Did your resumé and cover letter get you an interview? Congratulations! Interviews can be scary, but with proper preparation, a mock interview and the help of our Career Corner specialists, you’ll make a good impression!

Before the interview

  • Review and analyze the job description in detail. Compare your skills, experience and abilities to the job requirements. 

  • Review your resumé and professional portfolio, and gather all required documentation, such as references. 

  • Research the company: the better you know it, the more you’ll impress the employer. This step is extremely important. 

  • Anticipate questions you may be asked and prepare answers that highlight your skills and accomplishments with concrete examples. 

  • Prepare questions for the interviewer. 

  • Find out the names and titles of the people interviewing you, the location and duration of your interview, and whether there will be any tests. 

  • Practise, practise, practise! That’s the secret to success. 

During the interview

  • Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early. Never arrive late! 

  • Dress appropriately and professionally. 

  • Greet your interviewer with eye contact, a smile and a firm handshake. 

  • Bring your portfolio (copies of your resumé, references, transcripts, certificates, etc.). 

  • Have a positive attitude and be enthusiastic: employers are looking for people with a positive attitude and often emphasize attitude over skills, training and experience. 

  • Maintain eye contact and good posture throughout the interview. Did you know that 55% of the communication process involves body language? 

  • Answer questions clearly and concisely. Stay focused and don’t lose your train of thought.  

  • Allow the employer to lead the interview; ask questions for clarification whenever necessary. 

  • Always support your answers with concrete examples.  

  • Ask the questions you’ve prepared. 

  • Don’t forget to find out about the next step in the recruitment process. 

  • Thank the interviewer and shake hands again as you say goodbye. 

Tips 

  • Speak slowly and articulate well. 

  • Pause for a moment and ask for clarification if necessary. 

  • Avoid using “you know,” “uh” and informal language; don’t memorize your answers or come across as “robotic.” 

  • Don’t ask about salary or benefits until the interviewer raises the issue. 

  • Don’t wear excessive jewellery or perfume. 

  • Never criticize former employers, co-workers or professors. 

After the interview

  • Make notes about the job, the company and how you answered the questions. This will be useful information when writing a thank you message or preparing for a second interview. 

  • Within 24 to 48 hours after the interview, send a thank you letter. 

  • If you haven’t heard from the employer within a week or two of  your first interview, follow up either by phone or by email. 

  • If you weren’t selected for the job or a second interview, ask for feedback about your performance during the interview. 

Some examples: 

About the position: 

  • What’s a typical workday like and what would my main duties include? 

  • What are some short- and long-term goals you’d like me to meet? 

  • What criteria would you consider necessary to meet the position requirements? 

  • What kind of performance do you expect from the person holding this position? 

  • How does this position contribute to the overall goals and objectives of the department? 

  • How does the company contribute to its employees’ professional development? What training do you offer? 

About the organization: 

  • What is the company’s philosophy? 

  • What are the biggest challenges facing the company? 

  • What are your company’s strengths? 

  • How many people does the company employ? 

  • What are the company’s plans for future growth? 

  • What differentiates you from your competitors? 

  • As the hiring manager, what do you like most about working here? 

About career advancement: 

  • Does the company offer career advancement opportunities? 

  • What is a typical career path for this position? 

Questions not to ask the interviewer: 

  • Anything that is already in the company’s literature or that can be easily found on its website. 

  • What will my salary be?* 

  • What is the company’s benefits package?* 

* These topics are usually discussed in a second interview or when negotiating over an offer.