What You Need to Know Before the Interview
Thoroughly preparing for an interview can help alleviate pre-interview jitters. Study relevant material as if you are taking an exam, and you will feel and act more confident
- Your education, your hobbies, and your paid and unpaid experiences have given you a wide range of skills
- Practice articulating the skills you have, how you developed them, and how you applied them to the work setting
- Prepare to demonstrate, using examples, what kinds of problems you have solved in the past
- What are the core skills, qualities, and attributes needed?
- Bring examples of where you demonstrated these qualifications
The Organization and Interviewer
- What is the nature of the organization's business? What have they done? Where are they heading?
- Do they have competition? Who are their major competitors?
- Who are their clients?
- How would this organization define success?
- What are the organization's values?
Common Types of Interviews
- Behavioural Interviews
- One-on-One Interviews
- Panel Interviews (more than one interviewer)
- Case Interviews (common for consulting positions)
- Telephone/Skype Interviews
In order to be prepared, it is important to ask what format your interview will be and who will be conducting it (how many, names, titles) so you can prepare.
A Few Days Before Your Interview
- Confirm the interview logistics (date/time/location/ transportation
- Get your wardrobe ready (do your clothes need to be washed, ironed, dry-cleaned? do you need to shine/polish your shoes?)
- Review your interviewer’s LinkedIn profile
- Practice how you will answer common questions
- Review your resume and LinkedIn profile
- Give yourself extra time for travel in case of traffic or TTC issues
- If you arrive 20+ minutes early, go to the washroom and check your appearance
- Do something that helps you focus, like listening to music or taking a walk
- Turn off your phone before checking in
- Present yourself 10 minutes early
Types of Questions
Interviewee's (Your) Questions
Summarize your key points when you start. Keep the answer relevant to the position for which you are being interviewed.
The employer is looking for examples of previous behaviour that demonstrated key skills. Take time to plan before you respond and tell your story like this:
The employer is interested in your thought process. Take the time to think about the question and then discuss your thought process (e.g. “the factors that I would consider are ... ”). You can also ask the interviewer for more information (e.g. “do I know the nature of the complaint?” )
Case questions are often used to assess logical thought process, business knowledge, general knowledge, comfort with quantitative analysis, creativity, and communication skills. Walk the employer through any assumptions and calculations.
The interviewer will always give you a chance to ask some of your own questions. Ask thoughtful, questions that engage the interviewer in discussion and reflect the depth of your company research. (See our tip sheet on Company Research)
For more information and assistance, attend the Interview Techniques to Land that Job workshop or book a one-one mock interview session with a Career Counsellor or Career Strategist.
Last update: September 2014