy systems. This should be shown in your body language.
3. Match your skills and experience to the job requirements but be honest
Don't fall into the trap of inflating your skills! It may be tempting to exaggerate some of your accomplishments, but keep in mind that everything you mention is typically supported by references when they are followed up on. You definitely don't want to be caught off guard later on.
Nothing is worse than coming across as deceptive or unclear in an interview — it's a certain way to lose the job. Instead, simply be truthful; speak about true triumphs. You'll find it much easier to communicate effectively and become engrossed in chats about your genuine experience. For example, you might be applying for a position as a Site Engineer (Civil, Mechanical, or Electrical). You'll most likely be in charge of the site operations for a certain Renewable Energy project. Examine your previous projects: was there ever a time when you recognized major energy-saving opportunities? What kind of influence did it have?
Similarly, you will most likely be in charge of a number of subcontractors in this capacity. How many people have you previously supervised, and how well did they eventually apply the construction drawings?
4. Ask the right questions
Asking intriguing and relevant questions about the role, team, or organization you're interviewing for demonstrates to the employer that you're serious about the position. Remember, an interview is a two-way street. You're pitching yourself, but they should also pitch the advantages of working there. They'll be able to do exactly that if you ask the right questions.
- The obvious questions include the role and the specific Renewables projects on which you will be working. Ask as to why your interviewer joined. What prompted them to switch from their former company to this one?
- What do they like best about their job? How would they describe the culture? These are the kinds of things you can't learn from a job advertisement – it's someone's firsthand experience that's invaluable.
- Aside from the positives, it's a good idea to learn about some of the challenges. Don't be scared to question the interviewer what these are or would be for you if you landed the job.
- Ask about advancement opportunities. For example, assuming all goes well in the coming years, where and how do they see you moving? Returning to the earlier Site Engineer example, the next step up is Lead Engineer or Senior Site Engineer. Perhaps you might inquire about the people who now hold those positions, and whether they were hired from outside or promoted from within? Don't go too far with this since you want to establish the right balance. Demonstrate ambition, but not arrogance.
5. End on the right note
You might want to end with a question like:
"Are there any concerns that I haven't addressed for you during this interview that you would like me to discuss now?"
This indicates that you're interested in the position and gives you the assurance that you've covered all your points. There could have been something you prepared but forgot to mention - by asking this question, you may get another opportunity if the interviewer brings it up.