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Interviewing

In an interview, employers want to see if you are a good fit for the position and company. Show that you are capable of doing the job and motivated to succeed by doing your research and preparing ahead. Practice makes perfect!

Preparing for the Interview

Research the Company and Job: Review the company website, pick apart the job posting, talk to past/current employees, and use the website Glassdoor to develop a clear understanding of what the company needs, what they value as an organization and in their employees, and why you want to work there.

Thoroughly Assess Your Skills for the Job: Critically analyze how your skills and experience align with the job and company values.

Prepare for Common Types of Interview Questions: Don’t go into an interview cold. Become familiar with common interview questions and practice your responses ahead of time. Get some tips below.

Prepare Questions for the Interview: If given the opportunity, you should ALWAYS ask at least 2-3 questions in the interview. Prepare them ahead of time and NEVER ask about salary, benefits, or vacation during an interview.

Practice, Practice, Practice! Don't go into an interview cold. Practice your responses while gaining confidence in your skills.

Making a Good First Impression

Arrive 10-15 Minutes Early: Never be late!

Dress professionally: Choose professional business attire. A suit is usually a good choice. Ensure clothes fit appropriately and are clean, ironed, and buttoned-up, ensuring that outfits are not too revealing. Wash and groom your hair and nails prior to the interview and avoid wearing strong scents.

Bring Appropriate Documents: Come with copies of your resume and reference list. You may wish to bring a portfolio with a pad of paper and pen.

Attend to Your Non-Verbals: Start the meeting with a frim, warm handshake, smile, maintain good eye contact and posture, and avoid fidgeting.

Demonstrate Clear and Enthusiastic Verbal Communication: Speak clearly, confidently, and articulately. Try to slow down your speech while also exuding enthusiasm for the position using proper tone of voice.

Common Types of Interview Questions

  • Included a variety of time-tested, standard interview questions
  • Tend to focus on your skills, experience, passion for the job, career aspirations, and knowledge of the company/position

Analyze your skills, research the company and position, and practice!

  • It is almost inevitable that you are going to be asked to outline your skills and experience as they relate to the job during an interview. Create a skills chart based on the job description to get a clear picture of what you have to offer.
  • Look beyond the first page of the company's website. Dig deeper to get to know their vision and values and think about how your personal values and goals align.

Remember the PAWS Method:

  • Passion: Why are you personally motivated for the job?
  • Academics: What schooling and training have you received that relate to the job?
  • Work: What related work experience do you possess, including paid, volunteer, and extracurricular involvement?
  • Skills: What skills have you gained in your previous experience that will make you a good fit for the job?

Examples:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • What skills and experience do you have that relate to this position?
  • What do you know about our company and why do you want to work here?
  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  • Ask you to provide a specific example of a time when you faced some type of situation or challenge
  • The premise is that past behaviour is a good predictor of future behaviour

Prepare and Practice Scenarios Ahead of Time:

  • Prior to the interview, prepare 5-10 scenarios when you have solved a problem, achieved success, overcome difficult circumstances, or had a valuable learning experience.
  • Draw examples from work experiences, academic experiences/projects, volunteer positions, and extracurricular activities.

Recognize Common Behavioural Question Prompts:

  • “Tell me about a time when…”
  • “Recall an instance when…”
  • “Provide an example of…”
  • “Describe a situation in which…”

Use the STAR method:

  • Situation: Briefly describe the situation.
  • Task: Identify your role and goal.
  • Action: Outline the steps you took to solve the problem or accomplish the task.
  • Result: Acknowledge the outcome of your efforts and make the result measurable if possible.

Examples:

  • Tell me about a time when you encountered a problem and how you solved it.
  • Identify an instance when you exemplified strong leadership.
  • Discuss a situation in which you disagreed with a supervisor. How did you handle it?
  • Tell me about a time you failed.
  • Provide an example of a time when you had multiple deadlines to meet in one day. How did you prioritize your tasks?
  • Ask you to solve a hypothetical (but plausible) scenario that you may face on the job
  • Used to evaluate how you would preform in real-world, workplace situations
  • Your goal is to demonstrate your ability to think logically and work through the situation in an organized way

Use This 5 Step Process:

  • Identify Problems that Exist: Determine what details need to be considered when addressing the issue
  • Gather Information: Explain how you would gather information to analyze the situation
  • Find the Root Cause: Determine the root cause of any problems that exist
  • Formulate Action Steps: Explain what action steps you would take to approach the situation in a detailed and organized way
  • Provide an Example: When possible, use an example of a time when you effectively solved a similar problem

Examples:

  • A customer approaches you yelling because they are unhappy with a product they purchased last week. What do you do?
  • You have been working on a project for three weeks that is due by the end of day and notice that you made an error that will require you to start back at the beginning. What do you do?
  • Your supervisor has left for the day and you have completed all your tasks. What do you do to stay busy?
  • What would you do if a project fell behind schedule and it was your fault?
  • Allow you to prove your technical skills
  • Test your knowledge of subject matter specific to your discipline

Brush Up on Your Knowledge:

  • Review textbooks, articles, and other resources related to your field and the company's work prior to entering the interview.

Examples:

  • How are duplicates removed from a given array in JAVA?
  • What is the difference between actual and formal parameters?
  • Discuss attachment theory and how it applied to this role?
  • Assess your ability to problem solve
  • With some brainteasers, interviewers may not be looking for a correct response, but rather at the process you took to problem solve and reach your final answer

Don't Just Provide Your Answer - Explain How You Got To It

  • Try to work through the problem, explaining the steps you are taking to solve the problem out loud

Examples:

  • Why are manhole covers round?
  • How many lightbulbs are there in this building?
  • Assess your character and ability to think creatively on-the-spot

Don't Get Thrown Off

  • Unlike other types of questions, you it's hard to prepare for these
  • When faced with these types of questions, it's OK to smile or laugh - show some personality
  • But always come back to the question and respond professionally and personably

Connect Your Response to an Admirable Personal Trait

  • Try to show some type of personal characteristic or trait that would make you a good fit for the company

Examples:

  • If you were a piece of furniture, what would you be and why?
  • If you could meet any famous person, past or present, who would you meet and why?

Learn more about how we can help you prepare for your next interview.