5 best strategies to ace that interview

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For most of us, a job interview is something we both want and dread at the same time. It is a step closer to the job we so desire, which is why we feel the pressure to do well. For newcomers, language concerns and unfamiliarity with the way interviews are conducted are additional concerns. The only way to overcome these fears is to prepare and plan ahead.

The following is a 5-point guide on the things you should do before, during and after your job interview:

  1. Prepare

    Read online guides and watch videos that describe how job interviews are done and how you can do well. You can read the Government of Canada Services for Youth’s Preparing for a Job Interview or Service Canada’s Ace the Interview for starters.

    Learn as much as you can about the company and the position. You can find information online (the organization’s website or through internet searches), from newspapers, newsletters and trade journals or from former employees.

    Practice answering usual questions such as “Tell me about yourself” or “Why should we hire you?” You should also be ready to answer questions about your job history and experience. Most interviewers will ask behavioural or competency-based questions so you should remember concrete situations in your work life. Read The most common job interview questions you should prepare for to help you practise.

    Print a copy of your resume, cover letter, and reference list a day before the interview. Bring relevant samples of your work, a notebook, and pen.

  2. Plan ahead

    Check the address and the amount of time it will take you to get to the interview venue. If appropriate, call the company a day before to confirm that you are coming for the interview. Prepare your clothes ahead of time. Dress professionally and make sure that you are prepared for the weather. It would be wise to bring your formal shoes and change at the venue’s restroom if you are wearing snow boots in winter; or pack a spare dress shirt if it will be a hot and humid day and you have to commute to get to the interview.

  3. Come on time

    Come at least 15-30 minutes early to have time to compose yourself. When you get there, politely greet everyone you meet to make a good impression. When it’s time for the interview, turn off your cellphone. Stand, greet the interviewer and offer a firm handshake. Remember to smile and make eye contact.

  4. Listen and respond honestly

    During the interview, pay attention to what the interviewer is saying. Mind your body language. 8 Non-Verbal Ways to Nail an Interview from Monster.ca tells you what kind of body language and behavior will create a favorable impression.
    Provide focused, short and concise answers. Follow the STAR Method (Situation, Task, Action and Result) for answering questions (see video above). When it is your turn to ask questions, make it count. Show the interviewer that you are well-versed about the industry, company and the job. Watch this video from Seattle Pacific University to learn what type of questions you should ask.

  5. Thank the interviewer

    E-mail a “Thank You” note within 24 hours after the interview. This will make you memorable. The e-mail should convey your appreciation for the interviewer’s time and reiterate how enthusiastic you are about the opportunity. The article 7 tips for writing great emails may help you.

Keep in mind that you already have what it takes to do the job, that’s why they called you for the interview. Coupled with your preparation, you will have an inner confidence that will make you shine and stand out from the rest.

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Community Resources

Access the Interview Skills page of CareerManitoba.ca. for a list of most common interview questions and interview tips.

Watch 5 TED Talks to Watch before your Next Interview.

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