Thursday, February 13, 2014

Interview Preparation

Interviews are scary for most people but the key to interview success is being well-prepared. Practice tools such as Interview Stream are great because they allow you to see over 3,000 sample interview questions, record yourself answering the questions, and the watch yourself to see how you did! You can also email your recorded video to us at for constructive feedback. For log-in help and additional resources, check out the Interview section of our Online Resource Centre (through CareerZone). We also have an extensive Interview Techniques binder in the Resource Centre which has information on preparing for the interview, what to expect during the interview, how to make a great first impression, and what should always be done after the interview! Here are a few more general tips for preparing for an interview:

  • Know yourself: You increase your confidence when you know what you can contribute to the organization and what you want from the job   
  • Identify your assets and qualities by making a list of your…
    • Skills and Competencies 
    • Knowledge 
    • Values and Needs 
    • Beliefs 
    • Interests 
    • Personal Characteristics 
    • Hint: personality and career assessments, such as Career Cruising and Type Focus, can help! Access them for free through CareerZone 
  • Know the organization and the job. Some suggestions for getting to know the company are as follows:
    • Study the organization’s website
    • Have an idea of how the company operates and how it views its employees
    • Check out recent annual reports and news releases
    • Become familiar with the vision and goals of the company so that you can make valuable connections to it during the interview
    • Review the job posting or find a description of the position on the company website
    • Talk to someone you know in a similar position/field
  •  Know your accomplishments: Interviewers want to know about your track record for achieving results – they often use your past performance to predict your future success. Keep this in mind during your interview and take opportunities to demonstrate your accomplishments.
    • Creating a career portfolio can be a creative and efficient way of demonstrating your accomplishments and experiences to potential employers 
    • Hint: Career Services offers portfolio review sessions on a walk-in basis and also has various portfolio samples to browse through
 Practice makes perfect so remember...
    • The interviewer wants to know how your skills, knowledge and experience match the needs of the position and also how well you communicate. Practicing what you're going to say and how you’re going to say it will help you communicate clearly and confidently.
    • It's best not to memorize questions and answers. Instead, develop key points that you want the interviewer to know about you, based on your preparation. You can practice using these key points to respond to a variety of questions.
    • It's also important for you to ask relevant questions during the interview. Make a list of three things you want to know about the position or the organization. Make sure you wouldn't be expected to know the answers to these questions from your research. It’s a good idea NOT to ask questions about salary, vacation or other benefits until after you receive a job offer. Our Resource Centre has various print resources that can help you come up with some great questions to ask!
 Here are some additional pointers:

  • Get ready: Make sure your interview attire is neat, tidy and appropriate for the type of position and employer you are interviewing with. Bring a nice portfolio with copies of your resume. Include a pen and paper for note taking.
  • Be on time: On time means five to ten minutes early. If need be, take some time to drive to the interview location ahead of time so you know exactly where you are going and how long it will take to get there.
  • Stay calm: During the job interview try to relax and stay as calm as possible. Take a moment to regroup. Listen to the entire question before you answer and pay attention - you will be embarrassed if you forget the question!
  • Show what you know: Try to relate what you know about the company when answering questions.  When discussing your career accomplishments, match them to what the company is looking for.
  • *The follow-up: After the interview, be sure to follow-up with a thank you note that emphasizes two or three reasons why you’re the ideal candidate for the position.
  • In the event that you are not chosen for the position, don’t be afraid to contact the interviewer to ask for some feedback on how you can improve your interview skills for next time!
 Best of luck!

Jami Coughler, Senior Career Assistant
4th Year Public Health [Honours]; BA: Sociology [Honours] '11

No comments:

Post a Comment