Job interview

14

How to get read to it!

By Tracy McCarthy *

The interview is your chance to back up in person everything that the employer has read about you in your resume. Being well equipped ahead of time will help you stay calm throughout the interview process.

It is normal to experience some jitters before an interview. The interviewer will understand the uneasiness that you may show. Be enthusiastic, confident, and friendly. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer at all times. Make sure that you’re not too relaxed or calm, as this can indicate a “don’t care” attitude. Most of all, don’t forget to breathe!

Go into the interview knowing as much as you can about the products, services, customers, competitors, culture, and core values of the company. This information can be found on the web. You can also contact the organization and ask if they could send you any relevant information they may have available.

Dress appropriately for the interview. You’ll need to dress in a way that shows respect for the interviewer while demonstrating that you want to be taken seriously. Take what you know about the culture of the organization and keep this in mind when choosing what to wear.

Show up on time for the interview. The easiest way to get off on the wrong foot is to show up late. Plan to allow for traffic, transit and parking delays. Have the interviewer’s number handy so you can call if something major keeps you from arriving on time. You should go into the office about ten minutes before the established interview time.

Most organizations will use behavioural interview questions to assess whether the candidate has demonstrated the currently required job competencies in their past performance and accomplishments. Prepare for this type of interview by creating high-impact examples using the S.A.R. technique:

  • Situation: Describe a specific situation or task that you needed to accomplish or resolve. Provide details such as names, dates and places to add credibility.
  • Action: Describe the action(s) you took, outlining what you specifically did to address the situation.
  • Response: Describe the positive results you achieved. Explain how your company benefited. Use numbers to quantify your results.

Think about what questions you are likely to face and make sure that you have specific, concrete examples ready for the interviewer. Sample questions and answers can be researched on the internet. Use the job description to determine the required job skills (team building, customer service, leadership, decision-making, etc.). Always anticipate questions you did not expect to be asked. Being able to answer various questions will help to demonstrate your adaptability and ability to think on the spot.

Ask questions about the job, and the next steps, at the end of the interview. Prepare two or three questions that seek specific information about responsibilities, future projects, and organizational structure (daily duties, career path options, upcoming changes that will affect the position, ability to contribute new ideas, etc.). Never ask questions about salary during the interview. You’ll have plenty of time to haggle for your pay during the negotiation stage.

Job interviews should start good, flow better and end in the best possible way. At the end of the interview, be sure to stand up straight, moving closer a little bit for a handshake while making direct eye-contact. These are actions of a professional, and if you are at ease in doing these things, you should give that air of confidence without having to brag about it.

If you are vying for a position that many are applying for, be sure to seal the deal by sending a thank-you letter or email after the interview. This will be a great follow-up to what you have talked about, and will show your commitment, enthusiasm, and expertise.

* Tracy McCarthy is Senior Manager, Human Resources Services.