Interview Tips

Congratulations! You have been selected for an interview. You are in the top 10% of applicants for this role. Now, if you follow the interview coaching tips found below, you will have a strong probability to land the job!

 

Phone/Skype/Facetime/Hangouts/Zoom Interview

-Ensure you are in a quiet place, meaning that there’s minimal background noise (for example: music, TV, dogs barking, children playing etc.).

-Please ensure that you have a strong phone connection so that both you and the interviewer(s) can hear the conversation properly.

-These same rules apply if it is a Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype or Facetime interview. Ensure that you have a strong, consistent IP connection and have access to a microphone and headphones that are in proper working order.

-In the case of a video interview, ensure that you are in a professional setting, dressed appropriately from your waist-up. Also ensure that a telephone will not ring while on the interview (either through do not disturb mode or other means).

-Remember to SMILEwhile on the phone call, people can “hear you smile” and you will project a friendly tone of voice.

-Be ready to receive the call. Answer on the 1stor 2nd ring.

-If you are to call the interviewer, please ensure that you call exactly on time. If you are 1 minute late, you could be eliminated from the (often) extremely competent pool of candidates.

 

Face-to-face interview

  1. Please know the address of the interview. Determine how you will get there, and how much time to allow yourself. Personally, I recommend that you arrive in the lobby 15 minutes prior to your interview. Allow yourself time for inclement weather, traffic, public transit delays, parking your vehicle, walking and taking the elevator, as well as any other factors. A reminder that the elevator(s) could also be extremely busy especially during times such as early morning, lunch and end of day.
  2. Bring a minimum of 2 printed copies of your resume, one for you and one for the interviewer. If you know how many people are interviewing you, you may bring more printed copies.
  3. If you are expected to show experience for a job like a developer role, you may be required to show a sample of your code. Please ensure that you are able to connect to the internet to demonstrate a working copy of the code. Additionally, be aware of the battery power for your notebook/tablet/iPhone/Android etc., bring your AC adapter, a portable charger (that has a charged battery) for mobile devices, and the required USB cable for your device just in case. If you bring these, you show the client that you take the interview seriously and always have a contingency plan.
  4. If you are to present a slideshow, please bring a minimum of 2 printed copies of your presentation just in case you cannot get the projector working. A great candidate will plan ahead and bring their own projector/notebook/tablet and leave nothing to chance.
  5. Prior to the interview, know who will be interviewing you. Google these people and look at their LinkedIN profiles.
  6. Understand the company, go on their web site, research any recent media news. Research the company on glassdoor.ca It is always good to know the number of employees, how many offices they have, locations of the numerous offices, where the head office is located, their annual revenue etc.. This will help answer the inevitable question of: Why do you want to work for this company?
  7. Understand the job description. This will help you craft a well thought out answer to the question: What do you know about this job?
  8. Dress appropriately for the setting. This is a formal meeting. For men, please ensure you have a pressed, button-down shirt, dress pants, plain belt, dress shoes, tie (optional), and a suit jacket is recommended, however I err on the side of formality. For women, dress professionally, nothing low cut, closed toe shoes, I recommend a blazer, however this is optional. All of these should be in a conservative colour i.e. navy, black.
  9. Hair should be neat, no strong perfumes, jewellery should be conservative, good oral hygiene (which entails brushing your teeth, flossing). I recommend Listerine breath strips.
  10. Turn your cell phone OFF prior to going into the interview.
  11. Bring a pen, just in case. You may need to write notes, draw a diagram, or write a test.
  12. Remember to look at all of the interviewer(s) to show that they are included in the conversation.

 

Common Interview Questions

  1. Why do you want to work for this company?
  2. What do you know about this company?
  3. What do you know about the job opening?
  4. Why do you want to leave your current company, or why did you leave your last job? (The hiring manager may ask you this question for each work experience)
  5. Tell me about yourself. (Chronological order, education, certifications, oldest job to current role, name the company, your title, greatest accomplishment for roles within the last 10 years and concentrate on roles that are relevant to the job description). This answer should be 10 minutes, stay focused in your response.
  6. What is your greatest strength? (Have 3 prepared, just in case)
  7. What is your greatest weakness? (Have 3 prepared, just in case)
  8. Describe yourself in 1 word.
  9. Favourite type of music/movies/other form of media
  10. If you were a zoo animal, what would it be?
  11. What would your current manager say about you?
  12. What would your current peers say about you?
  13. How do you manage stress?
  14. What are some of your hobbies? (The company is trying to see if you are a team player, introvert, extrovert etc.) If you play instruments, mention them here!
  15. What are your career goals 2-5 years from now?
  16. Describe the last movie you watched in 30 seconds.
  17. Describe what you did on or before the age of 16 which reflects your current work ethic.
  18. What new gadget would you like to buy, why and how much does it cost? (I.e. Apple watch, drone, Tesla etc.)
  19. What is your greatest accomplishment? (Try to have one accomplishment for each work experience).
  20. Describe a time when you encountered a difficult person on your project team. What did you do?
  21. Describe a time when you disagreed with your manager? What was the outcome?
  22. What do you like the least about your manager?
  23. What qualities do you like to see in a manager?
  24. What is your salary expectation? If you are going on the interview through an agency, the recruiter should be able to tell you the hourly or salary range. If it is a full-time role through an agency, state the exact base salary that you agreed upon with your recruiter. If this is a contract and you are going through an agency, state that the agency provided the rate to the VR/HR/Procurement/Strategic Sourcing department. If you are going on the interview from a direct source, do your homework and state a rate/salary range that is market value. Be prepared, that the company may offer you the lowest rate that you mentioned.

 

No matter the question, always answer the question in a positive light. Remain positive about a company that you worked for as well as your manager (No Negativity).

 

STAR

For behavioural questions you may answer using the STAR methodology as follows:

 

S – Situation – Describe the situation.

T- Time – What was the length of the project?

A – Action, what actions did you do? Note: not the project team in general but your specific actions and contributions to the project.

R- Results, what were the results, i.e. you received commendations such as employee of the month/year, timely completion of a project, remaining on budget, recognition from the CEO, received a promotion, the report now takes 10 seconds to run instead of overnight, etc..

 

At the end of the interview

Always have 2 closing questions prepared if they ask you: Do you have any questions?

At the very end of the interview, if appropriate please ask: What are the next steps in the interview/hiring? This will let you know if there will be more interviews, when they want to make a hiring decision, when they want a person on-board, etc. You may be able to sense if they like you from their body language and how they answered this question.

 

After the interview

Within the same day, please write a thank you note and email it (or send a LinkedIn message) to the hiring manager. This demonstrates your enthusiasm for the role, as well as your ability to display skills such as responsiveness, courtesy, professionalism in addition to showcasing your written communication skills. Ensure that the thank you note is personalized, and includes a reference to a detail that was discussed in the interview to show that you were actively listening. If you missed saying something in the interview, this gives you a final opportunity for further explanation. The top 10% of candidates will take the time to write a thank you note.  This will allow you to pull ahead of the competition.

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