Interview Strategies: How to Prepare for an Interview
You have made your move to Canada. You have gotten settled, perfected your resume and are applying to jobs. You even get an interview! What next? Preparation is key and there are many ways to prepare for your interview. Here are a few to consider:
The first thing you should always do is set up your voicemail. You never know when you may get a call about an interview and if you might miss it or not. Second, when you do get a call or email to invite you to an interview, you are allowed to ask questions. Information such as the location of the company, whether there will be a practical portion of the interview, the names and titles of your interviewers are all acceptable questions to ask. These will then help you prepare for your interview. Do be aware that you will not always have time to ask all your questions. It is a good idea to keep a short list of 2-3 of the most important questions with you to be well prepared for a call.
Once an interview is scheduled there are many things you can do to prepare. One of the most important ways to do this would be to research the company. Be prepared to answer questions like “What do you know about the Company” and “Why do you want to work here” etc. Try to see what current projects the company or organization is working on, what kind of workplace culture they value etc. You can look on their website as well as their social media pages. You can really show your passion and interest here! Make sure to always save the job description after applying and review as well before an interview. Ideally, you will want to save the description of every job you apply to. You never know when you might need it!
Another way to help yourself in an interview is by predicting questions. As you go through the company’s website and the job description, think about what kind of questions they may ask you. What kind of technical knowledge are they looking for? If they want people who know how to problem-solve or have excellent interpersonal skills, then they will likely ask behavioural and situational questions about these topics. As you think about these questions jot down some potential answer or bullet point notes. Think about your hard and soft skills as well as any achievements, special recognition, projects you worked on, and problems you have solved. Even if the questions are different than the ones you thought of, you will still have some examples to draw on that are relevant for many other questions.
Make sure to bring your references with you, just in case. They may ask for them at the end of an interview. Always inform your references when you are job searching, and provide them with relevant information such as a job description when possible. This will help them give the best possible reference they can.
Make sure to dress professionally. You want to research the norms of your field. Wear clean, professional (either business casual or business formal, depending on the field) clothing with no holes or tears. Ensure that you are not wearing any scents including perfume or cologne. Getting there on time is important so one thing you can do is a practice run before your interview. Drive or bus down there to see the route and how long it can take to get there. Make sure to do this at the same time as your interview if at all possible.
You want to showcase your soft skills in interviews as well! A great way to show these skills is to present them in the interview itself. Always make eye contact, give a good handshake, talk at an appropriate pace (remember Canadians often speak relatively slow) and to communicate clearly and confidently. If you are ever unsure of a question or need time to think about a question, that’s fine! Just let the interviewer know.
Interviewing can be a challenge, but it’s important to remain positive. You never know where an interview can lead!
Prepared by: Kristy-Lu Desrosiers, JSS Facilitator, Ontario
Kristy-Lu is with the Catholic Centre for Immigrants where she runs one of the Job Search Strategies courses. With a background in employment counselling and social work, she knows just tough hard it can be to find a job. She is passionate about ensuring clients are prepared and have the resources they need to succeed.