How to Prepare for a Job Interview in Canada
When you send out your resume and cover letter, a potential employer will read it to check your:
– education (degrees, licences, certification)
– work experience (places of employment, number of years)
– computer skills and other technical skills and knowledge
If everything matches the job they are offering, you could be called for a job interview.
At a job interview, they will be checking:
- your English languages skills
- your soft skills (also called ‘people’ skills)
The main reason why you are being invited to a job interview is for the employer to check your ‘people’ skills. The want to know what kind of person you are and if you know how to interact with other people the ‘Canadian way’.
Most jobs in Canada (about 70%) are customer service, which means you will have to work with people, either customers or clients. Your clients could be internal (people employed by the same company as you) or external.
During the interview, majority of questions will be aimed at assessing your ability to interact with clients/customers and co-workers according to the rules of Canadian culture. They will also be assessing your work ethic and your overall attitude.
Step by Step Guide on How to Prepare
Study the job posting (online job advertisement) carefully. Pay special attention to:
– Duties and Responsibilities
– Requirements and Qualifications
Identify all the soft skills mentioned in the job posting, especially in Requirements and Qualifications. These could be things like: organized, detail-oriented, patient, tactful, empathetic, results-oriented, good time-management, enjoys working in a fast-paced environment, works well independently and as part of a team, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, etc. Circle or underline them on the job posting, or, even better, copy them on a separate piece of paper. These are the things you MUST TALK ABOUT during your job interview.
Now that you have your list of essential soft skills for this particular job you are trying to get, think about your past experience and situations where you had to use those skills. Soft skills are transferrable, so it doesn’t matter if the job you are applying for is different from the job you had before.
Here is the ‘Magic Formula’:
Example Job: Registered Nurse
Requirements: good organizational and problem-solving skills, ability to work independently
You say (basically copy/repeat): “I have good organizational skills, for example… I also have good problem-solving skills, for example… I am able to work well independently, for example…”
You must give examples! If you don’t give examples, nobody will believe you.
How to give examples: SAR principle
(What was the situation/problem, what did you do, and what was the good result)
The mistake some immigrants make is to talk about themselves and say things like “I am hardworking and honest.” Instead, you need to talk ABOUT THE JOB and the skills required for this particular job.
Prepare the answer to the first question of a job interview. It could be “Tell me about yourself…” or “Why do you want to work as a …?” or “Why are you interested in working here?” or any other question. It doesn’t matter how the question is formulated – the answer will be almost the same. Do NOT tell them about yourself. Instead, tell them how your skills and experience match the job. Repeat all the most important things from the job posting. Do not give examples – just give them a summary.
Find a list of 100 common interview questions. Practice answering them one by one – your goal is to answer most of these questions with THE SAME ANSWER, tying everything to the same skills that are required for the job you want to get.
- If a company has a website, learn some facts about the company.
- If your job will be working with customers/clients, make sure you are prepared for the ‘How would you deal with an angry customer?” question (Answer: “I will listen patiently, ask questions if necessary, and explain to them what I can do for them and what policies and regulations are.”)
- At the interview, talk about the new job as if you already have it. See yourself in that role already and say things like: “As a _______ (job title), I understand how important it is to….”
- Remember that nobody really cares about what you did in the past. Use your past experience as an example that proves you can do the new job.
- Click here to learn about Canadian Body Language. It is very easy to fail a job interview if you are displaying a ‘closed’ body language.
- Click here to learn about Important Work Skills in Canada.