Job Interview Preparation

What is a Job Interview?

It is your chance to learn more about the position and the company while showcasing your skills and experience.

You will make the argument that you would be a good fit in this job at this place at this time.

It should be a ‘two-way street’: a true conversation where the employer interviews you and you interview the employer. The employer wants to confirm that you meet the job requirements and you are a good fit for the company. You want to prove you are the ideal candidate for the job, and convince the employer that you will be an excellent addition to the team. You also want to make sure the job is a good fit for you, that you will be satisfied and successful if you get it.
Therefore, both parties should be willing to listen actively, speak thoughtfully, and have the feeling that they have truly communicated with each other and learned something in the process.

There are different kinds of interviews, each with a specific goal. Make sure you know what kind of interview you are invited to, and prepare accordingly.

  • Screening interview: to confirm your resume is accurate – done in person, on the phone or via video-chat.

  • Selection interview: to determine you are a good fit for the job – usually led by the hiring manager, and maybe other staff.

  • Group interview: to discover who takes which role in a team (leader-follower, team player, etc.) – with several other candidates at the same time.

  • Panel interview: to learn more about the candidate – several people interview the candidate at once.

  • Behavioral interview: to demonstrate you have the knowledge, skills and abilities to do the job – be prepared to give examples of how you have used these skills and what the result was.

What do you do...

Before the Interview - Preparation in key!

  • Contact us if you need help to prepare for a job interview.

  • Analyze the job description and re-read your resume and cover letter.

  • Research potential interview questions and practice potential answers (don’t memorize).

  • Prepare specific examples to illustrate your answers using the STAR method: Situation – Task – Action – Result.

  • Research the company, learn about the people you will be meeting, where the interview will take place, how long it will be, and what the dress code is.

  • Prepare questions you will ask at the end of the interview.

The day of the Interview – This is your moment!

  • Arrive at least 15 minutes early.

  • Make a good first impression: be confident (but not arrogant!), smile, show respect, authenticity and positivity.

  • Listen carefully to the questions, think before you give an answer, avoid ‘ums’ and ‘uhs’, maintain eye contact with all the panel members.

  • Speak clearly, calmly and cohesively.

  • At the end of the interview, ask a few questions you have prepared.

  • If possible, get the business cards from the people you met.

After the Interview

Follow up with a personalized thank you note in which you make reference to things that were discussed, and you reiterate your ability to take on the challenge.
Send any follow-up materials/portfolio you offered to send along.

Contact us and let us know how you did on the interview!

Types of Questions

Predictable questions:

  • Tell me about yourself: This is your elevator pitch and it gives the potential employer the opportunity to learn more about you and determine if you are a good fit for the company.

  • Give some details about your path to now: focus on what you currently do – focus on what you have done (2-3 achievements) – explain what you want to do next – close with a solid reason why you would be a good fit.

  • Why are you interested in the job?

  • Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

  • Why should we hire you?

  • Do you have any questions for us?

Behavioral-based questions:

Tell a story while being concise! These questions give the recruiter an opportunity to understand your work style, how you work with team members and customers, and if you would fit in the company’s culture.

Be prepared to talk about what you do well… and what you don’t do that well…

- Example: tell me a time when you had to juggle with different priorities.

How to answer? Identify the skill(s) sought by this question (communication, time management, customer service, etc.) – Use the STAR method to answer.

Unlawful questions:

Some questions are illegal to ask (example: protected categories), but some seem legal but their intent is not: do not open the door to personal questions!
If you have doubt, clarify what the interviewer wants to know and stay on message: think of what will serve you best.

Questions you may want to ask:

When asking questions, you want to make sure that the interviewer has no reservation about you as a candidate, you want to demonstrate your interest in this employer, and you want to find out if the employer is a right fit for you.

Prepare 5 or more questions knowing you will only ask 3 or 4 of them (you will get a lot of answers during the interview):

  • What skills/experience make the ideal candidate for this position?
  • What can you tell me about the team I will be working with?
  • How do you define success in this role and in this company?
  • What do you enjoy most about working here?
  • What are the next steps and the timeline in this process? (ALWAYS ask this question)

Additional Resources

Contact us if you need assistance.
How to Prepare for an Interview in 2021
Interviews (Careerwise)
The Job Interview (The Balance Careers)
NEworks
Interviewing (Indeed)
Interview (OC Career Cafe)
How to Prepare for Your Virtual Interview at PwC (YouTube)
How To Ace Your Job Interview (video from Forbes)