The best way to be successful in an interview is to be prepared. In this section we will discuss how to prepare before the interview. As soon as you are invited for an interview, start doing the following tasks to prepare.
Prepare for the interview questions
- Practice answering common interview questions and answers; you can practice with friends, family or with an employment specialist.
- Always relate your answers to the requirements of the job.
- Practice until you can speak comfortably about your skills and how they relate to the position.
- You can book a mock interview with an employment advisor.
- Refer to the sections on Common Interview Questions and Answers and Behavioural Interview Questions and Answers.
- Don’t memorize exact answers; just be comfortable talking about your skills and experiences.
Research information about the job, employer and industry
- Review the company website and social media sites – look for the mission and vision statements, community involvement, future projects, and current news items.
- Research the company as much as possible. Try looking for information on the internet, from networking contacts, in newspapers, in business directories, and with the Chamber of Commerce.
- Refer to these tip sheets for more information on researching a job and researching a company: How Do I research a Company?; How Do I Research a Job?
Prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer about the company or the job
- You will be expected to ask the interviewers some questions.
- Refer to the tip sheet Questions to Ask an Interviewer.
Prepare a few copies of your résumé, cover letter and references to give to the interviews
- Refer to the tip sheet “What is a Reference?”
- Review your résumé and make sure that you know it
- Think of some examples of work you have done that can support the skills that you have listed
Review the job posting
- What specific skills or education where mentioned?
- Write out examples of how your skills match the position.
A Day or Two Before the Interview
Assemble your interview package
- Assemble copies of your résumé, cover letter, relevant education or training certificates, letters of reference, list of references, your list of questions, pad of paper and pen.
Assemble Your References
- Bring your list of references with you. It should include 3 professional references and at least 1 direct supervisor.
- Make sure you ask for permission from the people you would like to use as a reference.
- It is very important to prepare references, let them know what kind of job you are interviewing for so they can talk about the skills that are most related to the job.
- Refer to this tip sheet for more information on references.
Make sure that you know where you are going
- Travel to the interview location early to allow time for traffic, finding parking etc.
- Find out where you can park or how to get there by public transit.
- If it is a large building, make sure you know the suite number and allow yourself time to find the office.
Check Your Appearance
- Research the dress code at the company and prepare to dress slightly more formal.
- Dress conservatively and avoid hair, make-up and jewellery that could be distracting.
- Strong odours can be distracting in an interview; Avoid cologne, perfume and smoking before the interview and make sure your clothes are clean.
- Make sure that you are well groomed
- Keep your interview clothes and footwear separate from your everyday clothes to save time on the day of your interview
Be on Time
- Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early for your interview
- Turn off your cell phone and any other devices you have with you and keep them out of sight.
Need more help?
Attend The Centre’s Interviews that “Impress Workshop” and learn how to prepare before the interview. You can also book an appointment with one of our Employment Advisors for one-on-one interview coaching.