Interview Dos and Don’ts
Build a good resume, be prepared for your interview, dress for success!
You need two types of information to prepare your resume:
- Completing a background and experience list will give you the self-information required to prepare your resume.
- If you’ve worked before, list your jobs. Next, write down the work duties for the jobs you’ve listed. Now, think about the skills or talents it took to do each work duty. Write them down.
- List your hobbies, clubs you belong to, sports you’ve been involved in, church and school activities, and things that interest you. Look at the first item on your list. Think about the skills or talents it takes to do that item. Write them all down.
- Look at the abilities (talents) identified on your background and experience list. You have talents that you use every day. Now, find out what JOBS can use your talents.
- Don’t limit yourself. The important thing is not the job title, but the skills and abilities of the job.
2. Job information:
- Gather specific information on the job you’re applying for. Here’s what you need:
- Job duties (to match your skills to the skills needed to do the job). Get your job duties from the job announcement. If the job announcement or ad is vague, call the employer and ask for a description of job duties.
- Education and experience required (again, so you can match your education and experience with that required for the job).
- Hours and shifts usually worked.
- Pay range (make their top offer the minimum acceptable!).
- Use 8.5 x 11 paper, 1-2 pages
- Choose ivory, white, cream, buff or light gray paper
- Use a personal computer and a word processor
- Keep margins 1 wide at sides and bottom
- Check for and correct any spelling, punctuation, typing or grammatical errors
- Highlight your skills as it pertains to the position that you are applying for
- If you have a copy of the job description, look for what the employer is looking for regarding skills and experience and highlight that on your resume
- Write short and to the point statements
- Use short phrases beginning with action words to demonstrate accomplishments and results
- Provide positive and honest information
- Use a simple, professional, easy to read style
- Have others proof read your material to make sure there are no errors
- Leave off personal information regarding marital status, age, sex
- Don’t list wages, company street address, references
- Provide examples of your qualifications
By Canadajobs.com Staff
You will be asked some tough questions at your next job interview and how you answer will determine if you get the job. Knowing why an interviewer asks a particular question is the first step to determining how to answer it.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Why they ask: They want to know what you bring to the table and how you can answer this tricky question.
Find a way to showcase your strengths by giving examples of what you’ve accomplished in the past. If they ask for strengths, as in the plural, make sure you list at least 2 or 3. Focus on work examples that made a positive impact on your past company. Your weaknesses should also have a positive spin. State how you overcame a weakness by showing you were aware of it and illustrate that now, because you’ve made some conscious changes to improve your skill, it’s actually strength for you.
Do you prefer to work by yourself or as part of a team?
Why they ask: They want to know if you can work unsupervised and if you get along well with others.
Find a way to show that you can do both successfully. Give examples to illustrate how you shine working by yourself and within a team. Show how you’re independent, but you’re also great with people in a project or group situation. By showing the interviewer that you’re adaptable, they know you’ll be a flexible worker and will be able to be effective even if the work situation changes.
Why did you leave your last job?
Why they ask: They really want to know.
Find a creative way if telling them the truth. You don’t want to lie or bend the truth. But you can be diplomatic and professional and still come out looking like a good candidate. Some good answers (if they are the truth!) are “I left to find a more challenging position where I could fully use my skills,” “The company restructured and my position was redefined,” or something of the like. Both those answers put a positive spin on leaving a job. Try to do the same for your reason.
What do you think this job involves?
Why they ask: They want to know if you’ve done your research.
Hopefully you have and you’re able to give them a good definition of how you see this job. Don’t quote directly from the job description because anyone can do that. Try to interpret what the job description is saying and try to figure out the skill sets tehy are looking for. Then, illustrate how yours match perfectly.
How did your last job prepare you for this job?
Why they ask: They want to know what your skill sets are and how you apply your knowledge. They also want to know how much training you’ll need.
Tell them exactly what they are looking for. Use the skills required section of the job description to illustrate how your experience fits this job. If this job is very similar to your last one, show them, using examples that you have the training it takes to do the job right now.
You will likely be asked a lot more questions than this. Answering them requires you to find out why they are asking you. By figuring out why questions are asked, you can better prepare yourself and answer them in a way that projects you as the perfect candidate.
A group interview, there are usually 2 or more interviewers present. Each interviewer will probably have a particular interest. A HR might want to know if you are a good fit for the company, the team leader of the office you are interviewing for might want to see your personality and if it fits with those currently working for him or her. A supervisor goal for the interview might be there to assess your skills.
Do Your Homework
Make sure you have done research on the company; know what the job description entails.
Research the company’s mission statement, if they don’t have one, find what services or products they offer or how long they have been in business.
Know how the company is structured, how many departments they have.
Believe in your skills and abilities that is what you have to “sell” to the employer
If you are not confident in your skills and abilities they won’t be either, relate your past experience and how it applies to the position that you are now interviewing for. Practice (role play) with friends or families mock interviews, have them ask you questions, they more rehearsed you are the more prepared and confident you will be.
Make sure that you make eye contact with the interviewers. Take the time to think about the interview question before you respond. If you do not understand the interview question ask the interviewer to repeat or rephrase the question.
Be positive, confident, bring extra copies of your resume and any references with you. When the interview is over this is your time to ask the interviewers questions, you should always ask them at least one question.
When can I expect to hear back from you?
How many stages are there in the interview process?
How did this position become available?
How many people will I be working with?
A job interview is the opportunity for a company to determine if your skills and experience are a good fit for the position they have open. It’s also a good chance for you to see if you are a good fit for the company. You’ll likely have questions about the company and how they work, and you’ll get some of your answers during the interview. You should be prepared to ask some questions of the interviewer yourself, usually at the end of the job interview. Try to think of questions that you are genuinely interested in hearing the answer to. Make sure questions are relevant and about the company or position.
If you can’t think of any questions you’d like to ask, here are a few and why you should ask them.
What is it like working for this company? What is the culture like?
You want to work for a company that has a similar mindset as you. You also want to know how the employees are treated. This open-ended question is a great way to get a feel for the company through the interviewer. If you don’t get a very positive vibe, consider it a sign.
Can you describe an average or typical day in this position?
This is a great question that helps define the position for you. You’ll get an idea of how much time is expected to be spent on different tasks and what tasks you should be familiar with. The answer to this question will also help you decide if you really want this job.
How do you see this position evolving in the future?
This will give you a good idea of what your role is in the company and what your opportunities for growth are while performing this job. If you are looking for a job that will allow you to move up and take on more responsibility, you need to know that. You also need to know if the position looks like it will never evolve to anything more than it is.
How soon do you expect to make a hiring decision?
This is a great question to ask towards the end of the interview. It gives you a time frame on which to base your follow-up calls and an idea on when to move on. It’s important to know when they’ll be hiring because you likely have other job prospects you are pursing and you need to be able to evaluate them accordingly.
Asking the right questions at a job interview is a chance for you to get a feel for the company and the position. By asking questions, you appear interested in the job and you tell the interviewer you have put time and effort into determining if you are a good fit for this job.
Have an interview and unsure what to wear? Here are some tips to help you achieve a professional polished look.
Away From Scents
Many offices now have a scent-free policy prohibiting workers and even visitors from wearing perfumes, colognes, and very odorous deodorants. Even if they don’t, you should refrain from wearing scents when interviewing. This goes for men and women. Many people are irritated by odours and others might have mental associations with certain odours. A perfume can quickly remind them of someone they dislike. You want to be a blank slate, where only what you have to say, your experience, and your skills do the talking for you.
You don’t want to look uncomfortable and ill at ease in what you’re wearing. That being said, you should have a polished professional look. You’ve heard the expression “Dress for the job you want to do.” You should go one step further. You should dress for the job that you want, but a touch more dressy. A good standard for a management job interview is a nice traditional dark suit, with a clean, pressed dress shirt and coordinating tie. Remember to wear comfortable dress shoes with dark dress socks. If you don’t wear suits often, try on your outfit a few days in advance to make sure everything still fits from the last time you wore it.
For women, the same standard applies. Remember that you want to project a professional image. A good standard to go by is a nice fitted suit jacket in a neutral color like navy with either matching pants or skirt with an unfussy neutral blouse. Your shoes should be classic and just blend into your outfit. Don’t forget plain pantyhose.
It’s important to be comfortable as this helps you look confident and successful.
Don’t Stick Out
Interviews aren’t usually the time to make a loud, personal fashion statement. Of course, you can certainly inject your own flair and style into your outfit. And for some job interviews in the creative fields, flair is a great thing. But make sure it isn’t inappropriate. Get a friend’s advice if you aren’t sure. Sometimes we get used to wearing a certain style and we don’t realize that perhaps, the trend has passed. It’s important to stick with the basics and to be professional. The whole point of the interview is to get across how qualified you are, how your skills will be a great fit for the company you are applying for. Don’t give them anything to remember you by but your content.
When interviewing, wear clothes that are or appear new. Women shouldn’t wear clothes that show cleavage, skirts that are cut too short, see-through tops, or very high-heeled shoes.
Of course, we want to look our best at an interview. Women should refrain from wearing loud makeup. Everything should blend in nicely and your makeup should not be so dramatic that it distracts your interviewer.
Remember to look and smell nice to be around. Enough said.