Preparation for the Interview


Congratulations, you received a phone call for an interview! Now what?!

It’s time for research!

This may mean any or all of the following steps:

  • If you are replacing an employee who is retiring, particularly in a large corporation, contact that employee!
  • Alternatively, or in addition to the above, contact the company contact who placed the advertisement.

Check out the company’s website.

  • Research the company at the library through newspaper clippings or finding the Annual Report.
  • Try “googling” the company.
  • Ask around. By simply “nosing around” you may learn the inner secrets of the company and gain an edge when you’re in the interview room.

What is the Company’s Interview Style?

You might also want to find out as much as possible about the interview methods of the company or organization. Is it a one on one interview? Is a panel interviewing you? Are there other candidates in the room with you? You might also want to try and find out if it is a one on one interview who it is that is interviewing. Knowing their name and proper pronunciation of it is key. Know what position they hold within the company.

Anticipate the questions and prepare your answers. Although you don’t want your answers to sound too rehearsed, you should be prepared to smoothly answer typical questions. Depending upon your occupation, some questions that you may anticipate are:

  • What skills do you bring to this job?
  • What did you apply to this job?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What do you feel is your worst quality?

You may be asked to write an exam, or answer hypothetical questions. Prepare for this contingency by asking your contact at Human Resources or otherwise, if you should specifically anticipate this. If you are expected to do this, or you’re unsure, prepare yourself by reviewing your base knowledge in the appropriate areas. As well, focus on areas that you think would be of particular interest to the employer. For example, if you’re applying for a position as a crown prosecutor in a municipality, review your knowledge of basic criminal law and trial procedure.

You can also prepare for the interview by having friends pose appropriate questions for you. You may be self-conscious, but get over it! Practice until you feel at ease with the questions. This will be especially useful if you are interviewed by a panel, as most persons find they “freeze up” when confronted with more than one interviewer.

At the conclusion of the interview, your prospective employer will probably ask you if you have any questions. You may have questions that arose from the details of the interview. However, and in any event, prepare questions ahead of time!! Thoughtful questions show that you have a strong and genuine interest. Try to focus your questions in a manner which reflects positively on your skills, and on the employer. You may want to avoid questions that deal with specific salary issues, such as holiday pay or benefits, etc. as these are best dealt with by a human resource representative or in a second-stage interview.

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