As Defence Industry grows and searches for the talent needed to deliver its upcoming projects, it is increasingly becoming a candidate’s market. High-quality applicants are getting responses more frequently when looking for work. But don’t be fooled, that doesn’t mean you will be able to walk into any role you like. Defence Industry knows what it wants from its candidates and isn’t afraid to wait for the right person to come along. That might be you; but if you don’t know how to conduct yourself in an interview, you might miss the opportunity.
There is a lot of information out there on how to do well in interviews, from preparation tips, to how to answer common interview questions; but Defence Industry is a complex beast with its own requirements. To avoid disappointment and ensure you are putting your best foot forward in any Defence Industry interview, follow these four key guidelines.
1. BE MORE THAN JUST ANOTHER CANDIDATE
Defence Industry is currently in the middle of its largest scale expansion and transformation since the Second World War and as such, wants more than just another candidate interviewing for the role. More and more, organisations are looking to hire individuals that will grow with them and help them get to where they are going. Which means that during an interview they are going to want to know what else you can bring to the organisation beyond attributes for the role in front of you.
Be ready with examples of achievements outside of what you might expect and think about how willing you would be to relocate or transition into other roles as a project evolves and progresses to each stage. Go above and beyond by researching what projects they are currently working on and where they might be heading in the future, thinking of what you can contribute down the line.
Our clients are big on discretionary effort – weave this into your answers and the conversation that you have with your interviewees.
2. BE OPEN TO OPPORTUNITIES
The nature of Defence Industry means that a lot of work is project based, with budgets and projects committed to a set outcome and set timeframes from start to finish. With consultancies throughout industry collaborating with the Commonwealth to deliver these projects, there is healthy competition over which one is best placed to deliver the workforce to make it happen. As such, you might find yourself interviewing for a role that may not even exist yet. Depending on the situation, it might become available if the organisation wins the bid for work, or they might only win the bid for work if they can show they can deliver the project. Although this uncertainty can sometimes be discouraging, staying open to these opportunities and preparing to sell yourself to the project as a whole, not just one role, could land you in an amazing role at a great organisation working on a state-of-the-art platform. Patience and flexibility are key here. The organisation may not have all the information you would like until the full project spec has been released, so keep in mind that you are on the same side.
3. NEVER BURN A BRIDGE
Defence Industry is a small world and reputation is a priceless currency. Regardless of any negative experience in the past, it is important never to burn a bridge by badmouthing a previous employer, colleague or organisation. Chances are, you may need to collaborate with them in the future, or your interviewer may know them personally. What’s more, this behaviour paints you as negative and unable to deal with hardship or conflict. The best way to express previous difficulties is to emphasise the silver lining or be constructive. When asked about something directly, frame it as a learning experience and express thanks for the opportunity to do the role and work on the project to avoid saying something you will regret.
4. NEVER FORGET YOUR CONFIDENTIALITY OBLIGATIONS
Security and safety are key priorities for Defence Industry as a whole and inherent in that is a strict level of confidentiality. Although you need to be able to sell yourself and explain your previous experience to a potential employer, some Defence Industry information needs to stay under lock and key. Before any interviews, check your confidentiality obligations to your previous role and organisation. If you need to keep things close to your chest, don’t be afraid to let your interviewer know you aren’t comfortable discussing the finer details. Concentrate on the skills you used, project scale and if possible, the infrastructure experienced. Respecting this confidentiality at all times shows you are an ethical and trustworthy employee that will uphold your obligations to them with the same professionalism.
By keeping these four key guidelines in mind before your next interview, you are better prepared to make an impression on your interviewer and closer to your next exciting role in Defence Industry. For more information on how to set yourself up for interview success, check out our blog on How to Prepare for an Interview in Defence Industry or 101 Interview Questions You Should Know How to Answer.