Interviewing Tips for Job Applicants in the Printing Industry

New job entrants to the work force often lack interviewing skills. More experienced workers are often out of practice. Either way, preparation is key for a job applicant going into a job interview. Below are some key tips that may help job applicants land that perfect job in the printing industry.

  1. Know your audience. The company’s website may include a mission statement, press releases, equipment lists, market focus, subsidiaries, industry partners, etc.  You should reveiw the companies Social Media accounts as well.  How will your education and experience match up with the company’s direction?   While the company’s website might be a good place to start for information, it is by no means the last. Check out the local news, industry trade press, etc. 
  2. Develop a list of questions that you could ask the interviewer based on your research. Think operational and business plan questions here. Leave compensation and benefit questions for later (i.e., 2nd interview or if the interviewer brings it up).  There are lots of websites that list questions you could ask an employer. For example, "Is there anything on my resume (application) that gives you concern about my qualifications or experience that I can expand on?"
  3. Bring extra copies of your resume and references with you to all interviews.  Offer it at the beginning of the interview with everyone you see.
  4. Tailor your resume, cover letter, etc., to the employer and job. This will help ensure you get noticed.
  5. Title the electronic version of your application documents with your name. For instance, a resume should have an electronic name such as Jane Doe Resume.doc and a cover letter would be Jane Doe Cover Letter.doc.
  6. Some employers will have applicants complete an employment application form when they show up for the first interview. To be prepared, have a document completed already to refer to. You can find lots of sample employment application forms on the Internet to use as a guide and in MS Word templates. Pick a detailed one, complete it, and use it as a reference for yourself. Take your time completing the employer’s application, ensuring you write legibly and completely for each question. Recruiters usually dislike reading “see resume” on an employment application form.   
  7. Role Play. There are thousands of websites that list questions employers might ask you during the interview. Look at your resume and be ready for the most common. Think about how you would answer these and role play with a friend or relative. Or, make a video to see how you come across. This can be useful to limit the use of “crutch” words (e.g., like, you know, um, ah, etc.) and slang. Ensure you answer questions completely.
  8. Think of what you can offer the employer. 
    • Have a couple of examples ready for the interview. For example, how you responded to a high-pressure situation, or how your suggestions improved service, procedures, safety, costs, efficiency, sales, etc. Be mindful that your example should state the problem, your assessment, your actions/suggestions, the effect, and management’s (and/or the customer’s) reaction. Accomplish all this in just a minute or two. You’ll lose the interviewer with a ten-minute story.
    • Show your enthusiasm for the position, company, and industry. Of course, do your homework beforehand as mentioned above. Employers are looking for attitude just as much as they are looking for knowledge, skills, and experience.
    • Show commitment. Does your resume list a long list of previous employers? If the duration at each firm is not increasing over time, you’ll need to explain how you’ll be committed with this job and company, even if the interviewer doesn’t ask about it.
    • Be a role model. Employers are looking for “stars.” Stars first and foremost have the basics covered, e.g., great attendance, ask questions, make suggestions, volunteer for assignments and overtime, always learning about the job/industry, etc. Basically become indispensable. If you were indispensable at a previous employer, talk about it. If not, have the commitment to be so at this job.
    • In the end, the employer is looking for someone to fit the job they have open.  Be sure to talk about how your qualifications match what they are looking for.
  9. Proofread your resume and cover letter. Have friends and relatives review and offer suggestions. Consider a resume service as well.  Misspellings, format, and logic errors show a lack of attention and detail on your part.
  10. Follow directions. If the employment ad asks for your resume, cover letter, writing sample, etc., then ensure you supply everything requested. Following directions ensures recruiters don't have any unanswered questions about you.  Plus, retain copies in case you're asked about them later in the interview.  
  11. Be early to the interview (e.g., 15 minutes). If you are unfamiliar with the company’s location, parking availability, mass transit availability, etc., ask or do research before the day of the interivew.
  12. Dress for success and maintain eye contact and good posture.
  13. Follow the interviewer's lead for the rhythm of the interview.  Answer the question asked concisely and confidently.  Don't rush your answer.  If you don't  have an immediate answer, repeat the question to give yourself a few seconds to think about how to answer.  
  14. Your interview often starts with the receptionist.  Be professional with a greeting, say that you have an interview appointment with (name) at (time) and give your first and last name. While you're waiting take in the surroundings and note awards, recognition, etc., that might be on display. 
  15. Mail a short “thank you” note to each person you interview with. Some interviewers in other industries feel that an email is acceptable, but in the printing industry, stationery, and a stamp is the way to go.

Published on Monday, October 6, 2014 (updated 03/03/2017)