Whether you are looking ahead to an interview (via video chat or in-person) for a new job, volunteer opportunity, co-op placement, or post-secondary admission, the key to success is being well-prepared. You want to be confident in your ability to make a strong first impression. To help you get started, we’ve detailed a few steps below.
Do some research.
It’s important to have a solid understanding of the organization, company, or institution you are applying to. If you are interviewing for a job, learn a little bit about the company. What do they do? Carefully read the job description to learn what types of skills are required to do the job. You might want to know the mission statement, values, and culture of the company you’re hoping to join. Visit the company’s website and social media channels to learn as much as you can!
Prepare responses to common questions.
While it’s impossible to predict exactly what your interviewer will ask you, there are a few common questions that you should be prepared for. The first question will likely be some variation of ‘Tell me about yourself.’ Your response to this question often makes the first impression, so think carefully about what you want to share. Sometimes, the hardest question asks you to reflect and share your greatest weakness. The trick with this question is to be genuine while also spinning your ‘negative’ as a potential positive. For example, “I tend to take on too many projects” can be both an honest weakness and a good thing to say to a future employer. Other common questions are as follows:
- Why do you want to work here (go to school here)?
- Why should we hire you?
- Tell me about a time you…overcame an obstacle or worked with a difficult person?
- How do you deal with stress?
- If you were a vegetable, which one would you be?
After you have done your research and scripted some responses, conduct a practice interview with a friend or family member. You could also try using your phone to film yourself responding, especially if your interview will be conducted online. Test out your webcam to make sure that the lighting, angle, and background are as professional as possible.
Prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer.
At the end of the interview, you will likely be asked ‘do you have any questions for us’? It’s best to have a few ready to demonstrate your interest in the position. Below are a few suggestions of questions you might ask:
- What are the attributes of an ideal candidate?
- What is the best thing about working here?
- What do the day-to-day tasks include?
- What is the most challenging aspect of this role?
Take a few deep breaths before the interview begins, put a smile on your face, and be confident! You are prepared, capable, and qualified. For more tips on interview success, help with writing cover letters, or guidance when polishing a resume, book a virtual session with a Writing Coach.