“Interview? Do I have to interview? Isn't that supposed to be a blue-collar job, not a white-collar job? I hope it's not like a suit and everything. Not interested in working in an office”

You might find yourself pondering this after applying for a manufacturing job, and if so, you're not alone. Lots of online info and advice for office jobs, but not all may apply to you. Here is some advice for you for a blue-collar interview.


make your first impression count

No matter the job, making a good first impression is important because you only have one chance. You want to make a good first impression with the hiring manager. That means presenting yourself professionally and showing off your greatest strengths as a blue-collar worker.

Dress properly and mind your hygiene. Offer a handshake and be friendly and personable when you meet your interviewer. Make sure that you use appropriate language to show that you are professional.

Though you might be working in an informal setting, you still present yourself as someone who is fit for the job. Employers are looking for someone who’s respectful and reliable—your language and attitude matter.

what to wear to an industrial job interview

In your line of work, steel-toed boots and a hard hat may be appropriate in the workplace, but they’re not in an interview. Don’t worry; we’re not suggesting you wear a three-piece suit and tie. Professionals in the industrial sector usually fall somewhere in the middle.

Though you might take a more casual approach to your wardrobe, it should always be clean, neat, and in good repair. Do not wear sneakers or work boots to an interview. Clean slacks, a button-down, and dress shoes are usually an appropriate middle ground, though it can depend on the employer.

If you’re unsure, asking the interviewer about their dress code is fine. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, err on the side of overdressed. A simple suit in a neutral colour such as black, grey or navy will always be safe.

prepare ahead

Interview preparation is important. We always advise candidates to prepare for their interview, whether it takes place in an office or on the factory floor. Though you might think you know your stuff and all the questions will be a breeze, it’s always best to gather your thoughts beforehand.

Don’t think you can wing it and emerge with a job offer. You’d be amazed at how little it takes to throw you off your game when you’re under the hot lights in an interview setting. Being unprepared tells your interviewer you’re not taking the interview seriously. Being unprepared also shows that you have little respect for their time and indicates how you’d approach the job should you get it.

Practise at least 19 common interview questions and answers until you get comfortable answering them.

study the job description

It sounds obvious, but reading the job description is important. If you know exactly what your interviewer is looking for, you can speak to key points in the requirements. You can also apply the key points to your own experience.

Discuss your experience on projects you completed on or ahead of time in your interview. Recognizing your awards or promotions is important —anything that shows your long-term value to the organization.

notes are fine to bring

Don’t be afraid to bring a list of points you want to discuss to the interview. An interviewer wants to know about your training, education and experience. When you're in the hot seat, it’s easy to forget one of these things. Writing a bulleted list of things to discuss can be helpful to ensure you remember everything.

Your interviewer wants to know if you’d fit the role well. The hiring manager wants to know that you’re capable of performing it and that you’d be a good fit for the team. What can you tell them about yourself to reassure them that you are the ideal candidate?

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prepare answers to common interview questions

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To help you out, here are some questions you might hear in your interview. Make sure you know how you’d answer all of them. You don’t have to prepare an answer word for word, but you should have a point or two in mind that you want to mention for each.

tell me about yourself.

You might think this is the easiest question ever, and it could be in your car on the way to the interview. If you're feeling stressed and the interviewer expects your respect, you may realize that your answer wasn't sufficient. Think about your answer beforehand. Check out our blog on how to answer ‘Tell me about yourself’ for more advice.

why do you want this job?

This question can also be, “Why should we hire you?” or “Why are you the right person for this job?” Don’t make the mistake of talking solely about how much you love the company. Or how great this job would be because the pay and hours are great.

You’re excited about the job, but employers want to know why they should hire you over the other guy. Your answer must convey that you’re interested in the job and organization. You need to explain that you’re the right fit and have all the skills they seek.

how do you handle stress?

Manufacturing and logistics jobs often need people who thrive under pressure and can perform manual labor. This is true if the company needs someone who can work with strict deadlines or quotas.

So, questions about stress are common in the sector. This is another way of asking how well you work under pressure or how successful you are at meeting tight deadlines. Other similar questions that could emerge that require short, clear, honest answers are:

  • how well do you work with others?
  • how are your time-management skills?
  • why did you leave your last position?

This is one of the more tricky to navigate questions. Generally, it's a good policy to be honest in job interviews—this question is the exception.

If your last or current job was terrible, this is not the place to share. Always speak highly of any previous employers. If you’re unsure what to say, it’s always safe to say you were looking for something different.

do you have any questions for me?

You may not always receive this question, but if you do, it's your opportunity to seal the deal. Ensure you’ve prepared some questions. You could ask about the work culture, promotion opportunities, or next steps.

A great closing question is: ‘Is there anything I can add to this interview to assure you I'm the right person for this role?’ 

close on a strong note

As the interview draws to a close, take a moment to confirm your interest in the job. Try to review your experience briefly. Don’t forget to thank the interviewer for their time and let them know you hope to hear from them soon (if, in fact, you do).

Send a thank-you email when you get home. This is another opportunity to highlight your skills that match the job requirements. You can also add anything vital you may have forgotten in the interview. More importantly, it’s the other bookend to your good first impression.

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