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A STAR Performance - How to Ace Your Packaging Interview

Landing a great job begins with a strong interview. First impressions are important but acing your audition requires more than just smiles and handshakes.

A great interview is all about building rapport, instilling confidence, and emphasizing the value you bring to the table. However, as the packaging industry becomes increasingly competitive, you must go beyond a great resume to stand out from the competition.

One of the fastest ways to get there is by answering interview questions as proficiently as possible. And that means being prepared for anything.

Common Styles

It goes without saying that you should always put your best foot forward when it comes to interviewing. But for packaging executives, that’s not always enough.

These days, interviewing has become more of an art. With companies wanting not only to evaluate your abilities but your mental toughness as well. Part of which includes using the interview process to assess how candidates perform under pressure and respond to workplace challenges.

While there’s no such thing as a “typical” interview, here are a few of the most common styles used today.

Formal

What most candidates are accustomed to. With formal packaging interviews, there’s usually very little small talk involved. The interviewer typically launches right into questions about a candidate's resume and skill set.

While the format itself is straightforward - they ask/you answer - there are some strategies involved with how you respond to these questions.

  • Be cognizant of your body language - Just like mom taught you, sit up straight, lean-in and smile. Experts agree that body language is an important factor in successful interviewing.
  • ‍Listen and think about questions before answering - Keep in mind that a momentary pause is perfectly acceptable when contemplating your answer. While a half-baked reply, on the other hand, is not.  
  • Don’t be afraid to use “life experiences” - in place of specific work-related answers. Just be sure your response is relevant (and don’t try to make anything up).
  • Stay on topic - don’t get long-winded or let your answers veer off course. Have a few “core” selling points in mind to emphasize and keep reiterating them as you go.
  • Always ask questions at the end - To show that you’re truly interested in the position. This is also a perfect time to clear up any lingering doubts you may have about the opportunity.  

And don’t forget to thank the interviewer for their time and ask about the next step in the process. You may be surprised to learn how many won’t.

Casual/Conversational

The most relaxed interviewing style out there. Casual interviews are typically less formal and not as stressful for packaging executives. Yet, just because these interviews are more flexible, doesn’t mean you should take them any less seriously.

You still need to do your homework and never take any opportunity lightly.

Also, be mindful of how you speak and act during the interview. For everything you say and do is being considered. Candidates are often lulled into a false sense of security and get too chatty during their conversations.

Bad idea.

On the flip side, don’t let the conversation just “drift” along either. Keep the interview moving by utilizing your small talk skills and asking plenty of open-ended questions.

It’s perfectly natural to get off topic for a few moments. But always try to bring the focus back around to how your strengths and skills match those of the position.

Behavioral

Although slightly less common, the behavioral interview format is quickly gaining traction. This type of analysis uses questions about past behaviors in the hopes of determining future performance. For example:

“Tell me about a time you had to meet an unexpected deadline.

How did you handle the situation? What was the result?”

Your reply should clearly articulate your thought process in overcoming the challenge. Interviewers look for packaging executives with good problem-solving skills and the ability to handle pressure.

The key to behavioral interviews is not getting rattled. Stay calm, think before you speak and respond assertively. Your answer should not only address the question but simultaneously highlight the strengths and qualities you most wish to convey.

A great way to accomplish this is by utilizing the STAR method for your responses.  

Set Yourself Up for Packaging Interview Success

Whichever interview style you find yourself in, keep in mind that specifics are essential. If you mention results or accomplishments, provide numbers, metrics or hard data to back it up.

A great way of doing this is to keep an active journal of your accomplishments throughout the year.

Jot down your wins as they happen, and you won’t struggle to recall them later. Read through your journal before interviewing and you’ll be prepared when those inevitable accomplishment questions come up.

Finally, don’t be afraid to share failures or disappointments you’ve experienced along the way. Making yourself vulnerable oozes authenticity and is a great way to build trust.

But don’t volunteer to share this kind of information (unless you’re asked to do so first).

Conclusion

In the end, packaging interviews don’t have to be stressful. Not as long as you do your homework ahead of time.

Just remember to relax, think before speaking, and focus on the unique value you inherently offer. Whenever possible, help guide the conversation and periodically steer it back to you and why you’d be a great fit.

Couple these strategies with a dash of authenticity and people skills, and you’ll be ready for anything.

Together- We Succeed!

Chase & Associates

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