So you’ve decided that a career as an electrician is right for you. That’s great. Now you might be wondering what to do next. In many states you will need to be employed by an electrical contractor or be enrolled in electrician courses at a local community college or trade school.
Let’s assume you have either graduated from an electrician program at a local community college or trade school, or you’ve decided to start as an apprentice. In either case, you’ll need to find a job. Once you’ve applied and been called to come in for interviews, what kind of questions should you expect, and what can you do to help your chances of getting hired?
How should I dress?
Many books and websites that focus on interviewing talk about dressing appropriately. While an electrician doesn’t work in an office you still want to look professional. A suit is typically overkill while a pair of nice tan/khaki dress pants and a polo or dress shirt is often appropriate.
Make sure you look clean. First impressions are very important and how you look and dress will have an impact. The idea is to have a positive impact.
What about the handshake?
Be sure that you give a confident handshake. This means looking the interviewer in the eye, smiling, and grasping their hand - not their fingers. Think of someone you know who has a good handshake and try to emulate it. You may even want to practice with them or someone else if you’re concerned about it.
What if I don’t know the answer to some of the questions.
It’s important to be honest. If you don’t know the answer just say so. People would rather hire and work with someone who is honest and not afraid to admit when they don’t know something.
Also, you’ll be working with electricity, which is dangerous when you don’t know what you’re doing. If they can’t trust that you’ll tell them when you don’t know something, they might worry about the quality of your work and if they need to worry about themselves and others getting hurt because you were afraid to tell them you didn’t know how to do something. Honesty really is the best policy.
What questions can I expect to be asked?
Each interview might be different, but there are questions that most interviewers ask and you can prepare for. Here are a few examples:
-Why do you want to be an electrician?
You should already have an answer for this since you’ve probably already asked yourself the same thing.
-Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
As an apprentice you should understand that you will have to invest a lot of time in order to become an electrician. This is truly a career, not just a summer job. In 5 years you should certainly be either a Journeyman or Master electrician (depending on the state you live in, classifications and requirements vary)
-Why are you interested in ________ vs. ________?
This could be industrial vs. residential, or lineman vs. industrial, etc... It’s important for the interviewer to know because it shows that you’ve thought this through and it wasn’t just a flip of a coin. When you’ve thought something through and have a definitive answer it shows that you are mature and resoponsable.
-Are you familiar with the National Electrical Code?
If you’ve just graduated from an electrician course or program you should be familiar with the National Electrical code.
If you’re going the route of working as an apprentice right away, the National Electrical Code is something you’ll learn. It’s worth knowing that it exists and that you will be tested on it in order to get your electrician license. If you don’t know what it is, remember to be honest. If the interviewer is an electrician, he/she will know it.
Those are just a few of the questions you can expect to be asked on an interview for a job as an electrician, as well as some interview tips. I hope you found it helpful. Good luck on starting your career as an electrician.