If you are reading this blog post then you must be preparing for an interview. Congrats! 

Hi, I’m Rich and I’m the CEO of BlueRecruit. Before I started the company I worked as a recruiter for 4 years. That’s right, I was the guy who placed the ads, read the resumes and interviewed the applicants on the phone.

Since you are getting ready for an interview, I want to give you a peek under the tent so you can see how the process really works. Before I do I want to remind you of one universal truth: Interviewing Sucks!!

“73% of job seekers say the process of looking for a job is one of the most stressful in life.”

Now that I’ve won the Captain Obvious award. Let’s get serious. 

As a recruiter, I would place ads on several job boards and review the resumes that were submitted. I would separate the applicants into “yes”, “maybe” and “no” lists and start contacting the candidates for a phone interview. 

While I was a recruiter I was always surprised by the number of candidates who looked great on paper but they fell apart when we got on the phone. They had years of experience and all of the right certifications, but it’s like they didn’t know what I was asking them.

Like most recruiters, I had a standard list of questions. I’m going to share those questions with you and tell you exactly what they mean. In a later blog post I will not only share some of the best answers candidates gave me, but I will also show you how to create your own “best answer.” 

Here are my go-to questions:

Question 1: Tell me about yourself.

This is an easy one, right? I’m amazed at the number of people who stumbled at the beginning of an interview. 

I used this as an icebreaker to get the conversation going. I wanted the candidate to feel comfortable so he could put his best foot forward and tell me why he should go on to the next phase. Remember, my job was to find a list of high-quality candidates.

As I interviewed candidates, I was listening to see if they were a fit for the organization and having a friendly conversation gave me an initial indication. 

Question 2: Have you ever dealt with an equipment failure? 

Equipment failures are a part of every work environment. I asked this question to see how candidates have handled the situation in the past and what lessons they have learned? Will they handle the situation differently in the future?

Question 3: Are you familiar with a specific piece of equipment?

The candidates that I interview list lots of experience on their application. This question uncovers two things. First, I want to verify the candidate’s experience. Are your answers and experiences similar to other people who have been successful at the company? 

I also what to know how you got the experience. Were you forced to learn on the job because someone left unexpectedly? That shows the ability to handle a challenge. 

Question 4: How did you get along with your old team?

The work environment has lots of personalities, work styles and work ethics. I use this question to see if you can figure out a way to deal with the people and circumstances at the company. Pro tip: You get hired because you can help your boss by making money, saving money, or making his life easier. Team chemistry is a big part of making his life easier.

Question 5: Have you ever spoken up about a safety issue?

Unfortunately, you may have to deal with workplace safety issues. Here, I am really asking if you are comfortable speaking up in a difficult situation. It’s never easy to do it, but it’s always important that you do. 

Question 6: Why did you leave your previous jobs?

I usually ask candidates to tell me why they left each of their previous jobs. The reasons show a pattern. If you consistently couldn’t get along with your supervisors or co-workers there is one common factor. 

Sometimes you were asked to leave. Don’t worry I will cover how to talk about getting fired in another blog post. 

Question 7: Can you confirm that all your certifications are current?

This one is pretty straightforward. I am just confirming the information that you have already provided.

Now that you know the questions and what they mean, let me coach you up a little bit. 

Only a couple of my questions are about your experience and qualifications. Once you get to the in-person interview the hiring manager will ask you more specifics about those things. He may even put you to work to see just how familiar you are with the machines they use. 

Also, keep in mind that recruiters want you to be successful. It makes their job easier and they chose recruiting as a career because they like helping people. 

Finally, good luck on your interview. Be sure to check out our blog posts on how to answer these questions or how to have a great phone interview as you get ready. And, if you haven’t already, please register as a Job Seeker on BlueRecruit so we can help you find the right opportunity. 

Now that you know some of the questions the recruiter will be asking I hope interviewing won’t suck…as much. You can learn more about the trades as well as conduct training, earn certifications, and even explore trade schools and scholarships at BlueCareer.