Energy Industry Careers
Navigating your Career Path can be stressful, time consuming and feel relentless at times! 30 years ago, you could choose a Career for life in the Energy Industry, many did and stayed with the same company throughout.
Today, the Energy Sector is going through massive transition - we are not only seeing a paradigm shift to greener energy supply but the gig economy (i.e. short term work assignments) is also thriving. Long term careers with a single company may be a thing of the past and you may find that you move jobs every few years or you may be an independent consultant working different gigs.
With great change comes new opportunities and being prepared is key! If you are in a job, you may be lucky enough to have an employer who will support and help you navigate your career path, however I always recommend that you take control over your own career and destiny.
Finding the path that aligns with your interests and aspirations is key to a more fulfilled and happy life. See below some steps that will hopefully assist in exploring your true potential!
Self Assessment
Evaluating your skills, achievements and personality is the first and one of the most difficult steps in your career management process. Honesty is key; focusing on your strengths and weaknesses will provide vital information to determine your strategies for finding jobs that you will enjoy.
Before starting this exercise, you may wish to try out some career assessment quizzes such as 123test or Princeton. Also check out some personality tests such as Myers-Briggs - lots on the internet to choose from.
What do I have to offer?
Taking the plunge and deciding to change jobs or direction can be unnerving and involve a great deal of soul searching, particularly if you have not written a CV for many years. By examining your skills and expertise you can determine your relevant strengths which will help you to determine what you have to offer and identify areas for improvement. For this exercise, we recommend making a list with pros and cons written down. List your skills, rank them (1-10), and highlight skills you enjoy and those that you would like to further develop or need to develop for the changing landscape.
If you are planning to make the transition from the Oil and Gas Industry to renewables, you may wish to take the "oilfield" to some extent out of your job. For example if you have been a Drilling Engineer for 20 years, you may define yourself as such, but you need to focus on the skills that you have acquired along the way. For example, an Operations Geologist who plans to move into Geothermal, may list transferrable skills such as:
  • Project Management (devising/implementation of strategy, setting KPI’s, managing stakeholders, reporting, forecasting)
  • Optimisation (well systems analysis, design, and optimization)
  • Operations (monitoring, control, system efficiencies)
  • Contract and Procurement (contract design, tender process/evaluation, monitoring KPI’s)...
Focus on the skills you have acquired not on the job you have been doing.

For energy industry personnel, we have listed a few categories to get you started:
  • Technical - Structural Geology, QI Geophysicist, Geomechanic Specialist, Reservoir Simulation Engineer, Drilling Engineer, CCS, Maintenance/Process/Design/Electrical Engineer,...
  • Industry Knowledge - Deepwater Exploration, Unconventionals, Carbon Capture, Geothermal, EOR...
  • Digital Transformation - Cloud Architect, IoT, AI, Machine Learning /coding, Micro-Services developer...
  • Renewables - Geothermal, Biomass, Solar, Wind, Hydro, Tidal, Hydrogen...
  • Regional Areas Worked - GOM, North Sea, Nigeria, West Africa, Caspian, CIS...
  • Commercial - Mergers & Acquisition, Accounting, Budgeting, Strategic Management, Contracts, Negotiation, Procurement, Collaborations. Monetisation...
  • Managerial - Sales/Business Development, Project Management, Resource Management...
  • Analytical - Critical thinking, Research, Big Data/Predictive Analysis, Problem Solving...
  • Communication - Listening ability, Presentations, Debates, Team Activities, Mentoring, Training, Demonstrator, Partnerships / Collaboration, Leadership/Supervisor Activities, Languages...
  • Transferable Skills - For example, Oil and Gas professionals have a wealth of skills that are needed for all low carbon solutions – be in nuclear or renewables. As the Energy Transition continues to gain momentum - you need to examine the skills required and what skills you can transfer. Below find the Transitional Skills, courtesy of Andy Wood (CeraPhi Energy), when he moved from Geological Subsurface Operations to Geothermal Operations and Senior Management.
    Transitional skills : (main skills acquired in Oil and Gas)
    • Project Management: An ability to organise and oversee a project from beginning to end with efficacy.
    • Operational Optimisation Through Design: Team Architecture, Managing Service Companies, Designing Wells.
    • Planning Advancements: Critical Thinking, Knowledge Capture & Dissemination.
    • Subsurface Knowledge and Understanding: Ability to select and oversee all subsurface tasks and achieve desired results.
    • Day to Day Operational Adjustments: Knowing the system and making it efficient.
    • Data Acquisition Rationalisation: I want vs. I need. Recording the right amount of data at the right cost.
    • Process Improvement: An ability to look at systems and create efficiency (documentation, design, overseeing, reporting).
    • Contract Optimisation: Contract Design, Thorough Tender Evaluation, Contract Monitoring and Management.
    • Reducing Waste: A critical eye which is always looking for efficiencies to apply.
Keep it simple - if you have to think too hard about it, the chances are it is not a key skill - ask your work colleagues to list your top 5 skills. See how fast they list them and you may even be surprised! Sometimes, we just don’t recognise, or misinterpret, our KEY strengths.
What do I like to do?
This can be a daunting task, especially if you have been in the same job for a number of years and now find yourself out of work, with apparently few prospects in your chosen career. Considering something new/different and making the transition requires serious deliberation.
It is great to be ambitious and have career aspirations but the reality is that you need to have a career plan for now that hopefully supports your longer term aspirations.
So give some thought to the following questions. Consider discussing this with your partner as family life also needs to be considered.
  • What do/did I enjoy most and enjoy least in my current/previous position and why?
  • Do I want more or less responsibility?
  • Where do I want to be in 2 to 5 years’ time?
  • What is my ultimate career goal?
  • Is it feasible to relocate?
  • Can I travel and if so how much am I willing to be away from home?
  • What should my work/life balance look like?
  • What is important to me? - Cleaner environment, better health, exciting role, recognition, financial security, wealth, family, responsibility, job title, leadership... List them and rank them.
When unsure of your career path, try and get some exposure in the field of interest - maybe volunteering, internships, getting involved with the respective society bodies, attending webinars or events (many are free), getting involved in debate and see if you have a passion for the field...
What can I do?
As the dynamics of the markets are rapidly changing to meet global low carbon energy targets, we have witnessed a major decline in more traditional hydrocarbon roles and an emergence of new jobs across sectors of the wider energy mix. Before determining your career path, we recommend that you:
  • Research and gain a better understanding of the various growth markets across Energy. Some business sectors to investigate are Energy Efficiency, Smart Grids and Energy Systems and Renewables Integration.
  • Check out some of the major investors in greener solutions - there are some multibillion dollar investment pots (both at country and regional level) available. This may spark some new ideas or highlight the players involved and potential jobs available. It has been reported that there is more money allocated that there are projects so get your thinking caps on!
  • Check out funds for upskilling and reskilling - these are typically for people who are out of work or their role is potentially at risk unless they upskill. You may find funds available through your Government or Industry Bodies/Societies - some for free or on a no interest basis. If in a job then your employer may be open to funding, especially if they add value to their energy transition path - definitely worth considering new skills that leverage your own career path!
Follow the money and you will most likely find the jobs!

Whilst researching the various sectors, think about the following questions - it may help in determining your chosen career path.
  • How could I utilise my existing skills in this sector?<
  • What value would I bring? Do I have any USPs (unique selling propositions)?
  • What new or enhanced skills would help me evolve my career in this sector?
Keep up to date with news - register online with news sites across the various sectors - you will hear of new projects, joint ventures, investments, government initiatives... For example, check out for current news across the Energy sectors.
Writing an Effective CV
The term 'Curriculum Vitae' (CV) is derived from Latin and translated means "the way your life has run". In simple terms, a CV is a "personal marketing statement outlining your professional history, your skills, abilities and achievements." It is a mechanism for you to sell/promote yourself to a prospective employer.
Before Starting to Write your CV
You should consider the following:
  • The idea of a CV is to get you an interview - your foot in the door, not to get you the job. It should be relevant to the position you are applying for.
  • When constructing your CV, remember that potential employers will spend a mere 30 - 60 seconds reading your life history.
  • Evaluating your own skills, achievements and personality is one of the most difficult hurdles and is the first step in the CV writing process. We recommend you review Step -1 Self-Assessment
  • Identify "Action words" that illustrate and support your skills and experience.
    Some examples may be:
    • Planning Words: Created, Designed, Scheduled, Engineered, Innovated, Justified, Tailored, Planned, Devised, Developed, Estimated, Revised, Formed, Organised, Established, Strategised
    • Leadership Words: Led, Directed, Administered, Specified, Authorised, Delegated, Managed, Coordinated, Guided, Controlled, Trained, Mentored, Supervised
    • Responsibility Words: Managed, Evaluated, Initiated, Authorised, Performed, Developed, Implemented, Handled, Operated, Maintained, Coordinated, Audited, Assembled
    • Interaction Words: Conferred, Counselled, Inspired, Appraised, Resolved, Coordinated, Negotiated, Liaised, Clarified, Recommended, Mentored, Conferred, Sold, Marketed
    • Investigative Words: Analysed, Correlated, Reviewed, Assessed, Observed, Evaluated, Computed, Verified, Investigated, Researched
  • Be aware that your CV may go through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Whether you upload your CV or complete an application on a company’s website, the results may first be passed through an automated CV screening to assess your suitability for the role. Some key tips to improve your CV’s chances of successfully passing an ATS check are:
    • Use keywords listed in the job specification
    • Keep your CV simple
    • Check your spelling and grammar - their system will do this
    • Use acronyms and titles as they appear in the job specification
  • Make every line count - e.g. an Exploration Geologist may state - "worked on a GOM asset for 5 years" but this could be improved by "Led the Deepwater Team for the XX Gulf of Mexico field - Increased production from XXX to XXX boe/d by utilising enhanced geological modelling techniques for development and exploration drilling..."
  • Set up a Project Folder on your Computer to manage your "finding a job project". Keep a spread sheet and detail a) companies you have applied to b) date sent c) date response received d) their response and e) type of CV sent (modified or standard). Where you have supplied a modified CV, save and name with Company. That way if you are called for an interview you have an easy to access copy.
  • Linkedin - many potential employers will check you out on Linkedin. Make sure you have a good profile and try and build your network of contacts. If possible, get some endorsements from people you have worked for in the past. Get involved in debates about subject matter that you are passionate about. Make sure your interest and involvement are visible.
For online Applicant Tracking System - modify your CV so that the keywords mentioned in the job specification are listed and detailed in your CV and keep a copy of your CV uploaded.
Selecting a CV Format
There are several different formats - the most common are listed below. Choose one that is suitable for your career history or the job that you are applying for.
  • Chronological - Details your work history in reverse chronological order. Typically, it shows no gaps or changes in your career and is useful to display a continuous work history that is related to your next job opportunity. This is our preferred format.
  • Functional - Highlights certain skills, achievements and responsibilities rather than listing your work history. It is ideal where there have been career changes, periods of unemployment, redundancy or illness.
  • Targeted - A one off CV targeted for a specific job or vacancy. It concentrates on your potential and what you are capable of. Unlike chronological and functional formats which focus on past work history, this type can be used for specialised positions.
CV Structure/Chronological Format
Whilst the structure of a CV is flexible with many templates available on the web, there are specific sections and information that employers expect to see included in a CV. Below find a format that we like and is well received by our clients. Check out an example of a Professional CV and Graduate CV that we have prepared.
  • Name/Contact Details - display a permanent address (City and Country will suffice), contact phone number, email and mobile number that you are comfortable for a prospective employer to call you on - for instance, if you work in an open-plan office, it might be awkward to receive a call from a prospective employer. (Note: graduates should provide the permanent address of a family member as well as a term time address). You could include a photo but make sure it is a professional-looking photo.
  • Personal Details - include your Nationality and any additional right of residence or work permits that are relevant. If you have a good Linkedin profile include your LinkedIn URL.
  • Personal Profile - highly recommended to grab the reader’s attention - it is a key selling point. Ideally it should be punchy, precise and no more than five to ten lines, e.g. "10 years Oil and Gas industry experience as a senior Interpretation Geophysicist. Experienced in managing an exploration interpretation team focused on North Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Strong quantitative interpretation skills, mentoring of junior staff and working with senior management with appraisals and decision making". Check out some additional profiles for graduates and other professionals."
  • Academic Qualifications - you should list higher education and in order of highest level first, i.e. PhD then MSc, followed by BSc. You may wish to include details of your thesis and/or dissertation and expand if relevant to the role in question. For professionals with many years’ experience, school grades become irrelevant. However, for Graduates, undergraduate education results should be included.
  • Work Experience - List in reverse chronological order (i.e. last date first). Detail Company name, job title/position and start and end dates. If you are applying for a job outside of your specific sector - state a few words describing the company e.g. Mayfair Limited (Oil Exploration Company). As well as writing a brief overview of your job, incorporate any key achievements.
  • Technology skills - in this digitalisation world, list your abilities e.g. software applications (only the ones you are competent in - not a lengthy list). Note - coding, AI, microservices, machine learning and big data are of key interest to many companies.
  • Additional Skills - List Languages and state proficiency, e.g. Spanish - Fluent, German - Conversational.
  • Publications - Keep concise - If you have a large number of publications, you may want to combine topics and list the topic and number of papers written/presented. State if you have presented papers at industry events (e.g. forum, date).
  • Personal Interests - not essential, but if you’re going to include this section, consider what it says about you. E.g. are you a team player or an individual? Including hobbies and interests works best if you can make them relevant to the job e.g. for a Geology graduate role "Volunteer on the Jurassic coast, educating school-age children about fossils and dinosaurs". Or a Mechanical Engineer role "I collect and restore classic cars".
  • Society Memberships - optional - only list if relevant for the job.
  • Referees - Optional. Not expected on a professional’s CV, but for graduates we recommend listing at least one academic referee - University, name, title, email - make sure you get permission to use in advance.
CV Presentation
As mentioned, your CV is your "personal marketing statement". The appearance of your CV is an indication to a prospective employer of what you are like - this is their perception and therefore their reality! There are lots of CV templates to choose from, but the following guideline is a sure-fire way to avoid yours being rejected.
The Good CV...
  • Has no more than 2-3 pages maximum. Remember the 30-60 second norm! A one page CV should suffice for Graduates with no work history.
  • Clearly states who you are, where you have worked and what you have got to offer.
  • Looks attractive - is well laid out, structured and easy to read.
  • Includes a catchy "Personal Profile" to grab the reader’s attention and urges them to read more.
  • Uses bulleted lists - short and concise points that are informative.
  • Lists all relevant work experience - in reverse chronological order
  • Contains a widely accepted font - e.g. Helvetica, Times New Roman, Georgia, Arial Narrow, Trebuchet MS and Calibri.
  • Has a readable font size of 12 in black.
The Bad CV...
  • Has excessive use of pronouns "I, he/she, they..." - preferably write "Employed as a Seismic Interpreter with 2 years practical experience in ..."
  • Has spelling, grammar and punctuation errors - no excuses! Have someone review - maybe a spouse or colleague who knows your strengths and weaknesses as they are often more than willing to criticise!
  • Contains a negative description - remember the CV is your sales proposition.
  • Highlights gaps in your work history - if you have had an employment gap - state the dates and explain. A good Recruiter will spot the gaps immediately. For example, the gap may be as a result of "Recovering from an illness", "Looking after aging parents", "Took a sabbatical to travel globally with my family", "Time out to focus on a major home improvement project", "Personal Development - taught myself machine learning coding in Python and obtained my Prince2 Project Management Certification"...
  • Lists too many interests and personal information, publications, referees. Think about what it is relaying to the reader e.g. If you have too many papers and research - you may be perceived as "too academic" for more commercial roles.
And The Ugly CV!
  • Displays a distorted photo, inappropriate or not professionally taken. You may wish to go to a professional camera shop and have a passport size photo taken - they will typically email it to you and it costs only a fraction more than a photo booth.
  • Contains lots of subjective terminology - "inspirational", "self-motivated" "innovator", "thinks outside the box" "maverick"...use these words with care! Strong action words that can be supported in your CV are acceptable.
  • Contains undefined abbreviations and acronyms - use jargon sparingly!
  • Has excessive use of CAPITALS, underlining, bold and italics, large fonts...
  • Is not user friendly - if the reader has to scramble up/down to understand the timelines - they will lose interest and abandon!
  • Includes long sentences and paragraphs and rambles - aim for concise information - less text is easier to read.
  • Is disorganised and unstructured - be careful with some CV templates that have columns - you have to scroll up/down to read.
  • Contains too many graphics, colours, different fonts, rigid formatting - remember the reader may be reviewing on different media and it can get distorted - keep it simple.
Final CV Writing Tips:
  • You may wish to consider saving your CV as a pdf file to avoid formatting issues across different software versions. This is particularly important if you include a photo that may get distorted and relocated within the document.
  • In today’s marketplace, it is unlikely that you will have a "job for life". Therefore, your CV should be a dynamic report, continually modified to reflect your latest skills and achievements.
  • You should maintain a "General CV" that you can quickly modify for new opportunities.
  • Remember, your CV is the marketing statement that will secure that interview!
Be careful about using CV Templates in general. Some job boards enable you to create a CV and then this is sent with your job applications via the site. In some cases these are truly "bad" CVs. And finally, check that your CV is a true reflection of your expertise and most importantly your potential!
Cover Letter
A Cover Letter establishes a personal connection with a potential employer. It is typically the first introduction and therefore it is essential to make a good impression. Sending a well written cover letter with a supportive CV will greatly enhance your application and make a winning impression.
Before writing your Cover Letter:
  • How is the Cover Letter to be communicated? Will it be emailed, posted, uploaded or inserted to a text box on a website. If the latter, the address is not required as your CV will be linked. If going through a recruitment agency, make sure your cover letter is presented with your CV.
  • Format? We recommend 3 to 4 paragraphs but you can write more - just keep them relevant! In general, it should be a formal letter with your address on the top right hand side and the company address below to the left. Also, it needs to be dated.
  • What do I know about the Company? - Research the Company web site - view the "About us", "Team" and "Career" sections. A Company’s web site typically reflects their image and cultural values (vision, beliefs, principals...). This may help in setting the tone of your letter - e.g. a highly formal approach or a more relaxed/simple letter.
  • Who is the letter to be addressed to? - If you are unsure of the recipient of the letter - try and ascertain. It may state on the job advert - "please email the HR Manager...". Sometimes, you can ascertain from the Company’s website, Linkedin page or job posting, or you could call the Company and ask for the name - just explain that you are sending a letter to the HR Manager and you would like to personalise. It shows initiative.
Remember A good Cover Letter should:
  • Entice the reader to review your CV.
  • Create a good impression - be neat and easy to read.
  • Not contain undefined abbreviations and acronyms - remember the person reading the Cover Letter may not be knowledgeable of the role but merely undertaking the initial screening.
  • Be formal, - regardless if you know the recipient, you have no idea who else in the organisation will read the letter.
  • Be checked for spelling and grammar.
  • Cause a positive reaction - read it out loud and let friends and family review - ask them for feedback on clarity and readability and whether it impresses!
Ready to write? - Try this simple 4 step format below:
  • Step 1 Formalities
    • Company address if required - see above
    • Your full address - top right hand side - see above.
    • Address as "Dear Sir/Madam" or "Dear Hiring Manager" if you have no name - try and ascertain the name - see above.
  • Step 2 Opening Paragraph
    • Outlines the purpose of the letter - I am excited to apply for your role of XXX (Ref:XXXX) in Houston.
    • Remember the job can be listed on numerous social media sites so it is not as important to state where you saw the advertisement anymore. However, as companies can have similar jobs titles, the reference is key, to avoid confusion.
  • Step 3 - Candidate Suitability Paragraph:
    • Be subjective - My boss and clients have the highest regard for me." rather demonstrate actual value - e.g. I have...
    • Display arrogance or oversell - "I am well recognised in the industry for being the expert in..." Keep it simple - make sure your statements can be supported by your CV.
    • Display negativity - Don’t draw attention to your lack of experience or key skills - e.g. "Although I have only 2 years’ experience, I believe I could do the job".
    • Repeat verbatim what is in your CV - show ability to paraphrase!
    • Highlight your key skills relevant to the role. A role will typically have "essential" and "preferred" skills. Focus on your relevant achievements that can demonstrate - e.g. With 20 years as a Business Development Manager, I have accomplished the following that I believe are relevant to the role:
      • Expanded a cloud solutions portfolio across Asia Pacific and the Middle East - predominately through network and channel building...
      • Established an office in Dubai and in KL - sourced the office, recruited...
      • Achieved 140% of targets in the first year and a further 40% growth over the last 3 years...
    • Demonstrate subtly that you are knowledgeable of the company’s goals and have a good understanding of the key job requirements. E.g. "I am pleased to hear of your recent success in Kazakhstan and to learn that you are expanding your Exploration Team to support this success. I believe that I can add value to this Team by bringing...."
    • Expand on one or more of your relevant accomplishments.
    • Show how you can add value to both the role and the Company.
    • Try and demonstrate that you have a broader knowledge of the industry sector/topic... e.g. you may have presented papers, led workshops, been part of discussion forums, mentored students in this field, been a member of a relevant society or research collaboration, understand geographical differences of the topic/practice...
  • Step 4 Closing Paragraph:
    • Graduates may state "I would appreciate any guidance or advice you may have to offer in pursuing this or similar careers in your organisation. I look forward to hearing from you." We were all graduates once and if politely asked - many will take the time to support you.
    • Professionals may state "I look forward to hearing from you and hopefully being part of your XXX team, driving the success of your new XX venture". Try and tie the final paragraph into your desire to work for the Company and to undertake the job in question.
    • Don’t be conceited - avoid statements like "I have no doubt that you will find my credentials match your role perfectly and I look forward to the next step in the process...."
    • Thank the employer for their time in reading your application. Also, you could state "....if you have any questions, I would be delighted to clarify and can be reached on 01974 63846".
    • Always end with a formal sign off. e.g. Yours sincerely, faithfully, respectfully... If sending electronically - scan your signature and insert your signature image. In all circumstances, type your full name below your signature.
Always save your Cover Letter’s - that way you can track which ones get a response and which ones don’t. Will help you improve.

General Interview Advice
There is a great deal to consider before any interview, be it via an online media, phone or in person. The following are just some guidelines to help you prepare.
Preparation - General Overview
An interview is a prime opportunity for you to sell yourself to a potential employer. You should prepare for questions about your background, aspirations, the potential employer, position, personality and your interests.
Understanding your career aspirations and being able to relate them to each specific position you apply for can assist greatly. When preparing for an interview, you should be aware of the following:
The interviewer is trying to assess Your:
  • Goals and Aspirations - to ascertain how they align with theirs. So when practicing your replies for the specific role, you need to demonstrate interest, value-add, motivation and commitment to the Company.
  • Career aspirations - these are influenced by what is important to you - e.g. family, lifestyle, values, flexibility, desire to achieve, title, recognition amongst peers/industry, money, to travel....
  • Potential for growth - most large companies undertake "succession planning" - so when hiring, they are thinking of the long term potential of a candidate. Managers like to promote from within, so demonstrate subtly a level of ambition to grow and develop- just be clear as to how you think you may achieve this without being too arrogant - e.g. explain that you have researched XXX and thinking of undertaking additional training/learning online to develop your skills further.... Remember the Interviewer is trying to assess if the role makes sense given your long-term career strategy, how long will you stay and are your ambitions reasonable and in line with the company's goals?
  • Cultural fit - The old adage of "people like to work with likeminded people" still applies for many companies and you may have a first round interview with HR to assess your cultural fit. If deemed, you are not a good match then they will not proceed to the next round. It can be a difficult interview but once again preparation is key! Probing questions will be presented to uncover your values, thinking, ideas, and beliefs.
How to answer questions about your career aspirations:
Talking about your career goals can be challenging, especially if you are still considering different career options. When interviewing for a job, stay focused on how well you would benefit from the job and the value you bring to the job. Here are a few tips to consider:
  • Consider why you want the job. Before the interview, think carefully about why you want the job you are applying for. Think about possible ways you could learn and grow from working in that position and most importantly, how the role will support your long-term goals.
  • Focus on your career. You need to get across that the job is aligned with your career aspirations - avoid mentioning goals that are un-related. You may not have figured out exactly where you wish your career to take you so focus on your ability to do the job. While your salary is an important factor in choosing a job, focus on other measures of success during the interview.
  • Relate your aspirations to the position. As you discuss your career goals, relate them back to the job that you are applying for. Mention aspirations that make use of skills you would use in the job.
  • Show dedication. Telling the interviewer that you plan to commit to a career path for a significant amount of time can make them more interested in spending time and resources hiring and training you.
  • Emphasize growth. Regardless of your aspirations, you should describe some sort of growth in order to show the interviewer your ambition and potential.
Seek out the opportunity to be involved in an interview process - it will provide great insight into how it is conducted, perceptions derived and outcomes made. Maybe ask if you can sit in on interviews for new recruits below your status!

Preparation - Common Questions for Professionals
It is not possible to guarantee questions in any interview but typically they can be grouped into the following topic areas. You should prepare for questions about your background, your aspirations, the potential employer and the position, your personality and your interests.
  • Company and Role
    • Why did you apply to us?
    • How did you hear about this position?
    • What do you know about our organisation?
    • Do you know anyone who works for us and if so in what capacity?
    • What interests you in the position?
    • What have you got to offer the company? - What skills/Value would you bring?
    • Why should we hire you?
  • Career Ambitions
    • What are your short-long term goals?
    • Tell me about your career aspirations.
    • What are you looking for in a career?
    • Do you have plans to gain further qualifications?
    • Where do you see yourself in 2-5 years’ time?
    • Our industry is changing - how do you see this change affecting your profession or way of work?
  • Skills and Requirements
    • How do you work best? - Leading a group, in a team or independently?
    • Can you travel?
    • What do you expect in terms of training and development?
    • What has been your main career achievement to date?
    • What was the most difficult problem in your current/previous position - how did you find the solution?
    • You say you have xxx did you demonstrate these in your previous position?
    • Why do you want to move from Oil and Gas to our Renewable Industry? What do you see as your transferable skills and why?
  • Personality
    • Describe yourself - what are your strengths/weaknesses? OR If you could change one thing about your personality, what would it be?
    • What motivates you?
    • What are your interests - how do you spend your spare time?
    • Have you ever gone above and beyond expectations in a job?
  • Cultural Fit
    • How would you describe the culture at previous companies you’ve worked at?
    • What did you like/dislike about these cultures?
    • Describe your ideal employer.
    • How do you like to work?
    • How do you like to be managed?
    • How do you maintain a work-life balance?
All questions, regardless of how banal they appear should be answered with the same degree of respect and clarity.

Preparation - Common Questions for Graduates
The majority of the questions listed for professionals are also applicable and you should rehearse. However, you may find some more specific questions pertaining to your degree and as a new graduate.
Depending on the role, the interviewer may be focussed on a wider range of skills such as your ability to work in a team, network, communicate, listen, engage, research, manage projects, deliver results, stay with the Company for a few years, get along with colleagues, share similar cultural values, be flexible, progress through their graduate program successfully...
You may also have to undertake an online Assessment test. Here are just a few examples of interview questions that you should prepare for:
  • Why did you choose your particular degree/discipline?
  • Why did you choose your college/university?
  • What did you most/least like about your course?
  • What was your strongest/weakest subject? And why?
  • Tell me about your project / research work?
  • How are your studies related to this position/vacancy?
  • Tell me about your career aspirations?
  • Describe your ideal employer?
  • Have you ever faced adversity (hardship, difficulty, danger..) and how did you cope?
  • Do you plan to gain further qualifications?
  • How do you spend you spare time?
  • Besides your degree, what else do you feel you gained from college/university?
  • Were you active in any societies?
  • What positions of responsibility do you hold/have you held?
  • Have you ever missed a deadline and how did you handle this?
  • Have you had the opportunity to demonstrate leadership skills at university - and if so how?
  • What is your greatest achievement?
  • Why should we hire you?
Energy graduates of recent years have gained a greater understanding of the wider Energy Mix - some graduating in specific sectors. You will most likely be hired for this knowledge, your passion, enthusiasm, technology skills and innovative ideas. All good attributes for you to display at interview!
Preparation - Sticky/Problem Questions
  • What salary or benefits are you looking for? Try and ascertain the salary range on offer if possible. If queried you could respond with "I believe the salary range on offer is XX-XX and I am happy with this range" or "....I would be looking for the upper range.." If going through a Recruiting Company, ask them. If going direct to a Company and it is not clear then explain what you were previously earning but that you are flexible within reason.
  • You have moved around a lot - can you elaborate?
  • Why are you changing your career?
  • Explain the gap in your work history (see CV Writing - try and avoid).
  • Given your career plans, how long do you expect to stay with our organisation?
  • Why did you leave your last employer? (remember never speak badly about a past employer - speak positively even if your experience has been poor - you may just not have been the right fit!)
  • Can we contact your current employer for references? (this question is usually only asked after an offer letter has been sent and verbally accepted - nevertheless be prepared).
  • Questions pertaining to your marital status, children, childcare arrangements, age - in most countries these are illegal questions - don’t get stressed and point out that the question is inappropriate - they may be testing to see your reaction! Try and address the concern pertaining to the question - e.g. children - explain that you have had successful childcare arrangements for years which has enabled flexibility around work.
Sticky questions can be asked purely to see how well you handle them under pressure. Stay relaxed and focused. Be prepared for them!

Preparation - Questions to ask the Interviewer
At this stage in the interview, you may feel that you have been interrogated but this may be their style to assess how you behave under pressure. Asking questions gives YOU an opportunity to demonstrate confidence, that you are interested in the position and that you have conducted your research and can engage at an informed level - it is a great way to build further rapport.
Typically, the Interviewer will give you the opportunity to ask a question. If not, then you can always say "I hope you don’t mind but I have a question".
We recommend that you prepare about 5 questions and ask 1-3. Be careful though not to ask a question clearly covered in the job spec or has been dealt with during the interview. Your questions should be well thought out - they should assist you in evaluating the job and the Company. They can be subtle but revealing - sometimes very direct questions pertaining to "how you can benefit from them" can raise alarms. Here are just a few acceptable examples to choose from:
  • Could you explain why the position is available?
  • What is a typical day like in the role?
  • What would my first week at work look like?
  • What are the initial priorities of the position?
  • What is the team like that I will be working with?
  • What are the initial priorities of the position?
  • What skills are needed to succeed? Be careful though as most jobs will specify skills. Alternatively, you could say "What would make someone highly successful in this role?"
  • How does the position fit into the organisational structure and how does it add to its success?
  • What do you see as the most challenging aspect of this job?
  • How much scope is there within this position? (e.g. autonomy, flexibility, career growth, responsibilities)
  • How do you like to progress your people?
  • What is the company’s managerial style or culture?
  • What does success look like in this position, and how is measured?
  • If you are interviewed by your potential immediate boss - you may wish to ask more personal questions such as - How long have you been with the Company? How has your career progressed? Why did you join? What is your favourite aspect of your job?
  • The job spec states "xxx" - could you elaborate on this....
  • Do you encourage mentoring and if so how does this work?
  • Is there anything else you need from me at this stage? (e.g. references...)
  • What are the next steps in the hiring process?
Preparation - Questions to be Careful With
As mentioned - subtly is sometimes key. If you ask very direct questions, it can generate some negative perceptions. At this stage you are trying to impress, create a positive perception and secure an offer letter. So be careful in how you phrase your questions. For example:
  • What salary are you likely to pay me? You could ask "I noticed that the salary range was not listed on the job spec - are you able to divulge the range at this stage".
  • What benefits and perks does the company offer? - This will be disclosed if they proceed with the offer and if not you can then ask politely to see their Benefits Package.
  • How serious do you take work-life balance? This may be revealed by asking about their organisational culture.
  • How much overtime are you likely to ask me to do? Again, a question on culture or flexibility of role/company may reveal.
  • What is your turnaround of staff? Too probing and may be considered offensive and not your concern.
  • What are the Company’s biggest challenges and how are you overcoming them? Your research should highlight their key challenges so you may wish to consider "I see you are having difficulties in XXXX - will this role help to address some of the challenges..."
  • Talk to me about your Bonus scheme - again this will be addressed in the offer letter or benefits package.
  • How often will I be evaluated and rewarded? This may portray a need to be managed and have constant reassurance of doing a good job, and being greedy needing a continuous compensation return. No one wishes to hire a "high maintenance" person.
  • What advancement opportunities are available to me? For senior management this may be a clear cut reasonable answer - e.g. reply could be "we expect you to take on the role of XXX within 12 months". However, for other levels (especially graduates) you will be expected to perform first and following appraisals, career development plans will be clearer. Remember some jobs do not have a great deal of scope for advancement and the interviewer may perceive you as overly ambitious and a "flight risk" - so ask with caution.
Always have a list of APPROPRIATE questions with you to ask. Test them out first with colleagues/partner.

Preparation - Appearance
  • Clothes:
    • Dress formally or at least smart casual. We always suggest formal if you can - e.g. for a women a tailored dress with jacket matching, trousers and jacket matching, or skirt and matching jacket. For men, suggest a suit pants and jacket with a plain shirt and plain tie.
    • Keep it simple - A plain, solid colour can work best.
    • Dress for comfort - make sure you have worn the outfit before (even if only around the house) and that you feel confident in it. Nothing worse than uncomfortable clothing or shoes at an interview!
    • Dress for the season and make sure all items are clean and wrinkle free.
    • Look at what the outfit says about you - is this a positive image?
    • If the interview is online please see clothes tips above.
  • Clean hair and appearance.
  • Minimum jewellery.
For online interviews - avoid polka shirts or busy plaids -can cause visual interference - strobing effect! When you rehearse you will see this - not a nice sight!

Preparation - Practical aspects and Checklist
  • You have all information pertaining to the physical interview (location, directions, emergency phone numbers, who you are meeting...) or for online interview (links, technology testing etc.)
  • You have researched the Company and players - you may wish to make notes to quickly review beforehand - get those key points across.
  • You are confident in discussing your skills, goal and aspiration.
  • You have your CV and Cover Letter that you sent to the employer with you - you may have multiple CV’s - so ensure you have the one that they have reviewed and will possibly refer to.
  • Have rehearsed potential interview questions.
  • Prepared your Interview Questions to ask.
  • You have your outfit ready the day before.
  • Plan ahead - allow for problems - suggest a good 30 minutes of additional time to arrive at a location. If online - be in the meeting room about 5 minutes beforehand.
  • Do not smoke or drink before an interview - can be really displeasing to the interviewers.
During the Interview
  • Smile and make eye contact - will show you are focused, confident and not distracted.
  • Relax and be friendly.
  • Be positive and enthusiastic.
  • Think about your body language.
  • Demonstrate that you have researched the company and position.
  • Answer questions clearly and coherently - don’t ramble - stay focused. Give examples where appropriate.
  • Ask your prepared questions (if not dealt with at the interview)
  • Ask politely if they have a timeline for making a decision?
Remember for interviews - 7-10% is what you say, 20-30% is how you say it, 60-80% is your image, your body language and the overall impression you create - so the greater the preparation, the better you will perform on the day.
After the interview
  • If you know the email addresses of those who participated in the interview - send them a short polite email immediately after e.g. "Thank you for your time today to interview me for the position of XXX - please feel free to reach out if your require any additional information. I look forward to hearing from you. Best regards, XXX"
  • If you applied through a Recruitment Agency, provide written feedback after the interview - 5-10 lines on how you felt the interview went, any outcomes etc. Follow up with the Agency within 2 days to ascertain their feedback from the Client.
  • If you applied direct - send a polite message to the contact (e.g. Hiring Manager, HR..) for any feedback after the decision date provided. If no date was provided, leave for about a week before contacting.
  • Make an assessment of the interview - what questions did you respond well to, interviewers reactions, what areas do you need to improve on?
  • Make an assessment of the company - is this a company you wish to work for? How long do you think you would stay with them? Does the role and Company align with your career goals and aspirations?
  • Write up your assessments - update your project file - date and record your impressions and your perceived outcome. Then you can track your expectations against the outcome.
  • Don’t be disappointed if rejected or receive unhelpful feedback. Many companies will simply state "stronger candidates" which can be frustrating. Try and seek constructive criticism for improvement for the next one. Sometimes, if you approach the interviewer in this manner they may be a little more open with their comments.
  • Learn from each interview and approach the next one with a new perspective. The company and players are different and will have a different mind-set as to what they are looking for.
Sadly be prepared for rejection - there are many factors involved in hiring someone and decisions are rarely based on your performance. Learn from each interview and be better prepared for the next one!

Online and Pre-recorded Interview Advice
In today’s world more and more interviews are conducted either online or via a pre-recording and I suspect with the improvements in technologies this will only proliferate. Let’s first look at interactive online interviews. Typically they are conducted via Skype, ZOOM, Face-time, Go-to-Meeting and MS Teams.
Some things to consider:
  • Link - Make sure you have received the link to the interview 1-2 days in advance preferably. The HR or the hiring manager will typically email you instructions. They may copy in all of the attendants so it is a great opportunity to do some research on those that you will meet.
  • Testing - Try out the technology in advance - launch the link - it may require you to sign in as a guest user. It’s really important to do a test run well in advance so you can sort out any issues. Maybe ask a family or friend to connect with you using the same platform (e.g. Zoom, Skype...) so you can familiarize yourself with the functionality and test that the camera, microphone or phone connections all work properly.
  • Be on time for the interview - save the link to your electronic calendar and set a reminder. This is important as you may have multiple interviews and once saved it is so much easier to source when needed. Try and be connected about 5 mins before start - you will be in a "waiting area" and the owner of the meeting will "admit" you to the session when ready.
  • Pick the best device - use a computer as opposed to a phone if feasible. A larger screen and potential higher resolution may deliver a better result. Don’t forget you want to put your best face forward....
  • Perspective - The cameras on smartphones and webcams are wide-angled. So if you are too close to the camera, your face will appear distorted. Best to step back from the camera - again check out the pre-cording tips then you will know your optimum position for appearance.
  • Lighting - Find the perfect spot - set up your device in a well-lit area. Stay away from overhead lighting. Natural light is best and make sure you face the light. Avoid any harsh lighting behind you, as this will turn you into a shadowy silhouette. Also, avoid sitting with your back to the window - best to face the window, which will give you softer appearance.
  • Backdrop - Examine the aesthetics of the backdrop - People know you are probably at home so make sure there is NO clutter in the backdrop. For a lot of online technologies, you can upload a backdrop photo or select from their proposed list. Again be careful what the backdrop portrays. Maybe best finding a spot where there is a blank wall behind you.
  • Eliminate distractions - maybe put a sign up on the door - "DO NOT ENTER", make sure the cat/dogs are out of reach. Let house members know not to enter or make noises when you are at interview. Turn off your cell phone or house phone ringer until the interview is over.
  • Dress appropriately - you may have to stand up for some reason and you don’t wish to be wearing pyjama bottoms and slippers! See section on Appearance.
  • Stay focused - be aware of your posture and body language. Speak clearly. Make sure you don’t talk over people - this can be difficult if multiple people are interviewing and the bandwidth is not great - pay attention!
  • Readiness - make sure you have everything you need for the interview - if they have asked you to present or share a document - have it ready (on desktop) - also have a pen and paper in case you have an action item.
  • Don’t panic - sometimes there can be problems with the platform and bandwidth - if so, don’t stress - maybe suggest an alternative phone number or platform.
  • Rehearse again and again:
    • Suggest getting with a few colleagues and practice online interviewing
    • Prepare questions in advance but don’t share - learn to be spontaneous - don’t forget to practice the potential questions listed above and more!
    • Practice looking at the camera directly. Press the "Record" button.
    • Wear what you are intending to wear at the interview - from clothes to jewellery.
  • Evaluate the recording and look at:
    • Lighting - may need to adjust.
    • Your engagement - are you speaking to the camera or elsewhere - you need to maintain eye contact. It may be that you need to adjust the height of your chair or put a few books under your device to raise the camera level.
    • Sound - can you be heard correctly? You may need a headset if your speaker is not good enough. Make sure there is no feedback from the sound device.
    • Posture - did you slouch? Use a comfortable chair - not a beanbag!
    • Personal appearance - be aware of your clothes, makeup, jewellery...
There are some great examples on U-Tube about preparing for online interviews - I really liked How To Look Good on Video Calls.

Preparation - Tips for Pre-Recordings
Short pre-recordings to support your job application are becoming more popular and lots of job boards now have the facility for you to upload your video. Check out the tips above on Interactive Online.
In addition, companies may ask you to record your replies to specific questions pertaining to the role and for you to upload your answers via a website. This may be part of an online Job Application process, with details listed or you may be instructed after your CV and Cover Letter have been reviewed and you have been shortlisted for the next stage in the process.
Typing your answers and reading them back a few times focuses the mind.
You may be given a timeframe in which to reply - e.g. 2-5 minutes per question and it is important to comply. There are some technologies to assist such as - it’s free and easy to use. You cut and paste your answer into the cue prompt - set the speed and then hit record. Don’t speak too quickly - be precise and focused. If you go over the time limit then you can adjust your reply and reload the revised text.
Once you have the recording time correct - listen to it over the next few days and maybe share with a colleague to critique.
Check out the cue prompter tool - it really is very useful if you are asked to give a presentation or to answer pre-defined questions. Also great for pre-recordings.

Job Offers and Negotiation
Salary negotiation is one of the last steps in the job search process. It can be a daunting task and preparation is again key! A professional recruitment agency should ascertain your salary expectations in advance and ensure that you are only represented for jobs that are in keeping with your expectations. It's never easy when you come to negotiating a salary with a future employer. However, in most cases there is some room for negotiation.
Before accepting any job offer, think carefully about what is important to you and family - what do you want from a position in terms of:
  • Starting Salary
  • Location
  • Holiday Entitlement
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Potential for career development – training, new areas of interest...
  • Benefits Package - Pension, Health, Dental, Share Options, Gym, Child Care...
  • Allowances – relocation, schooling, housing/services, car, location allowance...
Salary Negotiation - Do's and Don'ts
After being offered the job, you may be delighted, ecstatic.... However, don't rush to accept the offer and don't feel pressurised to accept immediately. Most employers will give you 1-2 weeks to accept. You need time to collect your thoughts and to clarify the details of the offer. Evaluate the offer in terms of your priorities, negotiate if you feel it is not market value, and determine whether the final offer is acceptable.
For Graduate - remember that most companies have a set graduate entry level salary so there may be little room for negotiation at this stage.

Consider the points below when evaluating/accepting a job offer:
  • Be aware of your strengths and achievements – check out our "Skills Assessment" section
  • Familiarize yourself with industry salary trends, especially for the geographical area you are considering. There can be substantial differences between the value of your skills in the oil and gas industry to their value in the Wind, Solar, Geothermal or other low carbon industries. Also, there can be a difference in their value across countries.
  • Talk with the Recruiters involved in the sector of interest and also local recruiters on the ground – share your CV and get their thoughts re potential salaries for your skills.
  • Research the potential Employer in question - what are their future plans - could you be part of this and would that reap higher financial rewards in the near future? Think about the long game for you! Determine if they offer additions to their employees - e.g. travel allowance, child care on the premises, gym membership, paid canteen...
  • Understand what is required for the role and can you meet the criteria - e.g., Medical, Exams, References, Certifications...
  • Be realistic when assessing your salary expectations - define a salary range you are comfortable with - keep this range to yourself though! If you specify the range to the client upfront, the chances are they will always start at the lower end.
  • Prioritise your salary/package expectations - For example, this might be base salary, then location, kids schooling, housing and services, medical benefits, holiday entitlement, work/life balance, bonus/commission scheme. Rank-ordering is a great way to focus your negotiation strategy.
  • Get an idea of the salary on offer before proceeding to interview – if this is not forthcoming from the Employer then ask the Recruiter if involved. In the main, most salaries are competitive within a market but some smaller players or start-ups may have different fiscal remuneration systems – i.e., small base salary but high upside/rewards. It is always good to understand their remuneration model before investing a great deal of time!
  • Start your negotiation at or near the top of defined range – you will then have some wriggle room if you need to lower.
  • If at all possible, let the employer make the first salary offer - with increasing demand for some skills (e.g., data science/data analytics), we have experienced starting negotiations higher than those expected.
  • If forced to specify salary expectations, state a) your upper range or b) "A salary that’s competitive with the current market for my skill set and experience" or c) "in keeping with the upper salary range listed on the job spec".
  • If possible, delay salary negotiation until you fully understand the position and its requirements.
  • Always focus on the value you bring to the role and the current market.
  • If you receive a poor offer - ask to discuss – e.g. “I’m really excited by the job offer with your Company and I know that I would bring a lot of value to the role. However, the offer falls short of my expectations – I was really looking for a Base of £80K as opposed to your offer of £70K. Other aspects of the offer are very much acceptable, and I wonder if it would be possible to discuss the overall offer..."
  • Remember that negotiation is a dialogue between two or more parties intended to reach a beneficial outcome - it can be a drawn-out process involving multiple players across an organisation e.g. Finance, HR, Technical/Operations Managers.
  • Always listen to the other party during negotiation - they may not be in a position to meet your expectations at the time but have plans for expansion and hope to be in a position to in the near future…you can then at least agree a timeline, potential back salary on success etc. Try and understand their current constraints and drivers and that way you may reach a winning compromise moving forward!
  • Before closing out negotiations, always check if there is any potential movement on the offer. It may be that they cannot increase the Base Salary (i.e. may upset salary scale of others) but they can offer other incentives such as bonus, commission, improved medical benefits, travel costs...
  • Be ready to walk away - if the offer is below your defined expectations, then be prepared to say "no thank you" and walk away. Always be polite and gracious - management/stakeholders can change and you never know they may contact you in the future!
Do the research - the better informed and prepared you are, the more successful you will be in negotiation.

  • Discuss the salary with the employer before they do – always ascertain from HR or the Recruiter involved, details of the potential package on offer - all elements
  • Fail to do your research on the industry sector, market trends, salary trends, Company, previous employees (check out social media for players and turnover of staff!)
  • Stretch the truth - your CV can be very easily verified these days!
  • Price yourself out of the job - know you value for the sector of interest
  • Feel pressurised to accept the position with little time to consider all aspects
  • Focus on Base Salary - consider the overall package
  • Become rigid/aggressive in negotiating the salary you want
  • Play off one company against another - never bodes well! You may find yourself in this situation but consider all aspects of the offers and above all be discreet/careful in how you handle the situation.
  • Focus on your personal needs -e.g., "you have to maintain 2 homes", "you have kids in private schools" etc. - these are your matters to address. Focus on your performance and achievements and the value you bring to the role and employer.
  • Counteroffer with an unrealistic percentage hike - in the main most employers will be open to a small percentage increase (e.g., circa 10%). However, if you counter offer with a 40-50% increase the chances are it will be a flat NO and no further talks will pursue. Better to walk away gracefully!
  • Accept a verbal offer - get it in writing before committing. It gives you time to review the overall contract and further negotiate. You can state that "in principle you are happy to proceed and would like to receive the formal offer".
  • "Burn your bridges" - Always leave negotiations in a friendly place - you never know you may wish to apply for another role with the Company or they may return to negotiate at a later time.
Remember the recruitment agency if involved, will assist you in the negotiation process - that is their role! Be patient, assertive and above all considerate to all those involved!

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