How to Successfully Interview for a Quantity Surveyor Position

By Calco Services

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Picture yourself meeting with a prospective employer for the first time.

CV in hand, the interviewer waits for you at his desk. Upon first glance, all you can see are the scribbles of pen in the margins that seem to stare back at you, beside circled words and underlined phrases.

Now imagine stepping out of that job interview and feeling as if you had just spoken with a seasoned colleague. The conversation flowed easily from topic to topic, follow up questions led to fruitful discussion about the industry and company, and the interviewer seemed impressed with you by the end of it all.

Do you feel relieved?

At Calco Sevices, we’ve been helping construction professionals grow their careers with some of the most desirable employers in the industry for over two decades. Throughout the years, we have learned quite a bit from our clients in regard to the abilities and qualities that they look for during interviews when deciding to hire new members to join their teams.

If you are new to the field, a Quantity Surveyor is a construction professional who focuses on the financial aspects of a building or civil engineering project. A typical day in the life of this individual may include analysing the cost of a project’s repairs and maintenance, advising on a procurement strategy, and identifying commercial risks. Quantity surveyors are top-notch problem solvers, skilled team builders, and methodical thinkers.

Below, we’ve put together 4 key points for you to help prepare for success in your next interview for a quantity surveyor position.


1. Research the company and their past projects.

When a developer or organisation decides to move forward with a building or civil engineering project, there are many factors that contribute to that decision, including such things as the location, revenue potential, and social impact on the community. The more you can learn about the company’s work, the better positioned you will be in the interview to relate to the interviewer on a peer level.

By demonstrating your knowledge and interest in past building projects the employer has worked on and being able to discuss the cost analysis of those projects will show that you are not only aware of the company’s history, but also can offer them insight into you as a job candidate by demonstrating your value at the outset.  

These discussions help turn the traditional Q&A style of interviews into meaningful exchanges of thought, which in turn allows you to show the employer that you think methodically and practically which are both desirable traits that employers look for.

What’s more, is that this information can be often be discovered easily via Google Search and on the employer’s website. You can also conveniently keep up to date with the prospective employer’s work by creating a Google Alert for their website or company name. Doing this will allow you to see new projects as soon as they are announced, new posts that may be published from their website or blog, and any news articles that are written about the company in the time leading up to your interview.

 

2. Keep your responses clear and concise.

Although this is often easier said than done, the ability to communicate information in a clear, concise manner is essential when writing reports. When preparing for the interview, take a look at the job description and write down how you fulfill that requirement. Can you fit your response into one or two sentences? Practicing this beforehand will help you narrow down the most impressive key points and also provide you with short takeaways that you can anchor your responses to if you begin to ramble or lose your train of thought when addressing that topic during the interview.  

 

3. Break down your thought process.

Two of the attributes that employers look for when interviewing quantity surveyors is a methodical way of thinking and the ability to remain objective. Because employers are looking for these strengths, you can expect for the interviewer to ask questions that are based on a hypothetical—or actual—project. When giving your response, explain the step-by-step process that you took to arrive at that response.

Here are some questions that will help you prepare your response:

  • Which factors did you consider?
  • Would you need additional information about the project?
  • What types of procedures will you use?
  • Would health and safety standards influence your decision making process?
  • Who would you consult (if anyone) in order to gather all the information and perspectives needed to provide an accurate response?
  • Would you conduct independent research? If so, how would you go about it?

The answers to these questions will give the interviewer valuable insight into how you think, and most importantly, allow them to understand how you would approach the situation as an employee at their company. Taking this step can be the difference between getting hired and being passed over.

 

4. Show the interviewer that you're a team player.

As a quantity surveyor, you will be communicating with project managers, clients, and subcontractors who may each hold different timelines, priorities, and perspectives when working on the same project. Due to the range of people that you will encounter in your quantity surveying career, the interviewer will want to learn about how you work with multidisciplinary teams.

From the employer’s perspective, a lack of teamwork could very well result in delays, unexpected costs, and ultimately jeopardize the project’s success. In the interview, you’ll want to make it clear to the employer that hiring you will give them peace of mind that you can effectively work with all parties involved in the project.

Some qualities that showcase this ability include:

  • Respect of other people’s time, priorities, and perspectives
  • Experience working with members of other companies, departments, and types of clients
  • Interest and knowledge in a variety of construction tools and technology


At Calco, we’re passionate about being the best in what we do and hope that the information here will help you achieve that for your career as well. If you’d like to speak with one of our recruiters about making the next move in your quantity surveying career or are just curious to learn about the options out there for someone with your background and experience in the current market, do reach out to us. We’d be happy to help.

 

For over 25 years, Calco Services has placed driven construction professionals in a wide range of roles throughout England.

If you’re looking to make your next career move, or simply would like to discuss your options with a recruiter who can provide you with advice and insight into the current market, then call or email us. We’d be happy to help you in your journey.

020 8655 1600  

www.calco.co.uk

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