Interview Preparation for Industrial Automation Candidates

Our job does not end when we find the right candidates for the industrial automation and industrial technology organsiations that we work with. In many ways it is just the start, because now we are going to guide talent from the world of IIOT, IOT, and industry 4.0 through a testing interview process.

header curve

A key part to this is interview preparation, taking 45 minutes or so to take you through what is going to happen next. Every case will be different to reflect each client, but there are some themes that are consistent. I will share some insights below.


Why interview prep is important for you as a candidate

For you as the candidate, we want to ensure that you have the opportunity to show the best of you in what will be a small window of time. We want to answer any questions you have and provide insights into the people you will be speaking with.

The war on talent in the industrial automation field is challenging. If we have engaged with talent in edge, IT/OT, IIOT and industry 4.0 – we can be certain they are in demand, so let’s make sure you as a candidate have the best chance to perform to your highest standard.


Some good practice to consider

First and foremost, it is important to keep in mind that no matter what your current situation is, regardless of the reason why you are looking to make that move you must be an active participant in the process. It is not all on the future employer to make the decision, you have as much power to say yes or no…

BUT, and I think we all forget this, even if there are days or weeks between each interview you only really have a few hours to make a decision which will affect the course of your career for the next few years.


So with this in mind;


  • Be authentic – I am not saying that you should bring everything, all your foibles and deepest darkest secrets! But when asked for an opinion do not second guess too much and give the answer you think the interviewer wants to hear. They will probably be able to tell, and if they can’t then you have committed to being someone you are not from day one.


  • Think about your motivations – not just for why you want to make the move but apply this way of thinking with a critical eye to all of the career decisions you have made. For example…


  • Why – why are you, or were you aiming for this goal, why did/do feel this is the route for you? Why have you taken the decisions you have, and why did you either stick with them or discard them?


  • What – what have you done, been doing or plan to do to reach this goal? What steps are you taking, what is the plan and objective? What evidence can you demonstrate in your career to back this up? What have been the challenges, what have you learned? What surprised you and what have been the outcomes?


  • How – how will you set about achieving this or how have you set about achieving this? How do you measure the success of this? How will you know when you have reached your goal and how do you think it will make you feel? How did it make you feel?


I would argue that even if the interviewer is not overtly asking these questions, they are still looking for this type of content. Obviously you need to judge the situation but it is good practice to apply this approach. There is no harm in taking some control of the discussion because, as mentioned, you are an active participant in this process!

There is no right or wrong answer for authenticity, and if you present this then you know no matter what the outcome is it’s much more likely to be the right one.


If you are looking to make that career move and need support in doing so Collingwood Executive Search offer an Outplacement service, this is often a service employers provide to outgoing employees but is also extremely beneficial to individuals who wish to progress and succeed in their career through the support of an expert.

Find out more information on our outplacement services 

About the author
Doug Mackay
5 min read

Having started his career in Executive Search in 1998, Doug set up Collingwood in 2005 alongside his wife, Claire Mackay.

Read more >