The Road to a Successful Interview

Preparation - The first step

  • Research the company before hand to find out as much as you can about the employer.
  • Practice for the interview by having a friend or family member pose possible interview questions to you and answer them the best that you can.
  • Prepare answers to possible interview questions and practice answering them in a mirror to assess your body language.
  • Know the name of the person who is going to interview you.
  • Write down a few questions to ask the interviewer.
  • Bring a copy of your resume, letters of reference, or certificates that are related as well as a blank piece of paper and a pen.
  • Arrive a few minutes early - map out your route in advance so you can relax and catch your breath.

During the Interview - The big hurdle

  • Greet the employer/interviewer cheerfully and politely with a handshake.
  • Don't sit until the interviewer sits or asks you to.
  • Show enthusiasm and interest - pay attention to what the interviewer is saying.
  • Do not smoke or chew gum.
  • Be calm, poised, and confident and always remember to smile!
  • Answer questions honestly and in a concise manner.
  • Dress neatly and appropriately.
  • Be prepared to talk about your skills and interests related to the requirement of the position.
  • Emphasize your attributes and your potential to the employer.
  • Think about the question before you answer - it is acceptable to pose and organize your thoughts before responding.
  • Eye contact and body language of the interviewer is important to assess to see whether he/she understands your response, whether they look like they want you to go on with your answer, or if he/she wants you to finish up.
  • Be prepared to discuss your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Speak clearly and distinctly - if you tend to get nervous, speak quickly, and be short of breath, breath deeply and speak slowly.
  • Ask suitable questions that haven't already been answered - keep it brief.
  • Thank the interviewer for his/her time.

After the Interview - The last stretch

  • Follow-up the interview with a telephone call, if the employer promised to contact you by a certain date and doesn't.
  • Send the employer a follow-up letter to state your appreciation for the interview.
  • If you are not hired by the employer, find out if a meeting could be arranged between you and the employer to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the interview.

Learning from the interview…

When it's over, take the time to review what happened.  Did you do well?  Are there ways that you could do better?  Use the following check list to rate yourself:

  • Was I well prepared - did I know about the company and the job.
  • I showed how my skills and experience fit the job.
  • I avoided talking too much or too little.
  • I was relaxed and confident.
  • I arrived on time.
  • I dressed appropriately.
  • I made eye contact with the employer.
  • My posture was erect and my hands were still on my lap.
  • I passed on my letters of recommendation.
  • I was enthusiastic.
  • I shook hands at the beginning and at the end of the interview.
  • I arranged to call back in a few days.

If you are a successful candidate…

Here are some tips for you on the first day of the job:

  • Arrive at work on time.
  • Dress appropriately (depending on the job).
  • Do not smoke in the work place without making sure that smoking is allowed first.
  • Find out when and where to take lunch breaks - don't over stay.
  • Ask questions and be sure that you understand what is expected from you.
  • Find out who is your supervisor.
  • Find out who you should call in the event that you cannot come to work.
  • Remember to bring your social insurance number to your employer.  They cannot pay you unless they have that number.
  • Find out what your work hours will be and ask about sick time policies.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Find out where to keep your lunch and personal things.

If you are an unsuccessful candidate…

Don't be discouraged if you don't get the job.  It does not mean that you failed.  

Being the right person at the right time takes practice, preparation and plain old luck. 

Look on it as a chance to learn.  Go over your check list to see what went well during the interview and what areas you need to improve on. 

Remember that every interview is a learning experience and practice makes perfect.

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