A Small Reference Guide Prepared by Mireille Trottier-Roy

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1 No more fear! Preparing for Your Interview A Small Reference Guide Prepared by Mireille Trottier-Roy

2 What you need to know The Interview "Monster" Nothing to fear for the well prepared... 1 A Few Things to Remember... 1 Research, Research, Research... 1 The "One-Minute Interview Sales-Pitch"... 3 Commonly Asked Interview Questions... 4 Interview Checklist... 6 Questions to ask the Interviewer... 7 Dressing for success... 8

3 The Interview Monster Nothing to Fear for the Well-Prepared There exists a common myth: it is not possible to prepare for an interview. Wrong! If you don t believe in monsters under your bed, you should not believe this! There exists strategies to prepare for interviews, and this guide is meant to help you with this process. A few things to remember Interviews can be nerve-wracking! After all, you are about to sit in the hot seat and try to convince an employer to hire you. Interviews can be nervewracking! Research First things first, you must think positive! If you are well prepared and believe in yourself there is nothing to fear. Research, Research, Part of being prepared is to make sure you have done some research on the company and on the position you are applying for. It s easier to convince someone when you know what you re talking about! 1

4 The Internet has made it easier than ever to do your company research. Your family, friends and people already working at the company or in a similar position are also excellent tools to help you. The kinds of things you should know about the company: Their Mission Statement/Vision (usually under the About Us section on the company website) Services offered Office Locations (is this a company with only one office or offices worldwide, for example) Any other tidbit of information that would prove to the employer that you have done some research, such as their slogan. It is ok to bring notes on the information you have researched. An interview is not like a school exam You can bring notes as reminders for yourself. Now you know about THEM What will you tell them about YOU? 2

5 Interviews are like races you want to train for the big day. The One-Minute Interview Sales-Pitch In one way or another, you will be asked to talk about yourself or to explain to the interviewer why YOU are the right person for the job. You should know what you want to tell the employer before ever sitting down at the interview. This is all about selling yourself (your skills) and explaining to the employer why they should hire you and not anyone else they are interviewing. What to say during your One-Minute Sales-Pitch? Your interests and experiences related to the job Your past work or volunteer experience Your training or education Your strengths Awards you have won that show you are a professional worker or student Now practice saying all these things about you (in an organized way), so that during the interview you will sound more confident. It s called the One- Minute Sales Pitch, as it shouldn t be too long to bore the employer and because first impressions count. 3

6 Commonly Asked Interview Questions And how to answer them. 1. Tell me about yourself. (see One-Minute Interview Sales-Pitch ) 2. Have you ever done this kind of work before? You should never say no to this type of question since no two jobs are alike and so, of course, you have not done exactly this same work. What the interviewer wants to know is whether you can learn to do the job in a reasonable time. Tell him about: Your past experience (paid or volunteer) Your education and training related to the job How quickly you have learned that type of work in the past 3. Why do you want to work here? The interviewer is attempting to learn whether you will be satisfied with your job and likely to stay. To reassure him, use the information you have researched on the company and mention as many positive features such as: The good reputation that the company has and your pride in telling people you work there You heard that the company is fair and appreciates hard-working employees (mention any employees who have described it to you.) This job represents job advancement Convenience of job location to your home or to transportation facilities The company has the kind of job that you are good at and like to do and you feel that you can do a good job. 4

7 You like this type of work and feel confident that you can make a contribution to the growth of the company because of your special qualifications. 4. What are your greatest strengths? When asked this type of question, mention all your positive aspects; your skills, reliability, experience, enthusiasm, efficiency, organization, pride in a job well done, ability to get along with others, and so on. 5. What are your weaknesses? When describing a weakness it is very important to explain how you intend to overcome it. For example you could say that you don t have a lot of work experience but that through your hard work in school and/or your volunteer experience you gained a lot of skills to be able to do the job well. 6. What are your long-range goals? This type of question is sometimes phrased as How long are you thinking of working for this company? Or What are your future plans? The interviewer is trying to find out whether you are serious about staying with this company or whether you are using this job only as a temporary stopover, or will be dissatisfied after a while. So, you should try to assure him of your intention to stay with the company and to grow in your career with the company, which of course, you probably want to do if the job proves to be satisfying to you. 7. Tell me something about your previous work experience. If you ve held down a number of jobs in the past, confine yourself to the last few positions, highlighting your duties, responsibilities and achievements. If you are a younger person with limited work experience, include part-time and summer employment as well as volunteer activities. If you are just out of school, show 5

8 how your extracurricular activities while attending school have a bearing on the job for which you have applied. Interview Checklist Make sure you bring these items with you for your next interview: Copies of your resume and cover letter Your list of references A pad and paper Notes that you have made or research you have done on the company The more you show you are prepared, the more you are showing respect. Monster.ca 6

9 Questions to ask the Interviewer Asking questions shows the interviewer that you are serious and interested about the job. Some examples of questions you can ask are: What is a typical day like for someone in this position? How would you describe the atmosphere of the office (or the relationship between the staff)? What hours would I be expected to work? Is training provided? Is it paid? Do I need a uniform?

10 Dressing for success Remember that you want the interviewers attention to be on what you say, not what you are wearing. Keep these simple tips in mind: Make sure your hair and clothing are clean Remove facial piercing(s) Visible tattoos should be covered up Choose clothing that is professional and that you are comfortable wearing (no jeans!). Make sure your clothing stays put and that it won t distract you (or the interviewer) during the interview. 8

11 Thank You Letter People often don t think of sending a thank you letter after an interview. But did you know that the thank you letter has many advantages? Some of these include: Show respect and appreciation by thanking the employer for the time spent interviewing you Remind the employer of the great things you told him during the interview that make you an excellent candidate for the job Give information that you might have forgotten to say during the interview Another chance for the employer to see your name (and set yourself apart from the competition) Because very few people send thank you letters, employers have actually hired people just because they gave them a thank you letter! Check out: www. quintcareers.com/sample_thankyou_letters.html for samples of thank you letters. 9

12 Job Connect is a free service that helps people prepare for and find work. Job Connect Val Est Mall Hwy 69 North Val Caron, ON P2N 1G3 : (705) (JOBS) : (705)

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