Your resume is perfect, you have the company that you want to work for, and you have done everything you need to do to prepare yourself for the interview. Then you realize that it is almost 2015 and you have to do more than just look presentable on paper – you have to nail the interview as well.
If you want to do well on the interview, you have to be prepared as best you can. These are some of the better interview tips that you can use when attending an operations management job interview. If you combine these with your own knowledge of operations management, you are going to find that you make your point.
Starting with general background/fit questions
The reason that it is important to learn more about the company that you are applying with is that you want to make sure that it is a fit on both sides. If you are a very uptight person, you do not want a company that is relatively lax on rules and organization. Conversely, if you are a laidback person, a very rigid atmosphere probably does you no favors.
Looking towards the future
Remember that when a recruiter or interviewer is talking to you, they are not just looking for people who will occupy a space right now. Most will give preference to candidates that are able to occupy senior management positions in the future
This means that they are looking for general business skills such as ethics, analytical skills, problem solving, creativity, teamwork, and leadership. Those are important factors that are going to determine whether someone is a candidate that is able to develop in the future.
Brainstorm your experiences
If you are a good fit for the company, you have the skills mentioned above. Now it is one thing to claim that you possess these skills, but another entirely to be able to present examples of where you utilized these skills. Look at the previous experiences that you have, both in a professional, student, or personal setting, and see how those might serve as an indicator of your expertise.
Make sure that you analyze the examples that you come up with and place them into the CAR format (Context, Action, Results). You want to have a number of different examples for each of the desired skills, this would mean that you are prepared for the interview.
Understand the industry – the company
Remember that an interviewer is more than likely going to be very interested in the candidate’s knowledge/interest in the industry and the company that he or she is applying for. This is a great way to eliminate applicants who have not done their homework, who only applied to a specific company because ‘they needed a job’. Make sure that you not only know about the recent trends in operations management, but also make sure that you know something about the company itself.
Discussing popular operations/manufacturing topics
In order to assess your interest in operations, your interviewer might want to talk about popular topics in operations/manufacturing. This is one of the reasons why you should always be aware of the current industry. Just because you have graduated does not mean that you get to stop learning. Be prepared for this during your interview.
Different companies have different intentions
Remember that not all companies want the same. Some companies look for an applicant who is interested in operations management, but would prefer to have experiences in other areas in the future (which is true for companies that value flexibility). Others might exclusively be interested in employees who are interested in operations management and nothing else. This is going to depend on the company, make sure that you speak with former and current employees to learn more about what type of company you are interviewing with.
These are just some of the tips that you need to take into consideration before your operations management interview. To learn more about a career in operations management and find out what else you have to know before you interview with a recruiter or a company, make sure to check out “Interviews with Masters of Operations Management”
Allen J. McKinney