Some years ago a young reader of this blog contacted me and asked the following:
You might remember me; I think I commented on your post Should I become a mining engineer? I explained how I had applied to study at the Camborne school of mines but was unsure. I was reassured on my choice thanks to your post. Would I be in demand as a mining engineer? I don’t know how easy it is to find work as a mining engineer; are such privileges guaranteed?
For now I would not worry. In three year’s time everything will be different. Once you are in the mining program, the big companies will come seek you out. You will be in demand. Luck will come to the prepared.
I was delighted when this weekend I received an email from him asking my advice on how to conduct himself in his first job interview with an international mining company. His studies have progressed and now he about to enter the industry. He wrote:
The last time I emailed you was two weeks before I started my degree. Now I’m coming to the end of my 2nd year. You said that the big companies will seek me out; next month I have an interview at the [mining company] offices in London! – for a scholarship & potentially a summer work placement (which is mandatory for the mining course). As any intelligent human does, I intend on giving it my best shot, and so I’m searching for relevant advice/knowledge. I haven’t actually had an interview for anything yet – for college or for university where they let me walk in (the university actually paid me to do their course!) and I haven’t had any formal jobs that require interview.
I directed him to the site at this link. I take the title of this posting and repeat much of its content for it is good advice. Here is some of the advice:
When it comes to questions, first and foremast, you can expect the hiring manager to ask you to tell them about yourself. Many graduates make the mistake here of responding to the question with lots of private details, and little about their relevance for the job. At this point you need to put your personal life to the side, as it is imperative that you discuss your knowledge gained through your studying to the role that you are applying for. Any internships that you may have done, or summer work that may be relevant should also be discussed here. You can tell the hiring manager at this point about important relevant classes you may have taken, that are relevant to the role you are interviewing for.
Please keep in mind that although your grades and the school you attended are factors in whether a company will hire you, there are more important qualities that the hiring manager will be looking for. These include:
- Attitude. Companies want to employ individuals who have a great attitude, and a positive outlook towards life, they want candidates who have energy, and are proactive. The young graduates that they are employ, could one day be leaders of the company, so need to have the right personality and attitude to do so.
- Writing Skills. Even in highly technical mining roles, it is important to be able to write well, because you will probably be expected to write reports and memos.
- Verbal Communication. Many companies require you to do presentations or represent the company in meetings, so good communication skills are essential.
- Team work. You will need to be able to work in a team, and with your colleagues, so they will look at whether they feel you are a team player or not.
- Work Ethic. The hiring manager will probe to see what your work ethic is like; you will need to be able to come to work every day, to be on time, to attend meetings, and always have the best interests of the company at heart, this is extremely important.
At the end of the day the company is looking for people who can do the job, who not only have the right set of technical skills to do the job, but have a great attitude, good communication skills, are able to work with people and have a work ethic, all of these skills are essential, so you need to keep them in mind when answering questions in the interview.
Other common questions you can expect to be asked during a graduate interview are the following:
- Why do you want to be Mining Engineer / Geologist etc?
- What do you think you will be doing in this role?
- What draws you to this industry?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- What do you know about us – or – What do we do?
Let us hope he answers right in the interview; that he gets the job; and that he progresses in the industry; and keeps us informed about his career.