Recruiters and hiring managers often receive hundreds of applications per job. If you are lucky enough to land an interview, make some effort and research the opportunity. Think about how this position will help you in your career. It's essential for you to know not only what you have to offer them, but what they can do for you. While your passion and excitement for the job are essential, it's always good to have some hard facts to back it up. For instance, saying 'I have heard great things about your company, and I know I would be a great fit for this job,' is not very specific.
"I am excited about this opportunity because your values are very much in line with mine. I deeply care about giving back to the community. I also feel like this job will help me reach my goal of working in a management position, because of the leadership opportunities within this role."
"I recently completed my Diploma in Building Inspection Technology and am eager to gain a successful start in this career path. I like the technical aspect associated with this career path as well as the fact that I can utilize my skills in detail management and accurate documentation."
"I have worked as a building inspector, primarily in the residential circuit, for the past twelve years. I look forward to working as a building inspector for your company because you offer much more exposure to larger commercial projects. This is the career trajectory that I am looking for."
The interviewer would like to know that you have a sound knowledge base when it comes to construction. Highlight any construction related education, or on the job training that you may have.
"Although I do not have a formal degree in engineering or construction, I have taken many related courses on building codes and ordinances, electrical inspection, materials of construction and concrete principles of inspection. I am confident in my ability to understand advanced construction-related topics."
"My knowledge in construction is strong. I recently graduated with my Bachelor's Degree in Architecture where I learned a great deal about construction best practiced, building codes, and ordinances."
"I would rate my construction knowledge as expert level. I have worked as a construction project manager previously and also have a Degree in Construction and Engineering."
Make sure that you understand the requirements of this role when you answer this question! The last thing you want to do is pigeonhole yourself into one type of building inspection when the company primarily performs the other. Show the interviewer that you have an interest in both residential and commercial work unless otherwise stated in the job posting.
"I have performed work in both residential and commercial building inspections. I believe both options have their pro's and their con's. Commercial work can have more red tape and be more complicated, so I do enjoy that challenge; while residential work tends to have more unique challenges that test my knowledge."
"I have been trained in both residential and commercial building inspections. My internship was a commercial developer, so this is the area I am best versed in. With that said, I am eager to learn more about the residential side of inspection with your company."
"The position that I applied to put a significant emphasis on commercial property inspections which is my area of expertise. I can perform this function in a residential setting, as I completed that type of work earlier in my career. I do look forward to expanding my knowledge in the commercial space which is why your job posting caught my eye."
The interviewer wants to understand what factors drive you to take pride in your work. Building inspectors are incredibly essential professionals because their work keeps us safe and keeps residential and commercial builders accountable for their quality of work. Give the interviewer a genuine reason as to why you are in this line of work.
"I am passionate about being a building inspector because our work is incredibly important for the physical safety and the financial well-being of a potential home or commercial building buyer. I am proud that my work keeps others safe, and ensures structural integrity."
"After graduating high school, I took a year to travel to a variety of undeveloped countries. It shocked me to see what passed as safe living and work conditions. This experience is what sparked an interest in building safety. When I returned, I enrolled in engineering and architecture related coursework."
"A thorough building inspection can prevent major damages due to the costly foundation or structural issues, vapor and condensation issues, decay, pests, flooding, mechanical and electrical issues, and costly plumbing concerns. I am proud to have the opportunity to prevent those types of disasters."
The interviewer would like to better understand the tools of the trade that you are comfortable using. This will help them to know the extent of training you will require, should they choose to hire you. Briefly list the tools and instruments that you are accustomed to using. You can also include the amount of years' experience you have with these particular tools.
"The tools that I have the most experience using would be a GFCI Tester to test ground-fault circuit interrupter outlet. Also, a Voltage Indicator to confirm if there’s any electrical current flowing through wires or devices. I also have exposure to the use of Infrared Thermometers, Moisture Meters, Combustible Gas Detectors, and Carbon Monoxide Analyzers."
"While completing my technical diploma in building inspection, I started building my toolkit in preparation for my first work experience. I have used, and can bring with me, a GFCI tester, a voltage indicator, and an infrared thermometer."
"In my six years as a building inspector, I have used a large variety of survey instruments and test equipment including GFCI testers, voltage indicators, infrared thermometers, moisture meters, combustible gas detectors, and carbon monoxide analyzers. Is there any other type of equipment that you are looking for experience in?"
Every employer should know how each staff member is best motivated. Talk to the interviewer about the variety of ways in which you are best motivated on the job.
"I am best motivated through words of praise and recognition for a job well done. I do like to know that my efforts are being noticed. In my current position we have a leader board and I do like that concept because it creates a healthy bit of personal competition in me as well."
"I am motivated by learning opportunities. I love to gain knowledge and feel as though I am growing as a building inspector."
"I keep motivated when I know that my work is making a difference. Safety of others is at the hear of what I do so knowing that what I do matters, is all the motivation that I need."
When you feel torn between multiple projects or tasks, how do you decide which one needs your attention the most? Assure the interviewer that you can be diligent when it comes to assessing your priorities.
"I will determine which project requires my attention by the number of hours we are behind and then the project size. I am comfortable delegating tasks when needed, but I am also aware that these times will require an additional commitment of hours from me. Never have I under delivered on a deadline."
"I determine priorities based on project value and receptiveness of my client. The most engaged clients get my attention and the fastest turnaround."
"Assuming that the projects have different stakeholders, I interview each to determine the value of increased productivity, morale or revenue, decreased costs, and the overall impact."
Are you given the creative freedom to improve existing processes? Talk to the interviewer about your ability to take an existing process and improve it in a creative way.
"Last month my supervisor asked me to take our existing inspections training package and improve it. My goal was to make the system more engaging for new recruits. Once we implemented my ideas, we increased our new trainee retention rate by 16%. I was quite proud of what my creativity could do!"
"As I am newer to my career as a building inspector I have not had the opportunity to make changes in the process. I do have some great ideas; however, and I look forward to presenting them as my experience grows."
"My current position offers me a great deal of autonomy so that I can utilize some creative ideas with a great level of freedom. My most recent implementation was incorporating a team-based application called Trello. It has greatly helped with improving communication."
When you answer this question be sure to remain positive, even if the experience wasn't. Avoid talking about any previous drama and do not speak poorly of your employer. Keep your answer short and respectful. If you did not have a good relationship with your previous boss: "I have had healthier relationships in the past with previous employers, but we did the best that we could. Our communication styles were very different which made it challenging at times."
"I have had healthier relationships in the past with previous employers, but we did the best that we could. Our communication styles were very different which made it challenging at times."
"If you had a good relationship with your previous boss: "I had a very healthy relationship with my previous employer. She was easy to approach, and we would bounce ideas off of each other quite often. I would sum it up as a relationship lead by strong mutual respect."
"I make a point of investing in coworker relationships. It's important to me that these relationships are established early on, especially with my boss. My current boss knows that he can rely on me for anything in his absence and my responsibilities have consistently increased to reflect that level of trust."
In which manner do you prefer to communicate - written or verbal? Discuss your preference with the interviewer and support your answer.
"I prefer verbal communication because I feel that with written communication, a lot can be misread due to lack of tone, fluctuation, expression and body language. I will always choose a face to face conversation whenever possible."
"I like to leverage both methods of communications when dealing with inspections. Sometimes, situations call for verbal communications and other times, written. As a rule of thumb, I tend to practice verbal communications, with written follow up or vice versa."
"I do not lean one way or another when it comes to verbal or written communication. Both are equally important to me. If I have to choose just one, I will choose written communication as one can always look back on written communication for reference."
Which personal strengths make you excellent at your job? Advantages can be skills or qualities that help you overcome difficult circumstances or accomplish challenging tasks. In a work context, your strengths will help you to complete your to-do list, understand client needs, and help you to apply what you have learned in your training. Talk to the interviewer about a couple of your strengths and why those will help you to be successful in this role.
"I think my strengths are in my perceptiveness and ability to be observant of the needs of others. These strengths are part of what makes me an excellent performer in a client facing role."
"Some great strengths to mention are: - Communicative - Loyal - Collaborative - Tech Savvy - Flexible in Schedule/Availability - Persistent and Determined - Eager for Knowledge/New Skills "
"I believe that my greatest strengths are in my blend of experience, related education, and existing relationships with large developers and project managers across the state. I would bring a strong network to your organization that would be helpful in building your business."
Pick weaknesses that are not a core skill for this position. You can be candid in your answer; recognizing that you aren't great at something and acknowledging your need to improve. Be sure to have an action plan in place for improving on this weakness. Perhaps you are watching TED talks to gain skills in a particular area, reading the latest-and-greatest book on the subject, or maybe you are taking a seminar at a nearby community center. We are all human with our weaknesses, so don't be afraid to share yours!
"I believe I could improve on some technical skills including Excel and PowerPoint. Currently I am at a beginner to intermediate level; however, I would be more comfortable at an advanced level. I have enrolled myself in an evening/weekend workshop for the next six weeks. We will see how stellar my skills are of that course!"
"I tend to work too hard. I am always striving to be and do better that I forget sometimes it is best to embrace the chaos! Despite that, I make a point to have fun with it."
"This is super cliche, but it's also true. I am not good at delegating to others. When I become submerged in a project, I don't like to give away any of the control. While this can be good, it can also positively inhibit the outcome of the project and my growth as a team player and individual. I am currently working on this, as I know it is a deficit."
Everyone has some sort of dream or aspirations on where their career could go. When you think about the future, what comes to mind? Openly share with the interviewer where you'd like to see your career take you. Be sure to include how you feel this particular company would fit in with those particular aspirations.
"I have some pretty lofty career aspirations and after researching your organization and learning more about this position, I really feel that this role fits with my future aspirations. I would love to see myself promoted based on my hard work and results, eventually managing my own team of building inspectors."
"I plan to stay with your company long term. One aspiration that I do have is to return to scho ol to complete my Bachelor's Degree in Engineering. I would prefer to do this in tandem with full-time employment."
"I want to get into a company that I can stay with an grow long term. While change is good, I like the comforts of having something familiar or regular around me. I aspire to grow into a leadership position and teach newcomers the ins and outs of commercial inspections."
Employers expect employees to stay up-to-date on their respective field, and today's technology makes this reasonably easy! List several ways that you receive your industry knowledge and stay on top of trends. Tell the interviewer about those daily update emails you receive from professional organizations, conferences you attend, seminars you have taken, and professional organizations you are a part of. Lastly, it's a great idea to ask the interviewer what resources they refer to for industry trends. That question can start up a great conversation, and you may learn a thing or two as well.
"Every morning I listen to X Podcast because I find the information to be fresh, and valuable. In addition to this podcast, I also subscribe to a couple of industry blogs. One is ABC, and the other is XYZ. I greatly value the information shared among fellow professionals. What resources do you prefer to stay on top of industry trends and changes?"
"My university professor made some great recommendations recently including keeping on top of the local changes through our city and state's websites related to building inspections and construction. I have done this, along with setting up a Google alert for related keywords. Do you have any additional recommendations for me?"
"The construction industry changes quite frequently, and I understand the importance of keeping up to date. Our city has an official building inspections website that keeps me up to date on new legislation and laws. I am also a part of the North Carolina Builders' Association which keeps me accountable for continued education opportunities."
Have you ever had to take on a task or a role that you felt was over your experience level? Talk to the interviewer about a time when you have dealt with this type of situation. What was the outcome, and what did you learn?
"When my manager went on unexpected medical leave for 3 months last year I was asked to step into her position in the interim. I knew the basics but was certainly not trained on the specifics of the role. I was able to take her tasks on successfully by leaning on my team, reading a lot of policy related manuals, and asking many questions. Once my manager returned she was very pleased with the progress that I made and I was awarded a promotion."
"Honestly, I have not had much experience with this. However, I am adaptable. I will use all available resources and research possibilities to find out what I need to do and how to do it."
"I am often asked to perform tasks outside of my wheelhouse. This includes dispute resolution and interviewing potential new employees. I am a diverse building inspector and am happy to take on additional functions."
Many hiring managers will choose one candidate over another because of their volunteer experience. They feel that it shows strong character and selflessness - all qualities that make a great employee. Talk to the interviewer about your willingness to give back to your community in some form of volunteerism. If you do not have formal volunteer experience, you can draw on things you do in your spare time to assist friends, family, or even your current employer.
"For the past eight months, I have volunteered every Wednesday evening at our local animal shelter. I will help with grooming the animals, feeding them, and walking them. It's been an enjoyable experience and rewarding at the same time."
"If you do not have volunteer experience: "I have not formally volunteered in these most recent years, however; I spend a lot of time helping my sister who is a single mom. I will babysit on weekends, cook dinners for her and drive the kids to appointments when necessary. I feel that it is essential to take care of the needs of the family."
"I regularly contribute as a volunteer professor at the local community college. I teach a variety of courses including trigonometry, health and safety, and business ethics."
This is a question to test your morals and level of honesty. Of course, the only answer here is 'no!'. If you have ever been offered a bribe to pass a project, you can certainly discuss the scenario and highlight that you reacted appropriately and professionally. If you have never been in this situation, merely explain what your reply would be if it ever happened to you!
"Thankfully I have never been put in a compromising situation like that! If I were to be offered a bribe to pass a project, I would, of course, refuse. I would report the situation to the necessary parties as well."
"I have never been offered a bribe to pass a project. If that were the case, I would report the situation to my supervisor."
"I have been offered a bribe once in the past. It was a large and well-known developer who needed to pass a project through, or a lot of money would have been at stake. Of course, I declined. I gave them a tight deadline to complete the needed changes which they did end up meeting."
Most building inspectors do not have to have a formal education; however, some coursework in construction, real estate, or even business can really help you to be successful. Walk the interviewer through your formal, or on the job training. Be sure to highlight the education that has assisted you most as a building inspector. You can discuss your favorite courses, or any classes/workshops that you feel helped you the most in your career.
"I completed my Building Inspector Certificate in 2002 from DeVry University. From there, the majority of my education has been on the job training. I found the certificate really helpful in the beginning but, after working in the industry for a few years, my knowledge is much more robust and practical. I am also proudly certified by the International Code Council."
"I am a recent graduate with a Bachelor's Degree in Building Inspection Technology. This degree has taught me a great deal about the industry, and I look forward to more practical, hands-on experience in this role."
"I began working in inspections for my father's independent inspections company at a very young age. I did not return to university to obtain a degree; however, I have taken a variety of coursework in business, construction, and mathematics."
The interviewer would like to know more about your extent of experience in issuing stop-work orders and violation notices. You can briefly describe the steps that you took, and what the outcome was. If you have not taken on a task like this, be upfront about your lack of experience but be sure to highlight your willingness to learn.
"Yes, I have issued multiple violation notices and stop -work orders in my 5-year career as a building inspector. I filed a stop-work order just last week as there was a complaint of a residential homeowner building an addition without a permit."
"I have not yet come across the need to issue a stop-work order, nor have I issued a violation notice. I am eager to expand my knowledge in these areas however you see fit. I look forward to additional training!"
"I have been a building inspector for the past four years and have issued at least on violation notice per day and one stop-work order almost weekly. Our city is booming with new construction which has kept me very busy as new and inexperienced boutique developers are starting to pop up more frequently."
As a building inspector, you will be required to make accurate calculations, and often on the spot. Talk to the interviewer about your mathematical skills. If you have taken any related education or training, this is a great time to discuss those. You can rate your abilities from 1-10 or tell the interviewer if you land in the beginner, intermediate, or advanced category.
"I have always been great with math and calculations. I have also taken a course in Real Estate Math for New Agents because I felt that training in real estate math would help me to advance my skills as a building inspector. At this point, I would place my math skills in the intermediate to advanced category."
"I am strong in most areas of math. This was a must-have skill while obtaining my Degree in Architecture. My greatest areas of specialty are Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry."
"Yes, I can very quickly calculate and convert mathematical problems and measurements. I have also taught these skills to junior building inspectors. I would rate my math skills and a nine out of ten since there is always room for improvement."
The interviewer would like to understand better how you would rate your skill level. It's always a great idea to use words like beginner, intermediate, or advanced as these will give the interviewer a clear view of where your skill level is. You could also opt to rate your skill level from 1- 10.
"I have approximately eight years' experience interpreting plans, blueprints, and site layouts. I would consider myself advanced in these skills."
"Although I am newer to my career as a building inspector, I have had some exposure to blueprint reading and site layouts. I would say my skill level is a 6/10."
"I am an expert in the areas of blueprint reading and interpretation. I have also trained junior building inspectors in these areas."
Clear and honest documentation is an incredibly important factor in your role as a building inspector. The interviewer wants to be assured that you are the type of building inspector who takes attention to detail very seriously. Discuss how you ensure that your daily logs are adequately documented. Mention any programs of software that you may be experienced in.
"I understand that clear documentation is incredibly important for building inspections. I will maintain my daily log after every inspection, rather than wait until the end of the day to do my documentation. I find that this practice allows me to provide the freshest and most accurate details possible."
"I am an excellent written communicator, and my professors will attest to the fact that I maintain strong attention to detail and submit good work."
"I maintain my daily logs very well. It's an important factor to being a successful building inspector. I have experience using programs such as Fluix and Pervidi Paperless Inspections. Could you tell me which software and programs used here?"
The best way to discuss your salary expectations is to use your current earnings as an example. Be open, and honest. Transparency is the best choice when salary based questions arise.
"Currently, I earn a base salary of $45,000 per year plus a potential 20% annual bonus. Last year my earnings were $52,000, and I would like to stay in the same range or slightly higher."
"As a recent graduate, compensation is not my primary driver. I would like to earn what is fair in this industry, given my blend of education and experience."
"I am currently making $80,000 per year with full medical benefits. I am looking for compensation that is aligned with the role and provides an opportunity for growth."
Building inspectors conduct investigations of residential and commercial buildings to ensure that they comply with current quality and safety standards. Their main aim is to ensure that all new constructions, as well as repair work, are carried out in accordance with applicable building codes, and an approved plan.
A high school diploma is the minimum educational qualification required to become a building inspector. However, most employers give preference to applicants who have at least an associate's degree or certification in architecture, construction, or building inspection. Experience is the single most important factor in finding employment. Doing an apprenticeship will help you obtain the necessary experience. Building inspectors must have knowledge of zoning restrictions, and construction materials and methods. They must also be able to read and understand architectural blue prints.
At your interview, the interviewer will want to know if you have had any experience as a building inspector. They will also ask you if you know how to read blueprints and what types of buildings have you inspected. Other questions could be about your career goals, your job skills and your strengths and weaknesses. You can find more questions at mock interview questions.