Develop your Job Interview Skills

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1 Develop your Job Interview Skills Inside You Will Find: Tips for preparing for a job interview How to answer behavioural interview questions Sample interview questions Tips and hints for job interview success Additional resources County of Wellington Employment Resource Centre

2 PREPARING FOR A JOB INTERVIEW Company Research Use the local library, employment resource centre and the internet to learn as much as you can about the company that you are interviewing with. Showing them that you have taken the time and effort to learn about the company shows your interest in the job and the company. The information will also help you to answer questions in the interview more effectively. Consider finding out the following: How long has the company been in business? How many people work for the company? What is the company motto or mission? What does the company do? Who are the company s competitors? Who are the company s customers? Is the company involved in the community? BEHAVIOURAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS One of the most popular types of interview questions is the behavioral interview question. These questions are asked to obtain information about a candidate s previous experience, and how they have handled situations in the past. To be successful in answering these types of questions it is important that you select personal examples that best reflect the actions YOU took in a particular situation, which resulted in a positive outcome. From the employer s perspective, past behaviour is a good indicator of someone s future performance. STAR Response Technique Situation or Task: Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. Describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event. Action you took: Describe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did not the efforts of the team. Don't tell what you might do, tell what you did. Results you achieved: Ask yourself what happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What was the outcome? What did you learn? Focus on positive outcomes such as time or money saved, relationships improved or something you learned.

3 SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS Opening Questions Tell me about yourself. What do you know about the position/our organization? What are the key skills and qualifications you bring to this position? Behavior Based Questions Tell me about a challenge you faced in your most recent job and how you handled it. Describe a situation in which you have taken initiative. Describe a situation in which you performed as a team member. Describe a situation where you were in conflict with a co worker or supervisor and how you handled it. Tell me about a time when you were under a lot of stress and how you handled it What is the most difficult obstacle you have ever encountered? Tell me about a decision you made that did not turn out the way you wanted. Give me an example of a time when. You handled criticism You had to meet tight deadline You increased company profits or decreased waste Job Knowledge Questions What previous experience have you had in this area? What do you see as the most challenging aspect of working in this field? What have you learned from your previous employment that will be an asset to this organization? Personal Questions Where do you see yourself in 5 10 years? What is your greatest weakness? Why do you want to work for our company/organization? How has your education or training prepared you for this position? Work History Questions How would previous co workers describe you? Why did you leave your previous job? How much were you paid in your previous job? How have you dealt with criticism from supervisors or managers in the past? Do you like working on your own or as part of a team? Closing Questions Why should we hire you for this position? What can you bring to this company/organization? Do you have any questions for us? Why should we hire you for this job over the other candidates we are interviewing?

4 TIPS AND HINTS FOR JOB INTERVIEW SUCCESS What to bring to the interview A business folder including pad and pen A list of questions you have for the interviewer A typed list of three employment related references (unless otherwise indicated) Copies of any reference letters and extra copies of your résumé If you are a student or recent graduate, a copy of your transcript Make a great first impression Don t forget to Smile. A smile can show your enthusiasm for the job and indicate that you have a positive attitude. Practice your handshake A firm handshake at the beginning AND end of the interview demonstrates self confidence and respect. Maintain Eye Contact People who don t look at the interviewer s eyes are considered shy, insecure or even dishonest. Eye contact is a must if you would like to demonstrate self confidence in an interview. Be aware of your body language. Maintaining a good posture and not fidgeting will help to ensure that the interviewer is not distracted from what you are trying to say. Check yourself out in the mirror. Are you dressed appropriately for the interview? Are your clothes clean, not wrinkled and the appropriate fit for you? When in doubt about what to wear to an interview, dress one level higher than what you would wear on the job. For instance if you are interviewing for a job where you will be working in a factory setting, wearing dress pants with a collared shirt would be appropriate. Arrive to the interview at least 10 minutes early. To ensure this, plan your transportation to where the interview is taking place ahead of time (i.e. if you are taking the bus, travel the route in advance to see how long it takes to get to your destination, find out where you will park if you are driving by car). During the interview Listen carefully to the interviewer. If you don t understand a question, don t be afraid to ask to have it clarified for you. Feel free to take time to THINK before you answer an interview. 5 to 10 seconds is a perfectly acceptable amount of time to gather your thoughts and prepare your best answer. Focus on the task at hand. Turn off your cell phone in the interview, and put aside family, financial or personal problems to focus on what you can do for the employer. Avoid talking about negative experiences from previous jobs in an interview. Don t say anything negative about a previous boss or co worker. Use business language. Avoid slang, speak clearly and avoid verbal fillers such as um, ah, or you know.

5 Come with Prepared with Questions Most often at the end of an interview, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. Take this opportunity to show your interest in the company, and to gather some more information about the position that you are interviewing for by asking a few questions of them. Select between 5 and 10 questions from the suggestions below to bring to your interview: What are the company s future growth plans? What are the major issues facing the company at this time? How would you describe the company s work culture? How would you describe the company s management style? What do you feel are the company s greatest strengths or assets? What do you enjoy most about working with this company? Could you please describe what a typical day looks like for someone working in this position? What are the most important characteristics that you look for in someone who takes on this position? What sort of training are you able to provide for the successful candidate? What additional information can I provide about my qualifications? When do you hope to make your hiring decision by? OR What is the next step in the hiring process? Additional Resources advice.monster.com/ Resource for career development related articles and job search document samples Resource for career related news, advice, job postings and salary guides Training and careers section of the Service Canada Website Extensive collection of interview question samples sorted by job type Comprehensive career development website with information on a wide range of topics Pardons Canada, a federal non profit organization that can assist with the removal of past criminal offences from public record Contact an Employment Facilitator at the Employment Resource Centre if you are interested in doing a mock interview. Call to book an appointment.

6 The Employment Resource Centre provides a centralized location for the information and tools required in the pursuit of employment. Individuals using the centre can: Utilize up to date computer technology for job search and career exploration Attend employment focused and life skills workshops Receive support and referrals from helpful and knowledgeable staff Receive one to one assistance with résumés, cover letters, and job interview practice All services are provided at no cost and based on staff availability. The County of Wellington Employment Resource Centre 138 Wyndham Street North Guelph ON N1H 4E8 T T x 3600 E ALTERNATE FORMATS OF THIS PUBLICATION AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST For more information contact: 74 Woolwich Street Guelph ON N1H 3T9 T x 2373 E

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