How to be the STAR of Your Next Caterpillar Interview

July 14, 2021

For over 24 years, Tamara Holman has been interviewing candidates hoping to join Team Caterpillar in various functions. She’s seen the good, the bad and the ugly and she’s ready to answer some commonly asked questions to help you nail your Caterpillar interview.

How do I prepare?

Besides making sure you’ve read and understand the job description, consider bringing relevant samples that showcase why your skills are right for the job. Interviewing for a communications or marketing job? Bring samples of your writing or campaigns you’ve worked on. In production or manufacturing roles, consider bringing certifications to display that you’re qualified to do the work.

Brainstorm some examples of experiences that you’ve had and tailor them to the job you’re applying to. Tamara stresses the importance of having a few different examples to pull from to avoid over-describing one example. We know you’ve done more than one project- now’s your time to humble brag about why you’re the best fit for the role. Tamara says, “It can feel strange to brag about yourself, but this is the one occasion where it’s completely appropriate. Come in confident and ready to show why you’re the best person for the job.”

Tamara Holman
Tamara Holman

What kinds of questions will I be asked?

Though you won’t know the questions you’ll be asked ahead of time, you can practice the style of interviewing that Caterpillar follows: STAR. You should practice structuring your responses by describing the Situation at hand, the Task you needed to accomplish, the Actions you took to impact the situation and then clearly articulate the Results of your actions. Remember: those interviewing you want to know your role and your impact, not the collective work or impact. Learn more about STAR interviewing here.

Tamara’s biggest tip is to be specific and concise. Being long-winded doesn’t mean you’re giving the interview panel the information they need to understand how your experience adds value to the team. Tamara suggests bringing a “cheat sheet” to the interview with you to help jog your memory during the interview so you are sure to hit all the important parts of your experience and recall the many experiences you have to prevent the nerves from getting the best of you. Nerves are normal but being prepared ahead of time can help you stay calm and collected when it’s time to shine.

What questions are okay to ask?

Tamara highly recommends that candidates always ask questions. She says, “Just as much as we are interviewing you, you are also interviewing us.” Ask about the company culture, team you’d be working with, and even the challenges of the job you’re applying for.

The job is important, but the supervisor you’d be working for might be what makes or breaks your experience. Tamara recommends asking questions to understand your potential supervisor’s leadership style, experience, team dynamic, etc.

It’s also okay to ask when a decision will be made about the job before the interview ends. This will give you an idea of when you’ll hear back.

While Tamara doesn’t recommend asking what the role’s salary would be, she said it is okay to ask what the salary range. However, Tamara cautions that these questions should be saved for a follow up interview.

Should I plan on sending a follow up email after the interview?

Definitely! Tamara says that sending a thank you email within the week serves as a follow up and an opportunity for you to highlight something that you learned in your interview that stuck out for you. It also helps the recruiter remember you as they move forward in the interviewing process.

Regardless of the role you’re applying for, one thing is always certain: your work will matter. Use this guide to help you join the team that builds a better world. Find your fit today.

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