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3 things to focus on in your manufacturing interview

Published 28th Mar 2023

The manufacturing sector in the UK is one of the most diverse and exciting areas in which to work. If you’ve got experience in this sector and are looking to take your career further or want to break into manufacturing for the first time, here are our top three tips for your next job.

Today over 2.5 million jobs are provided by the manufacturing sector in the UK. 64% of all UK business research and development is conducted in the sector and it accounts for 15% of all UK business investment, according to Make UK, the Manufacturers’ Organisation. 

It’s also interesting to note that manufacturing sector salaries are 12% higher than the UK national average, meaning there is intense competition for roles in these areas.

Our top 3 tips

Because competition for jobs is fierce in the manufacturing sector, we’ve prepared some hints and tips to help you when you’re preparing for your interview and to help you stand out from your competitors.

Number One: Background and Experience

If you’re looking for your first manufacturing role at entry level you may not have much relevant experience. However, you can still impress your interviewers by talking about the experience you do have – perhaps you’ve undertaken a volunteering role, or have had a part-time job while studying? These things will demonstrate that you can be organised and plan ahead well. They’ll also show that you have good communication skills, can work in a team effectively, and manage your time – qualities that employers value highly.

When it comes to moving up in your manufacturing career, an interview is the ideal opportunity to build on what you’ve mentioned in your application or CV. Questions may include how long you’ve been with your current employer, and what previous experience you have. 

Your interviewer may also ask you to describe your current role in detail, giving practical examples of what your daily/weekly/monthly routine is, and how you prioritise your assigned tasks. You could give examples of any training courses you’ve undertaken or safety certificates you have achieved, and if your role includes working with specific machinery or equipment, you can discuss how you have learned to operate them effectively. 

Once the specifics of your role have been discussed, you could then talk about your ‘soft skills’, such as examples of collaboration with your colleagues, or how you’ve demonstrated your initiative. 

Number Two: Company Culture – how can you contribute

Hiring managers these days are looking for candidates not only with the right experience and skills but also those who will contribute to the company culture. If you’ve reached the interview stage it’s fair to say that a company is interested in what you have to offer and they’ll be doing all they can to encourage you to do well in your interview. 

We’ve looked at the Candidate Experience previously – how and why companies are working hard to attract the right people. However, the importance of Culture Fit is also vital. This is not only what the company can offer you in terms of a challenging and exciting role, as well as the salary you desire, but also its values, how it treats its people and its ethical considerations. 

Employers will also be looking to see what you can contribute in terms of its company culture – how you will make the business better and whether the personal qualities you have will fill a gap in their current organisation to enrich the working environment or challenge its current perceptions of success. 

Number Three: Your Personal Qualities

After you’ve discussed your experience and skills, an interviewer may ask you about yourself. It’s a hard subject for many of us, as we’ve been ‘trained’ to be modest and play down our achievements. However, in order to gain a better insight into you as a person, an interviewer will ask you about your strengths and weaknesses. 

There are many ways to answer questions like this but you can answer the question on your own terms – framing your answer with reference to the job description and those qualities you wish to highlight, balancing the skills your potential employer wants with your personal qualities. 

A great tip for when you’re asked about your weakness is to focus on an actual weakness that you’re happy to admit to but which doesn’t relate directly to the role you’re applying for, and which you’ve made attempts to overcome. If you can give direct examples of such behaviour this will demonstrate both humility and a desire to improve – an impressive combination of qualities.

If you’re looking for your first role in manufacturing or want to progress to a more senior role, the McCarthy team can help. Email us at enquiries@mccarthyrecruitment.com or fill in the contact for here.

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