Preparation is one of the most important aspects of an interview.
When you have prepared well you will feel more confident and that will inspire confidence in potential employers.
Do your research
Carefully review the job description and title. Make sure you understand and can describe the position.
Research the company and review the company website to familiarize yourself with the company history, products or services they offer and their core values.
Prepare a “sizzle sheet” with reasons why the client should hire you. Show your value through real results. If you are a sales person, give examples of your biggest deals. Demonstrate how you can add value to the company by explaining your biggest successes. For example: between 2005-2009 I grew this market from $1 million in sales to $3 million in sales.
If you are applying for an executive position, be prepared to provide a 30, 60 and 90 Day plan. Paint a picture to the hiring manager of what you plan to do during your first three months of employment. For example: First 30 days, complete training courses and begin introducing myself to customers. First 60 days, complete customer introductions and begin marketing campaign. First 90 days, complete first sale and have pipeline developed for closing more business.
Alternatively, have a few ideas on what your priorities for the new job will be.
Show your interest
Prepare a list of intelligent questions about the company. For example: If you are coming from another country, people may be skeptical that you are going to stay around for the long term. Ask questions about long term opportunities with the company.
It can be tricky to determine what your salary expectations should be when moving to a new country. Some employment websites have salary trackers so you can get an idea of the type of salary you can expect in your particular field. Professional and trade organisations may also have information on their websites. If you are applying for a job through an employment or recruitment agency, discuss the salary with a consultant before the interview.
If asked in an interview about salary expectations, let them know what you were earning before and simply say, “I’m prepared to consider your strongest offer.”
Go on as many interviews as possible. Practice makes perfect and there is no better practice than the real thing. Even if you are not 100% interested in the job, go to the interview and fine-tune your body language and hone your answers. Obviously, treat every interview like you want the job and don’t give the impression you are not serious about the job. If it all works out you will have a few job offers to compare and consider and this puts you in a much stronger bargaining position should you want to negotiate on salary or holidays.
Last minute details
Before the interview, ensure you have the contact name and title of the interviewer. Check and double check the time of interview and address of company.
If you are not early, you are late! Allow for parking. BUT… do not arrive more than 10 minutes early. If you are too early, this creates stress for the interviewer.
Your dress code should be formal and professional. Wear a business suit, minimum jewelry, no perfume or cologne (due to allergies) and light make-up only. Don’t smoke that day or chew gum.
Make sure you turn off your cell phone.
You never get a second chance to make a good first impression so even before you speak, make sure you send out the right signals.
Smile! A nice friendly smile puts people at ease.
Give a firm handshake and look the interviewer in the eye.
If you are not offered a business card, ask for one. You can then send the interviewer a short thank you note via e-mail later the same day).
During the interview
Eye contact is one of the most important aspects of nonverbal communication and can make a significant difference in how you present yourself. If you look away for too long when speaking to someone, you may be viewed as lacking confidence or interest. When answering questions remember to maintain regular eye contact to the interviewer.
Concentrate on the interview and don’t let your mind wander. Try to use the person’s first name as much as you can. People love to hear the sound of their own name and it shows you have strong people skills.
Do not talk too much! It’s a common mistake that interview candidates make. It is important to listen to the question asked and then answer the question without rambling. When you limit your time and the number of points you want to get across, you tend to stay more focused.
Do not forget to listen. Listening is one of the most underused interview skills. Most candidates are so nervous about answering interview questions correctly that they forget to listen. Show you are listening and interested through eye contact. Listen with nonverbal expressions, wait until the speaker is finished and do not interrupt.
A strong finish
Don’t ask about money or holidays
in the first interview, unless the hiring manager brings it up.
Ask a couple of specific questions to show you are knowlegeable about the company and truly interested in working there. To ensure that have covered all the areas you need to cover, you can also ask questions along the lines of:
Are there any concerns you have about me performing in this role?
Based on our meeting so far, what would you suggest the next step in the process is?
Play the game
Applying for a job is a bit like going on a date and there are lots of unspoken rules to the game. You want to present your best self, but you don’t want to overdo it. Don’t lie or overstate your experience or qualifications, it could cause problems later on.
Do no criticize previous employers, have a good reason for gaps in your resume, if you don’t have quite the right experience talk about your willingness to learn and undergo further training.
Work out a few tactful answers to sensitive questions. If the interviewer asks why you want the job, don’t say “because the money is great” or you “need a job to pay the bills.” Have two or three good reasons as to why you are interested in the company and why your skills are a good match for them. You need to convince potential employers that you really want the job and are ready and able to become a hard-working employee
Be enthusiastic and positive! Sell Yourself! Ask for the job!
Help with job hunting
If you have been for several interviews and have had no job offers, it may be worth seeking outside help. It often takes immigrants more time to find a job that matches their skills than a Canadian-born candidate. Help and advice from a specialist immigrant support agency that can help with resume writing, interview technique, body language and Canadian interview etiquette may speed up the process of getting a job.