Interviews can be nerve wracking, even for those who have many years of work experience, and have been through numerous interviews during the course of their career. So for a graduate, fresh out of university or college, wanting to pursue a career in mining, the thought of an interview can be very daunting.

An interview for any graduate will be slightly different to a normal interview, in that, because you will have had no previous work experience, for the company to grade you against, they are going to be focusing on your qualifications and your personality, in order to see if you are a fit for the position and the company. Wanting to break into the mining industry will complicate things further, as the company will also need to establish whether you have the right qualifications, and temperament to suit the mining industry.

When it comes to questions, first and foremast, you can expect the hiring manager to ask you to tell them about yourself. Many graduates make the mistake here of responding to the question with lots of private details, and little about their relevance for the job. At this point you need to put your personal life to the side, as it is imperative that you discuss your knowledge gained through your studying to the role that you are applying for. Any internships that you may have done, or summer work that may be relevant should also be discussed here. You can tell the hiring manager at this point about important relevant classes you may have taken, that are relevant to the role you are interviewing for.

Please keep in mind that although your grades and the school you attended are factors in whether a company will hire you, there are more important qualities that the hiring manager will be looking for.

These include:

Attitude. Companies want to employ individuals who have a great attitude, and a positive outlook towards life, they want candidates who have energy, and are proactive. The young graduates that they are employ, could one day be leaders of the company, so need to have the right personality and attitude to do so.

Writing Skills. Even in highly technical mining roles, it is important to be able to write well, because you will probably be expected to write reports and memos.

Verbal Communication. Many companies require you to do presentations or represent the company in meetings, so good communication skills are essential.

Team work. You will need to be able to work in a team, and with your colleagues, so they will look at whether they feel you are a team player or not.

Work Ethic. The hiring manager will probe to see what your work ethic is like; you will need to be able to come to work every day, to be on time, to attend meetings, and always have the best interests of the company at heart, this is extremely important.

At the end of the day the company is looking for people who can do the job, who not only have the right set of technical skills to do the job, but have a great attitude, good communication skills, are able to work with people and have a work ethic, all of these skills are essential, so you need to keep them in mind when answering questions in the interview.

Other common questions you can expect to be asked during a graduate interview are the following:

  • Why do you want to be Mining Engineer / Geologist etc?
  • What do you think you will be doing in this role?
  • What draws you to this industry?
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • What do you know about us – or – What do we do?

So prepare for your interview, give the above some thought. Going into the interview prepared, not only will help you in terms of knowing what to expect but will help you in that it will give you some confidence. Always ensure you have some good answers prepared.

And last but not least, make sure you look the part. Dress properly for the interview, ensure you are smartly dressed, and look presentable. Remember first impressions do count!

2 Responses to “Interview tips for mining graduates”

  1. Heinrich J Scheffer

    I like your comments. Look at my profile on LinkedIn if you wish. I have many friends in the mining industry. I wish to say something about recruitment. I see many applications pass under my nose with CV’s in addition. What I don’t see is pro-active recruiters. LinkedIn is where you can see who has experience but it is also a book of dialogue where graduates can furnish and support questions and articles which will table their mastering of the talent they wish to expose. Recruiters should actively engage with applicants to embrace their specific knowledge in dialogue.
    Let me put it this way. A applicant who has shown interest in a particular part of mining, or any other industry can be told to actively submit and participate in knowledgeable questioning by professionals in that industry. This could turn into a vase of possibilities as prospects could be weeded out if they cannot communicate the correct type answers. These answers and question will showcase the applicants respect for others, his ability to communicate, and various other important issues.
    Personally I think much of the problem of recruitment lies with the way recruitment is done and this I put at the doorstep of recruiting companies. Their inability to get involved with grass root details of the industry they represent makes them nothing more than a broker who has no liability. It sours the whole exercise and drive many applicants against the wall. A recruiter employing for the mines should know that industry by heart, and they hardly ever do.
    Thanks for your post

  2. William Quesnel

    Young people attending university or trade school should do there best to obtain work in the mining industry during there summer holidays. Not only will they be working in a high paying job they will gain all the experience they need to demonstrate knowledge of the industry to any interviewer when they are seeking a position in their chosen career. Nothing impresses me more in candidates than the work experience in our industry they have accumulated. The fact that they have worked every available chance in the mining industry demonstrates a true interest in the industry, and the obvious fact that they have already gained invaluable solid training. Students should always strive to work within their chosen field in the industry. They will soon find out if they have chosen a career path they will enjoy and many mining companies take note of eager and hard working students and will offer to mentor them through their career with the hope of being able to hire the students once they graduate.


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