Monday, March 7, 2016

Preparing for the Interview

Interviews can be intimidating because you don’t have time to think over your answers and to edit them. However, they’re also an opportunity to demonstrate how you fit in the position and in the organization beyond what your resume and cover letter say about you. Here are some tips to help you in the preparation of the interview.

Know the organization and the position. Review the job posting to remind yourself of what tasks and skills the organization is looking for so that you can relate your answers back to the position. Do some research on the organization to know what their values, services, or projects are. In this way, you can also think of questions that you can ask during the interview. This shows that you’re interested and prepared.

Prepare answers beforehand. You may not know what you will be asked, but chances are that you’ll encounter some common ones. Take some time to organize your thoughts and write down responses to these commonly asked questions. I keep a list of questions and answers in a Word document from past interviews I have participated in. Consider using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Results) method to structure your answers and how you can contribute to this role. Over time, you can update it with more experiences.

Practice. Do it with a friend, in front of a mirror, or come to the AA&CC! You’ll be able to get feedback on your mannerism and ‘first impression’ from a different angle. Check how you say your answers, your body language, or how you react to questions. Maybe you talk too fast because you’re nervous and don’t realize it, so you would need to slow down. I’m aware that I tend to fidget with my hands a lot, so I keep them in front of me so that I stay very aware of them.

Check where the interview will be taking place. If it’s a phone call or a Skype video, make sure you set a time and a place where you will not be interrupted. If you have to go somewhere, check the route so you don’t get lost and know where to park. Allocate yourself some extra time in case something unexpected, like traffic, comes up. I like to use Google Maps on street view so that I can look for landmarks.

Prepare what you need the night before. Choose your (professional) attire and what plan to bring so that you’re not rushing in the morning. You may consider bringing extra copies of your resume, references, and a notebook and pen to take notes.

Not sure where to start? Or just want to talk to someone about your plans for preparing for your next interview? Visit the AA&CC – we have many resources to help you! Come to drop-ins or book an appointment to talk with a Career Counsellor or Employment Coach for further information on what to do. You can even book a mock-interview to simulate what it actually may look and feel like! To get things started, take a look at our TipSheet on interviews.

Good luck!


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