- Greet interviewer(s) with a firm handshake, good eye contact, and a smile
- Monitor the messages you send with your body language, e.g., hand gestures, slouching, fidgeting, etc
- Monitor the body language of the interviewer(s). If they stop writing notes and look ready to move on, finish your point quickly
- Be honest with your responses
- Avoid slang expressions such as “ya know” or “like”
Don’t be afraid to:
- Seek clarification if you are unsure what the interviewer is asking
- Ask to have a question or parts of a question repeated
- Request a moment to think about your response or to return to the question later on in the interview
- Introduce yourself
Employers often begin an interview by asking you to say something about yourself. Respond using the PAWS formula:
- Personal: Who you are and why you’re interested in this position
- Academic: Your academic interests and how your education/training relates to the position
- Work: Previous relevant work or volunteer experiences you have, and what you accomplished or gained from these experiences
- Skills: Skills you developed or demonstrated in previous experiences and how they relate to the position you’re applying for now
- Why are you interested in this position?
- What do you know about our organization/company?
- What is your greatest strength/weakness?
- What are your long-term/short-term goals?
- Under the Employment Standards Act of BC, questions pertaining to age, race, ancestry, religion, colour, sex, marital status, physical/mental disability, place of origin, political beliefs, family status, and sexual orientation are illegal (unless directly related to the position).
- You should not answer questions about these subjects.
These questions require you to tell a “story” from your past experience to demonstrate how you handled a particular situation. Employers ask these questions to assess how you might act in similar situations in the future. You should prepare stories beforehand to respond to questions like the following (and highlight the skills they are assessing):
- Describe a time you made a difficult decision in the absence of your supervisor? (Judgment, Independence, Decision-making)
- Tell me about a time you had to work as part of a team. What was your role in the team? What did you do to ensure that the group functioned effectively? (Teamwork, Leadership)
Answer behavioural-based questions by using the STARR formula:
- Situation: Background on the scenario, with enough detail for the interviewer to imagine the scenario in his or her mind and understand that the event did actually occur
- Task: The task you had to complete or the problem you faced
- Action: The steps you took to deal with the task or problem
- Result: The impact of your work. Was the problem solved? How did others react? What feedback did you get from your supervisor? What did you learn or accomplish?
- Relevance: How the skills you showed or gained from the experience relates to the position you’re applying for
Questions for the employer
You should have some questions ready to ask the employer at the end of an interview to demonstrate your level of preparation and interest. Discover if the organization and position is a good fit for you by asking questions like:
- What kind of training will I receive?
- What do you (the employer) like most about working for this company/organization?
- Will I have an opportunity to take on new responsibilities once I get comfortable in my position?