The interviewer wants to know that you can take direction and that you aren't too proud to accept feedback, and additional training, from time to time. Every manager has their style of communication, so it's a great time to ask the interviewer what their leadership style is.
"First I would make sure I understood what you were asking. If it was another way of doing something, like repairing, I might ask if you can show me what you're talking about. I would rather get something done right the first time than have to waste time and energy doing it a second time just because I misunderstood what you needed."
"If my supervisor asked me to do something in a way I was not used to, I would make sure that I was clear on expectations. Clear communication is important to me, and if there's anything that I could be doing better, I want to know about it right away. Could you share with me your leadership style?"
"I am an experienced electrician, but I am certainly not a know-it-all when it comes to my work. I am always willing to take on new styles of work to help with my efficiency."
It helps to know the company well before your interview. In this example, knowing whether or not the company does industrial or residential jobs would be helpful. If the company is more focused on residential, describe how you're a little less knowledgeable in three-phase power. Or, if you are new to the area, say you are still learning the local building codes but have a book at home and you're reading through it currently. You will want to avoid saying things such as: 'well my wiring tends to come out twisted and sloppy'. It's obvious at that point you have yet to perfect your craft.
"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 after that course!"
"I tend to be a perfectionist with my work. It had gotten me into trouble when I got sucked into a project and couldn't perform the repairs promptly. I've learned to set restrictions for myself, sticking to deadlines and focusing on quality rather than perfection."
"Everyone has weaknesses. I tend to be too nice sometimes. When vendors are not fulfilling their requirements, I tend to believe there must be a logical and understandable reason. I have to remind myself that we are paying for a service and they must meet our expectations, or our electrical projects suffer."
As an electrician, you will receive feedback about your work from either your boss, your client, or your co-workers. Regardless of how reasonable or accurate the observation may be, think before you speak. Be humble and don't take it personally. Depending on who the criticism is coming from, you will want to approach it differently. If it's coming from your boss, you will want to respond respectfully, saying something like, "I appreciate the feedback. Now I know how I can improve next time." If it's coming from a client, you may want to tell them, "I am so glad you noticed! I'll make the changes right away." You may have a similar response to anyone's critical comments, but the key is to stay calm and never express frustration towards the person. Give an example where you stayed professional when someone gave you negative feedback.
"I appreciate the feedback. Now I know how I can improve next time."
"I handle criticism well; however, if it's harshly communicated to me, I do take it somewhat personally. That's something I will become better with, as I gain more confidence in my career as an electrician. Because I am just starting out, I expect to receive more constructive feedback than a tenured electrician would."
"Criticism will come with any career path, and I take it with a grain of salt. I want to know when my superiors, and clients, have suggestions for me to better my work. It's the only way I can continually improve my trade."
When you are new at any job, cultivating new skills can seem intimidating. Working with a well-trained, experienced electrician exposes you to new challenges that take time to learn. Overcoming the problem is sometimes as simple as repetition and knowing the safety measures you need to take. Talk about what was challenging about the task and what it took for you to gain confidence handling that type of situation.
"Wiring issues on an old house, hands down, was the most challenging task I faced as an apprentice. There were some weathering issues and different types of wiring, like aluminum. I learned how dangerous those issues could be when I almost started a fire! I used to be intimidated about doing repairs with old wires because of the hazards, but after getting more familiar with the precautions, I no longer feel that way."
"The most challenging aspect of my apprenticeship was learning all of the different codes and regulations. There is a lot to learn! I took my work home quite often, and studied guides online, to give me a leg up."
"Looking back to my apprenticeship days, I found many tasks challenging. I think the toughest for me, at the time, was blueprint reading. Since then, through many years of experience, I have become a pro at it! It's second nature to me now."
Team players can efficiently communicate with their coworkers. They are flexible and take the initiative. Even when you're working with new contractors on a temporary project, until the work is finished, you will be on the same team. There may be difficult personalities; some may fail to meet expectations or even show up on time. Learning the communication styles of others will help you tremendously. Let the interviewer know that you have learned to be open and flexible when working with engineers and architects.
"I maintain positive work relationships by acknowledging their efforts. Everything that I have achieved in my current role is not only due to my hard work but is also due to the great collaboration of my uber-talented team."
"Some qualities that make you a strong team player: - Having the ability to empathize - Humility - Willingness to highlight the wins of others - Strong listening skills - The ability to encourage others - Willingness to go beyond your job description - Participating in extra-curricular activities - Showing respect to everyone in the workplace - Being proactive on projects - Offering creative solutions - Contributing when it is not expected of you - Displaying self-awareness - Accepting feedback on your performance"
"All relationships are important to nurture, to get a project done seamlessly. I work with a lot of talented people. When I first meet them, I am sure to complement their work and reinforce the ways that we can work together positively. Solid and clear communication is an incredibly important factor as well."
Even though you are surrounded by wires and with tools in hand, you may be expected to know how to work with clients in person, or on the phone. Interviewers will want to know your experience dealing with clients. Depending on the job, this could be a make or break deal for the interviewer. Make sure you are well aware of the job description, whether or not communication with clients is important for the interviewing company. Do not lie in this situation. Be honest if you have little experience facing clients. If that is the case, tell the interviewer you have little experience with clients but you are more than happy to engage with clients and walk them through any job you are completing and are willing to answer any questions they may have.
"I am good at communicating with my clients and my team. I know when it's okay to use technical terms and when I need to explain things in other terms that are easier to understand. Patience and good listening skills have helped me on every project."
"Before becoming an electrician, I worked as a server in a restaurant chain. It was a family-friendly facility and we had a lounge so I had the opportunity to meet customers from all walks of life. My conversational skills are strong, and I am able to read body language very well. Rest assured, you could put me in any client facing situation and I would perform well."
"I have worked on a large number of projects where the client is present, whether it be a contractor or homeowner. I am comfortable with this and have no issue being in a client facing role. I am great with my customers, and can explain the work to anyone in a way they will understand."
This is the time to sell yourself. Employers want to see that you know yourself and work within your strengths. Be prepared to discuss 3-5 different strengths that you can show off in the workplace. Think of the traits that make you good at your job. Reflect back on the top qualities of an electrician. If you're not sure, think about the qualities it will take to tackle the tasks laid out in the job description. Being a problem-solver, being detailed and patient are all traits worth mentioning!
"My main strength is my experience. I have been wiring homes since I was a teenager working with my Dad's remodeling company. Second, my organizational skills are my second strongest asset as an Electrician. I keep my wiring clean and my job site organized."
"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 my greatest strength lies in my analytical and creative mind. I feel that understanding both sides of the business, the labor and the customer service, sets me apart in a unique way. I leverage my early years in retail sales when I work with my clients face to face."
If you want to manage a team of your own one day, then you will need to know how to lead. Give an example of how you trained someone else at work, whether in a formal or informal position. If you have no training experience, give an example of how you took on leadership tasks in a non-work environment. You may have initiated an improvement at work or started a community group. Maybe you're leading a book club. If you trained someone on a sports team, that counts! Think about the areas of your life where you have stepped up and guided others towards a goal.
"I have trained new electricians on tasks such as wiring, testing, and repairing electrical systems. Although my training experience is not extensive, it's been valuable, and I look forward to furthering opportunities like this."
"I am newer to my career as an electrician, so I have not had a great amount of opportunity when it comes to training other electricians. With that said, I have been a junior hockey coach, and currently, give skating lessons on the weekend to the kids in my community. I understand how to guide and coach others properly."
"Yes, I have trained a lot of electricians in my career. I have also worked as a substitute teacher at our local trades school. I have taught first term coursework on circuit fundamentals, electromagnetic field sources, and American Electrical Code. I look forward to furthering my training experience with your company."
The interviewer would like to know what your ideal employer looks like. Share with the interviewer the type of company that you are ideally looking to work for. Support your answer by including the reasons why you want to work for this particular company.
"My ideal company is an organization that puts their customers first. Being able to respond to a maintenance call quickly is half of the battle when it comes to effective trades work. I have researched your company and see that there any many great reviews from your customers online. This is great news to me."
"Because I am new to my electrical career, I am looking for a place where I can learn from someone much more knowledgeable than I. I desire to become a well-rounded electrical professional, and I believe I can do that here."
"My ideal company to work for is an organization where I can let my leadership skills shine. I understand that you have an electrical crew that needs some guidance. This is my ideal situation."
The interviewer wants to understand the level of difficulty that you can handle in your work. Show the interviewer that you have substantial insight into what it takes to complete a massive project. In your answer, include the factors that should come together to make a project successful. You need to comply with National Electric Code, follow state and building regulations, troubleshoot, and direct other workers, among other responsibilities. Touch on a few of these areas in your example to show off your skills and strengths.
"I was working on the construction of a new hotel downtown. The biggest challenge was making sure that all of the trades were communicating effectively. I started us on a new project management software which allowed our team to communicate the status of each task via a simple update on our phones. The project ran seamlessly."
"As I am a recent grad, I have not yet had the opportunity to work on large projects; however, I know that organization and communication will be key to the success of any project, large and small. Could you share with me the largest projects you take on, here?"
"The largest electrical project I worked on was the restoration of a historical building. The work was intricate and, because it was a historic building, my team had a lot of red tape and special rules to abide by while working. It was a great experience, overall."
Give an example of how you follow state and building regulations based on the national electrical code. You may have made a mistake in the past which you can discuss, but focus your answer on how you mended the situation.
"Meeting code is the most important part of my job. I have repaired jobs completed by inexperienced electricians before. Speaking for my own work, I have never completed a job that did not meet regulations."
"I take precautions to follow regulations when doing new construction projects, maintenance, and repairs, staying up to date on any changes."
"As a tenured electrician, I have seen some pretty crazy jobs that don't even come close to meeting regulations. It's scary to see. My work is ethical, and I take pride in every project that I take on. For that reason, I would never complete a job that did not meet regulations and exceed expectations."
Before answering scheduling questions, it's important to be clear on the interviewer's expectations. If you haven't had a chance to clarify their scheduling needs, now would be the perfect time to ask! Consider asking, 'What are the scheduling expectations for this position?' If they expect you to work 12 hour days, it would be important for you to know that before you respond with, 'Absolutely! No problem!' You want to be sure that you can meet their expectations. If it turns out their schedule expectations won't work for you, think about what you CAN offer and see if you can meet in the middle. It's much better to discuss these things in an interview than for you to commit to a schedule that won't work for you.
"I am available for full-time work which is preferably 8-5 Monday to Friday. I am happy to be a team player and work some overtime, as required. Will these hours meet your expectations?"
"If overtime is required in this role, I am happy to accommodate whenever I can. My only restriction is that I cannot work Wednesday nights as I have an evening course those days."
"I am looking to retain my current schedule as much as possible, which is currently Monday through Friday from 8:00 - 5:00. I understand with electrical projects that there will occasionally be times when we need to put in more hours to complete a project. I am intending on putting in the extra hours whenever needed."
As an electrician, it is beneficial to have a long list of skills that may help a project run smoothly. Talk to the interviewer about the variety of skills that you possess.
"I would consider myself a very well rounded trades professional because my background is so diverse. I began my career as an electrician and had trained professionally as a plumber and also bring experience in HVAC. If I don't have direct experience, I will conduct some research on the topic and can pick it up very quickly."
"At this time, the bulk of my educational focus has been on electrical work, with a small amount of knowledge in plumbing. I do hope to consider myself to be a jack of all trades. However, I am not quite there yet."
"I have been an electrical professional for over twelve years and can say, with certainty, that I am a jack of all trades. I can do it all! Are there specific skills that you would like me to highlight for you?"
Continued education is essential in any trade. As an electrician, you want to stay up to date on new regulations and code. You may also want to have added skills such as plumbing or drywalling, to help round out your offerings on projects. Talk to the interviewer about the value that you would see in earning additional credentials.
"Additional education would always be an asset, no matter what your career path. If I were to continue my education, I would be interested in completing my HVAC certifications."
"Yes, I certainly do have an interest in continued education. I would appreciate further training in elevator mechanics and operating heavy machinery. Are there any special areas of training you would recommend for me, to be most successful in this role?"
"As a trades professional, you can never know too much. For that reason, I always welcome opportunities for continued education. Are there any courses you recommend? Just this year, I have taken additional coursework in electrical infrastructure."
Are you accustomed to working with a very large or diverse team of individuals? Assure the interviewer that you can handle an environment that offers diversity.
"I have worked with diverse groups of people most of my career, including my time in University. I am most comfortable, and happy, in this type of environment because it offers a great learning opportunity."
"In my current role, I work alongside cross-functional teams regularly. Together, we manage our projects seamlessly. I love working with a diverse group because it presents the opportunity to learn from other people."
"I would say that pretty much every company I have worked for has valued diversity. Working with people from all walks of life help shed different perspectives and identify potential problems faster."
You spend so many waking hours in the workplace and conflict between co-workers can happen. HOW you handle conflict is what the interviewer would like to know more about. This is not an opportunity to start venting about your current workplace culture. An interviewer wants to see that you will take accountability for conflict whether the occurrence is considered your fault, or not. Handling workplace conflict tactfully, and with grace, should be the only option. Give a clear example of a time when you professionally managed workplace conflict.
"My style of conflict management can best be described as upfront, yet - I swiftly move on. In the five years that I have worked for my current company, I have only come across one instance of conflict. One of my staff members did not show up for their shift, so I was forced to cover their shift. Because of this, I missed my daughter's dance recital. I was upset about it but wanted to do my part as a team player. The next day, the delinquent employee came in and didn't say a word. He didn't apologize to me or thank me for my time. I approached him and told him how his actions impacted my day. He did not respond how I wanted; however, I let it go after I said my part. You cannot change the actions of others but you have to take responsibility for how you handle your side."
"Conflict is often a symptom of poor communication, so when conflict arises in the workplace, I am sure to address the situation by starting at the root of the issue - communication breakdown."
"I start by identifying the possible reasons for the conflict, poor communication, absence of required materials, etc. From there, I talk directly with the person or persons that are conflicting to find solutions and get everyone back on track."
A part of being a diligent employee is to ensure that you are always on time and present when expected. It's great to even be 10 minutes early rather than just showing up right on the dot. Talk to the interviewer about your attendance.
"I had zero unexcused absences last year. In total, I took 12 vacation days out of my 15 allotted days. I was sick just 2, and a note from my Doctor accompanied those. Once I was late due to a terrible snow storm, and I always try to be 10 minutes early for my shift."
"I cannot recall the exact number, but I think it was around three days total. All absences were excused and with notice."
"I think I missed ten days, counting vacation time. Of those, five were for my vacation. For three days, I was excused under a doctor's note. The other two absences were pre-approved family days."
The interviewer would like to get to know you apart from what is written on your resume. You are probably not obligated to discuss personal matters such as your kids, or relationship status, for instance. Stick with a couple of fun facts to show the interviewer that you are a real person, too. Your answer should be unique so that you are a memorable candidate! Focus on individual non-work related skills or hobbies. For example, you might share that you enjoy beat-boxing or making origami swans. Be prepared for the interviewer to stop you and ask you to perform your skill on the spot when it's possible! (This will make you unforgettable!)
"I am an avid marathon runner and have traveled to 10 countries in the last eight years to compete in a variety of races. I am a competitive individual and enjoy keeping fit."
"I am bilingual in Spanish and have some proficiency in French and Italian, too. I also am a huge Harry Potter fan and could pretty much quote each book to you."
"I moved here from Ukraine when I was 8, speaking only Russian, and learned English from my Palestinian neighbor who spoke zero Russian. How? I'm still not sure, but we were pals and hung out daily and somehow figured out how to communicate!"
It's always a great idea to have questions ready for the interviewer. Review the company website and other online resources to ensure the questions you are asking are not mundane, or redundant. The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is a list of questions you could have found the answers to from merely watching a video on their company site!
"Thank you for asking - I do have a few questions. What is top of mind when it comes to filling this role? Also, what types of career growth opportunities would follow this position? And lastly, do you have internal candidates who are also interviewing for this position?"
"Here are some sample questions: - When would you like to have this position filled? - How long has this role been vacant? - Is this a replacement search or a newly created role? - What is your favorite part about working here? - What is the company's primary goal for this position in the next 12 months? - Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you? - What do you see as the most significant change in this industry over the past three years? - Is there any reason why you would not hire me? "
"I appreciate the opportunity to ask a couple of questions. Could you tell me when you plan to have this role filled? Also, is this a new opening or a replacement search?"
The interviewer wants to know that you can diffuse a tense situation if needed. They also want to see a bit more of your personality! Stress and fast-paced work environments can cause people to feel overwhelmed and sometimes even angry or upset. Think of a time when you took a much more lighthearted approach to diffuse a tense situation.
"Humor is one of those universal things that everyone can relate to. When used properly, it can help bridge a gap or bond a relationship. I use it, with good taste and professionalism, often in my communications. It is important to enjoy what you do, and humor is a big component of that."
"I would say that I use my sense of humor often at work. Poking fun in friendly ways, adding a bit of good sarcasm. That type of humor. It does seem to make things a bit lighter and more fun. Humor allows everyone to shake off whatever's bringing us down and move on to the next issue."
"I use my humor at work, both with co-workers and with my clients, when appropriate. I believe that humor fits in quite well with your brand's voice, too. Everyone I have met in your organization seems to have a great balance of humor and professionalism."
Rather than just sharing how you have gone above and beyond, focus on how your qualities will help you to meet and exceed expectations. Discuss the reasons why will you be great at this job. Talk about your qualifications and skills that will help you to do this job well. If you can, match your strengths to the requirements outlined in the job description.
"I know I will be successful in this role because I have been working in this industry for five years with great training and mentorship. I have a solid understanding of X, Y, and Z (skills listed in the job description). Also, I have all of my updated certifications as outlined in your job description. I am well-prepared for this next step in my career."
"I am confident I will be successful in this role because of the continued successes I've demonstrated throughout my time in college. I have consistently exceeded in my assignments and my electrician internship. I look forward to this next step in my career!"
"I'm confident that I would be the best choice for this role. I am the most qualified, most excited, and this has been my dream company and role for as long as I can remember. I know that I want it more than anyone else and I have all of the electrical qualifications, plus the safety background to match."
Electricians specialize in performing the full suite of electrical-related tasks from installing and testing to maintaining and repairing electrical fixtures, wiring, and equipment. During their work day, they may install or inspect electrical systems and equipment, connect wiring to transformers and circuit breakers, identify the cause of breakdowns or diagnose and repair faulty systems.
In addition to having thorough knowledge of electricity, electrical systems, and individual electrical components, electricians must also have knowledge of building and road construction materials as well as knowledge of how to use different types of tools and equipment that is used on the job. Above all, they must have thorough knowledge of public safety protocol, which includes safety measures, policies, and equipment that may be required to safeguard people, property, and data during any electrical mishap.
At the interview, your interviewer will listen to your answers carefully to gauge whether or not you have the necessary knowledge and experience to carry out all electrical tasks safely and efficiently. Your answers must demonstrate that you have what it takes to become an asset to the company. At Mock Questions, you will find a list of questions that are commonly asked at electrician interviews. Rehearsing your answers to these questions will help you be more confident when answering any question the interviewer asks you at your interview.