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Interviews

Like all skills, it takes preparation and practice to ensure a smooth and effective interview that gets you the job you want.  The interview process is about finding the best candidate, so remember that there is a reason behind each question - keep your responses relevant to both the position and the needs of the employer.

Tips for a Successful Interview

Before

  • Research the company, position and, if possible, your interviewers – take notes
  • During your research, prepare a few targeted questions to ask the interviewer(s) at the end of your interview.  This shows your keen interest in the position and makes the employer realize your commitment to the company and your work ethic
  • Develop a list of interview questions specific to the position that you might be asked, then take some time to write your responses develop responses. Be sure to include both technical and behavioural questions (search “behavioural interview questions online)
  • Practice!! Ask a friend or advisor to do a mock interview with you and accept their feedback.  Videotaping yourself is also a great way to critique your own interview – but be kind to yourself
  • Bring an extra copy of your resume to the interview
  • Bring a reference list with up-to-date contact information.  Always contact your references before or directly after the interview to alert them and confirm their availability
  • Dress to impress - it is better to be overdressed than underdressed. If possible, try to leave extra baggage (unnecessary coats, bags, purses) at home or in the car
  • Arrive 5-10 minutes early
  • Always be respectful and friendly to front desk staff - first impressions are critical

During

  • Smile!  Even if you are nervous, a smile will create a warmer environment for your interview.
  • Make eye contact with all interviewers and try to remember their names; write down their names and titles or ask for business cards
  • If you want to take notes, it is considerate to ask the interviewers first
  • Think about why they are asking each question before you respond.  It is perfectly appropriate to ask for a moment to think an answer through clearly before beginning your response
  • Ensure your answers are as relevant as possible to the position and your researched needs on the company
  • Be specific and concise in your examples and focus on actions and results:  sue the STAR approach
  • Maintain confident posture and avoid fidgeting
  • Demonstrate you are confident in your abilities but humble - show you value others, are open to feedback, and interested in personal growth and development
  • Demonstrate your curiosity and willingness to learn by accepting ideas and proactively answering questions

Closing

  • Have 2-4 questions prepared that demonstrate your research, curiosity and enthusiasm for the position.  These should not be questions you could find answers to on their website
  • Shake each interviewer's hand and use their names when you say goodbye
  • Send a thank you note/email within 24 hours
  • If you haven't already, connect with your references to update them on the interview and the position.  This will help them to be prepared and provide a stronger reference if they are contacted by the employer

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