Developing Interview Skills (6/10)

Canadian Flag on Parliament Hill

Cana­dian Flag on Par­lia­ment Hill

Wel­come to the “How To… Find A Job In Canada” series!

Say­ing that last year wasn’t great eco­nom­i­cally speak­ing is an under­state­ment. Pretty much all coun­tries world­wide suf­fered from the global eco­nomic down­turn and Canada was no excep­tion. Yet, a lot of peo­ple are still con­sid­er­ing mov­ing to Canada, while oth­ers are already in the process and are prob­a­bly wor­ried about whether they will get a job at all.

There is no easy answer when it comes to employ­ment. You know the story… a bit of patience, a bit of skills, a bit of luck.

I’m not a job coun­selor, and I’m not an expert. But I do know how it works in Canada and I’m hop­ing to pass along some infor­ma­tion that may not be obvi­ous to every­one. A post will be pub­lished every Sat­ur­day… enjoy!

Being called for a job inter­view is both excit­ing and scary. Excit­ing because you are being con­sid­ered for a posi­tion, scary because you may lack con­fi­dence. For­tu­nately, with a lit­tle bit of prac­tice, you will be able to improve your inter­view skills.

Before an interview

  • Research the com­pany: most com­pa­nies today have a web­site explain­ing their man­date, the kind of posi­tiona they offer, the ser­vices they pro­vide etc. Research care­fully! You can also learn quite a lot on a company’s mind­set.
  • Read again the ad for the posi­tion: you prob­a­bly applied for a lot of posi­tions and you may have for­got­ten what was the posi­tion about. Don’t laugh, it hap­pens! Some hir­ing processes are noto­ri­ously slow and I was once called back for a posi­tion I had applied for… two years ear­lier. I usu­ally save a copy of the ad of all the posi­tions I apply for, either by tak­ing a screen­shot cap­ture, either by just copy­ing and past­ing the ad into Word.
  • Read again the cover let­ter your wrote for the posi­tion: same here… I usu­ally write a dif­fer­ent cover let­ter for each posi­tion I apply for and save them. It’s always a good idea to refresh your mem­ory by read­ing the let­ter you wrote for the spe­cific job.
  • Map the loca­tion of the inter­view: don’t for­get that most cities in Canada are very spread out. You may know where Queen St. is, but if the street is sev­eral miles long, make sure you know which way you are going! When the name of the street is very generic (River st. etc.), you can ask for direc­tions when arrang­ing the details of the inter­view. Most peo­ple will give you the near­est inter­sec­tion (i.e River st at Bay and Gladstone).
  • Allow enough time for trans­porta­tion: no mat­ter whether you are dri­ving, bus­ing or walk­ing, always allow extra time for the unex­pected. Snow storms, traf­fic delays etc. add extra stress on the day of the inter­view, espe­cially if you are already run­ning late.
  • Pre­pare the most com­mon inter­view ques­tions: some ques­tions are basi­cally a given, and you should pre­pare for them. It gives you more con­fi­dence, espe­cially if English/ French is not your first lan­guage. I also used to research spe­cific terms related to the posi­tion and make a list of key­words. You can read 50 Most Com­mon Inter­view Ques­tions, as well as Com­mon Inter­view Ques­tions (a blog that lists the most com­mon ques­tions by job field).

Dur­ing the interview

  • Bring extra copies of your resume: good inter­view­ers usu­ally print out a copy of your resume and have it ready. But some… yeah, mis­place it. Avoid this awk­ward moment by bring­ing extra copies of your resume.
  • Make a good impres­sion: there is no easy answer to what you should wear, but use common-sense. Some indus­tries are more con­ser­v­a­tive than oth­ers (i.e bank­ing) and you should stick to the dress code. Mak­ing a good impres­sion also include greet­ing the recep­tion­ist, giv­ing a firm hand­shake, being on time etc.
  • Lis­ten care­fully: make sure you under­stand all the questions!
  • High­light your strengths: Cana­di­ans employ­ers expect you to mar­ket your­self. While this is con­sid­ered as brag­ging in some cul­ture is per­fectly accept­able here. Talk about your abil­i­ties and how you could add value to the com­pany and refer to your past work expe­ri­ence and achievements.
  • Give clear and con­cise answers: Cana­dian employ­ers are usu­ally pretty straight­for­ward and want some­one that can fit the posi­tion, period. Make sure you stay on topic and don’t waste time.
  • Don’t linger: once again, inter­views are not usu­ally very long. Once you are done with the ques­tion, restate your inter­est in work­ing in the com­pany, say thank you and leave.
  • Be pre­pared to pro­vide a list of ref­er­ences to vouch for your abil­i­ties: some inter­view­ers will email you later on for ref­er­ence check but some like to ask for them at the end of the inter­view. Just pre­pare a sheet with your ref­er­ence infor­ma­tion, such as name, email, phone num­ber etc and have it ready in case of.

After the interview

  • Send a thank you note: within a day or two of the inter­view, send an email thank­ing the inter­view for his time and restate your inter­est in the position.
  • Follow-up: if you haven’t heard any­thing form the com­pany by the date that they agreed to con­tact you, send a note ask­ing them for exam­ple how they are com­ing along with their decision.

About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. I liked the prac­ti­cal asser­tion and the infor­ma­tion on inter­views, I am adding this link also for future ref­er­ence and thanks for links too.….….…..

  2. @Beth — I would be the same read­ing advice on how to get a job in France come to think of it 😆

    Thank you for the encour­age­ment though, it’s nice to see the posts are useful.

    @Amar — Thank you! I hope you find them useful.

  3. Bring extra copies of your resume:” this is an absolute must, yet so many peo­ple for­get about it. I’d rather come out of the inter­view with resumes still under my arm then turn up ask­ing my future employ­ers to share resumes!

    Research the com­pany:” another great point! again its one of those sit­u­a­tions where it is bet­ter to know than not to know. it also shows that you are will­ing to research your future com­pany and role, if they don;t ask any ques­tions relat­ing to the com­pany it doesn’t hurt to men­tion some­thing about their company.

    Great arti­cle — i’ve digged, stum­bled and deli­cioused????
    .-= Per­fect CV´s last blog ..Cre­ate an Effec­tive CV =-.

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