Chapter 7: Interviews

7.4 Before the Interview

For those of you who are bravely saying to yourself, “I’m just going to wing it!” our advice to you would be to do the opposite. Though it may be exhilarating to take this approach, it will not be the approach that gives you the upper hand in getting the job. Preparation is essential in being successful in the interview process. Your research will show the interview committee your initiative, interest, motivation, and resourcefulness. Before your interview, take a look at the following five suggestions to properly prepare.

Confirm all the details:

  • Verify the details of your interview, ensuring that you have recorded the correct date and time.
  • Map out the location and address of the interview in advance to ensure that you will arrive on time.
  • Record the names (with correct punctuation) and the titles of the people you will be meeting with and research them beforehand, when possible.
  • Ask about the amount of time being allocated for the interview.
  • Inquire about whether there will be employment tests and the duration of these tests.

Review the job description and understand the job requirements:

  • Understand the job requirements and be able to demonstrate how your skills and experiences match these requirements.
  • Review the Accomplishment Statements on your resumé and prepare additional examples of your achievements from previous work, volunteer, or academic studies that relate to the job requirements.

Research the position and the company:

  • Use the company’s website to learn about and understand their mandate, mission, vision, values, products, services, and market and be able to relate this to why you want to work with them.
  • Use news sources and social media (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn) to research the recent organizational activity, view discussions, and updates from the company.
  • Familiarize yourself with the facts: How long have they been in operation? Who are their clientele? What are their products? Are they a local or international organization?
  • See if you know anyone who works at the company, or ask people in your network if they know about the organization.

Review sample questions, prepare answers, and rehearse:

  • Plan and practice your answers as well as your delivery in advance and it will increase your confidence, allow you to articulate more clearly, and will make you overall more comfortable during the interview process.

Build your confidence and reduce your anxiety:

  • Before your interview, practise visualizing yourself performing well, imagine that the interviewers are impressed by your professionalism and your ability to answer the questions with a sense of ease and competency.
  • Sit up straight, put your feet flat on the floor, breathe deeply, and exhale through your mouth to slow your heart rate down, this will allow you to focus more clearly on your answers while reducing your nervousness.
  • Use positive self-talk, believe in your own awesomeness by repeating to yourself things like, “I’m prepared,” “I’m the best candidate for this job,” and “I can do this.”

Don’t Forget to Bring!

  • Interview details including the address, phone number, and interviewer names.
  • The original job posting to review while you’re waiting.
  • Additional copies of your resumé and cover letter.
  • A pen and paper for taking notes.
  • Your portfolio and samples of your work, when applicable.
  • A list of prepared questions to ask at the end of your interview.
  • Your references, neatly typed on a single sheet of paper.
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BMO Centre – London, Ontario 


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