We are delighted to welcome back Maria, who is sharing her journey as she applies for IStructE Chartership using the Retrospectively Collated Route.
We encourage readers to share their experience going through their Initial Professional Development and application process for IStructE Chartership. If you have a story that you’d like to share about your Chartership experience, tell us about it in the comments or in our forum.
Me again, this time talking about the Professional Review Interview. I feel justified in sharing on this subject now having received a successful result – yay!
What I did to prepare
I reviewed my Core Objective reports and highlighted any points of interest I thought my interviewers might pick up on. I did a little extra research on these points. For example, I had mentioned about cold weather concreting so I read up on the recommendations. I also got familiar with my portfolio and added tabs to each of the objective sections and to each of the projects within those sections. This helped me to jump to a piece of evidence I wanted to reference while in the interview.
I did Google my interviewers’ names and view their LinkedIn profiles however this didn’t tell me much more than that they had a lot of experience in wide-ranging projects! I decided it is better be confident in what you know; your experience is what they’re interested in. On the day that proved true – all their questions were about the projects I had presented in my portfolio. They did share some anecdotes from their experience and seemed more interested in my opinion of how that related to my experience.
The format of the review was the standard one, as described on IStructE's Professional Review Interview page:
The Professional Review Intervew (PRI) is designed to test your ability to ensure that you have satisfied all 12/13 core objectives within your Initial Professional Development. The length of the interview will vary according to the routes you have taken and the length of time it takes for the reviewers to determine whether you have reached the required standard in each objective. The reviewers will ask you to make a presentation of no more than 15 minutes (no electronic aids will be allowed) with the interview lasting approximately 60 minutes.
The IStructE suggests a 10-15 minute presentation to open your interview. Although this is technically optional, it is a great opportunity to demonstrate communication skills and tell your interviewers some interesting points on your project experience. With this, I found practice was key. My parents timed a run through, and it was good to have people to present to who knew very little about the projects. I had my portfolio out on display for the presentation and turned to the relevant project introduction page as I talked about each project. These had images of the project to help with my explanation.
Example project introduction images
I also had a practice interview with a Director and Associate from my company. They took an hour to ask me various questions across all the objectives. I found doing a mock interview was actually harder than the real interview because they already knew the projects and so asked more detailed and technical project specific questions, whereas on the day I was the one who knew the most about the projects in the room!
On the day
My interview was in the evening at 5.45pm. I had to travel by train to the venue and I got there nearly 30 minutes early which allowed me to relax a little. The interviewers let me get settled (seated at a table opposite the two of them with a portfolio out in front of each of us) and asked if I wanted to present briefly my experience.
It pretty much followed what my experience report said, and they asked the odd question as I talked. It was quite informal and relaxed (even though I was shaking a little with nerves!). They then worked through each Core Objective methodically, directly referencing my reports. Though some questions were a little tricky, they are not trying to catch you out and did rephrase or elaborate if I needed it.
It ended up being a friendly hour and a half long chat which left me feeling exhausted but happy. They even asked me if I had any questions for them and gave me some tips for the exam, which was much appreciated!