My cover letter caught their attention; my resume was great. Now I have an interview! How do I prepare? I don't want to blow it!
Some things to consider:
Be prepared. Research the company ahead of time--that can give you an edge in answering their questions and also a heads up in knowing what questions to ask them. They will be impressed, knowing you were interested enough in working for them that you took the time to learn about them.
Dress to impress--appropriately to get the job you are applying for. A construction worker, artist, entertainer, business consultant, engineer, architect, actor, health care worker, accountant, teacher all have different skills and job requirements. The first impression can set the tone for the interview.
Appear confident and self-assured. This will inspire confidence in your abilities. I once made the mistake of appearing too confident and too relaxed. We all enjoyed the interview and laughed a lot, but I didn't get the job. Remember, they are not your friends, but potential employers. Even if applying for a job working for a friend, they want to know you are sincere.
Bring several copies of your resume with you. The interviewers will probably have a copy with them and may refer to it. I suggest several copies in case there are more than one interviewer and they don't each have a copy--but YOU are prepared.
BE ON TIME! Make sure you know how to get there and give yourself plenty of time. You never know what may happen on the way to the interview--you may take a wrong turn, run into traffic or delays on the TTC.
Do some practice interviews beforehand, with a friend acting as the employer. If possible, tape these. Then you can see how well you do or where you need improvement.
The library has some books, audiobooks and e-books that may help you--and with a lot more ideas than I have given you. And don't forget the library's Find Your Way to Job & Career Help. There you will find lists of databases, books, and websites to help you be successful in getting the job you want.
Check out some of these:
There are two upcoming 5-day job search workshops, one in October and another in November 2012.
A career counselor will help newcomers who are Permanent Residents, Convention Refugees, or Live-In Caregivers with developing a professional resume, cover letters, job interview techniques, how to market your skills effectively, Canadian labour market information, networking/hidden job market, understanding work place culture, and other job search tools.
When: October 22, 23, 24, 25, and 26, 2012
November 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30, 2012
Where: North York Central Library, Room 2/3
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Call 416-395-5613 to register
My daughter recently had an interview for a job in Mexico. Did the company fly her down for the interview? No. Did they pick up the phone and call her for an interview over the telephone? No. Her interview was conducted via Skype.
How is preparing for an interview on-line different than preparing for one in person? There are many things to consider - one of the biggest being, how do I look on camera? Check out these tips from a media expert interviewed on time.com.
Some things to consider include:
A few other websites with good advice on this topic include:
There are sections of a number of books that include Skype and online interview tips. Check out a few of these available at TPL branches.
But of course, ultimately it will be your qualifications that will land you the job. Good luck putting your best face forward!
We've all had them - the interview that you came out of that you were sure you bombed. Sometimes your perception of how you did doesn't match up with how you really did. But sometimes you just KNOW that you didn't perform well under pressure.
Luckily, there are many suggestions out there on how to regain your confidence and learn from your bad experience, which ultimately will give you a better interview the next time.
In her post "7 things you can do after a really bad job interview", Forbes staffer Jacquelyn Smith shares some thoughts about recovery and healing after. A few things that the experts suggest include:
Every interview, you learn something about yourself and about how you perform under pressure. You will come up with better ways to answer standard questions and eventually you will be successful.
Of course practice and preparation make perfect. Why not have a look at some of the new books on interviewing that many TPL branches have:
A career counselor from CultureLink will help newcomers who are Permanent Residents, Convention Refugees, or Live-In Caregivers with developing a professional resume, cover letters, job interview techniques, how to market your skills effectively, Canadian labour market information, networking/hidden job market, understanding work place culture, and other job search tools.
When: June 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15, 2012
Where: North York Central Library, Room 2/3
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Call 416-395-5613 to register.
You might be new to Canada, a new graduate, have a disability, be looking to re-enter the job market, or to change your career. Job fairs can be exciting or intimidating. The key is to be prepared! Be confident! Be self-assured!
Come and join us Thursday, March 8, 2012 for the Career and Job Fair, Opening Doors to Your Future. The library will have a booth and we hope to see you there.
Where: North York Central Library, 5120 Yonge St.
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Exhibitors include: Canadian Tire, InCharge Canada, Paragon Security, VHA Home HealthCare, and many, many more!
For more information, call Terruce Lau at 416-392-4107
Bring copies of your resume, print and electronic versions, and be prepared to "knock the socks" off potential employers with your professionalism. This event is sponsored by TESS, the Toronto Employment & Social Services (North York district offices) and the Toronto Public Library.
But wait! There are MORE!
Sunday, March 4, 2012, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Constitution Hall, Room 105 - 106, North Building, 255 Front Street West
Thursday, March 29, 2012, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Hilton Downtown Toronto, 145 Richmond Street West
Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building, 222 Bremner Boulevard
Remember to "Dress for Success!" Be neat, tidy, and not overdressed. Whatever your age, dress appropriately--don't try to appear older or younger than you are.
Here are some hints I picked up from Do's & Don'ts, an article by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D. If you want to read his article for additinal tips, click on the link.
Your resume was great and now you have the interview. What questions will they ask? What questions CAN they ask? Is that a LEGAL question? You ask yourself, "How do I prepare? How should I answer? What should I wear?"
Research the company. Find out as much as you can about it. Speak to people already working in the same field. You already did some of this when first applying for the job. The more you know, the better prepared you are.
First impressions can make or break an interview.
I heard of someone going for interview after interview and not getting the job. She couldn't understand why. She was well-prepared, had a good resume, and was "dressed for success"--or so she thought. Finally she asked someone in the same field if they could find out what she was doing wrong. It turns out she was a member of a mystery book club and wore the club pin, a skull and cross-bones, to her interviews to show her interest in books and reading. She thought it would HELP her get the job. The interviewers saw the skull and cross-bones and thought, "Hmmmm. I don't think I want this person working for us." They didn't know about that book club!
The pin might have helped her for a different job--something to do with Halloween, buccaneers, pirates, mysteries, or horror shows. It even might have helped in these interviews if she had mentioned the pin and what it stood for! Make your first impressions count--but in the right way.
The library has books, ebooks, DVDs, and recommended websites that can help you prepare for your interview. On the Toronto Public Library home-page, check out Find Your Way to Job & Career Help and click on Market Yourself. There you will find some of our newest books and helpful links such as the Guide to Interviewing Resources, from Quintessential Careers, and The Interview Game: Illegal Questions, from Career Link.
For more titles in our catalogue, you can search subjects such as Employment interviewing and Employee selection. You can narrow the search down by applying a date-range or other limiters. Some of the titles you get may be about questions the employer should ask. You can take a look at these as well, to get an idea of the answers the interviewer might be looking for.
Don't forget to practice! Get a friend to role play with you and practice being interviewed. Film it if you can. You can--then you can see how you're doing.
Here are some books you can take a look at:
Numerous psychological studies and popular culture have instill in us the benefits of body-language mimicry - whether you're on a date, trying to sell something or someone - yourself! It's long been many people's belief that one of the things you can do in an interview to give yourself an edge is to mimic some of the interviewer's mannerisms, eg. touching your chin or sitting the same way as the interviewer. But a new study recently completed suggests that it may not be to your favour. I find mimicry to be very unoriginal and in an interview, you want to come across as someone who is competent, takes initiatives, has her own ideas and works well with others.
Some good reading material:
Spring brings the usual rush of new university graduates into the job market. My family is no exception. My daughter is ready to launch her professional career after years of university. She has applied and successfully interviewed for part time jobs over the years, but these are "the" interviews that will hopefully land her a full time job and begin her career. Like every good helicoptering parent, I wonder what I can do to help.
I have talked to a number of colleagues and friends who have shared some random tips that they have gotten either with first hand experience or through books and I thought they might merit repeating.
Applying for jobs: Since most jobs are applied for electronically, when applying for a job by e-mail, take the time to find the name of a real person at the company to address your application to. When signing your e-mail, use a font that looks like a signature.
Once you have the interview: Get books or go to websites that offer sample interview questions. Have a friend (or parent) do a mock interview. Practice answers, think of real experiences that you can use as examples of either problem solving or group work and/ or talking points that will help you during the interview, when you may be too nervous to think of them.
Beginning of the interview: Many interviews begin with the query "tell us a little about yourself". They don't want to know how many brothers and sisters you have - they want you to put yourself in context with the job you are applying for.
End of the interview: Many interviews end with the query "is there anything else that you would like to add that we haven't covered in the interview?" Take this time to thank the interviewer for the opportunity to be considered for the job and use this moment to make a final "pitch" of your qualifications and fit for the job at hand. You can address any "holes" in your qualifications that might have come up in the interview.
Post interview: Take a minute after you walk out of the interview and write down questions that you were asked. They will help you practice for the next interview. Take a minute to write either a card or e-mail and thank the person who interviewed you and if there was something that you failed to mention in the interview about yourself - now is the time to add it.
And remember - you learn something from every interview you have - and an unsuccessful interview gives you a chance to build and improve for the interview that actually does land you the job.