How to ace your job interview
How to ace your job interview
No matter how qualified you are for your career (and colleges like Centennial will make sure you’re very qualified,) you’ll still need to take part in a job interview sooner or later. At Centennial College, we’ll set you up with the practical skills you need to be successful in your career, but it’s up to you to let employers know that you have the skills. Fortunately, we can help with that, too, through our Career Centre, which can stage mock interviews, and give you feedback on how to make yourself the best interview subject possible. In addition, many Centennial programs include a career development component, where they’ll help you with applications and interviews as well. To get you started, here are a few tips on how you can ace any job interview to get you started.
Have some answers prepared
Of course, to do that, you need to know what you’re going to be asked. At the end of this piece, I’ll list out a set of questions I was given in college that I’ve successfully used to get the job in the past. While they’re probably not exactly what you’ll be asked, it’s the answers you’ll craft for them that are the important part, since they can be applied to multiple questions, and can give you a bank of information you can go into the interview with.
In other words, do some research, starting before you even apply for the job. While you’re researching, learn about the history of the company, their corporate culture, what they sell, and what they offer. If you can bring up things you learned during the interview, it’ll let you tailor your answers to the company’s culture, and also show that you’re prepared and dedicated.
Dress for the part
Better to be overdressed than underdressed, because like it or not, you will be judged on your appearance, so you might as well go formal, and make sure you’re properly groomed. If you’re having trouble getting your hands on business clothes, Centennial College can help with that, thanks to our special store on Progress Campus, First Impressions, that connects you to professional business wear that’s affordable to the average student.
Be honest, and don’t exaggerate
If you’re really keen to get the job, you may be tempted to say whatever you need to get it. But this will just cause problems down the line, and if you sell yourself as being able to do things that you actually can’t, you could find your job in jeopardy, and get a big black mark on your career. Better to be realistic about your skills, which should fit the position you’re trying to get, anyway.
Focus on what you achieved, instead of what you did
This is something a lot of people get hung up on. When you’re talking about your previous jobs, it’s a person’s instinct to list off what they did at that job, and leave it at that. For example, if you were an online journalist, you might say you were tasked with researching, writing and publishing articles. What you should be doing instead is focusing on your successes during your job. How well did those articles do? If you can show evidence of your success, it’ll make you look much stronger.
Understand what “tell me about yourself” means
“Tell me about yourself” does mean to talk a little bit about your personal history, like where you came from and what your interests are, but some interviewees make the mistake of overloading their response with personal details. “Tell me about yourself” is also a call to talk about your professional history in the form of your education and work experience. I generally aim for one-third personal stuff, and two-thirds career stuff, with the personal part, mostly serving to explain why you got into the career field
Always send a thank-you note
It’s an easily-skipped step, but it’s one that’ll help them remember you long after you’ve left, and may just be the deciding factor in getting the job. So send one, even if it’s just through email.
A list of possible interview questions:
- What is your greatest strength, and your greatest weakness?
- How would you describe the pace at which you work?
- How do you handle stress and pressure?
- What motivates you?
- Tell me about yourself.
- Give me an example of a time when you used your fact-finding skills to solve a problem.
- What are you passionate about?
- What annoys or bothers you in the workplace?
- What do people most often criticize about you?
- Tell me about a time when you showed initiative and took the lead.
- When was the last time you were angry? What happened?
- Do you prefer to work independently or on a team? Why?
- What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example.
- What type of work environment do you prefer?
- How do you evaluate success?
- Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and were required to prioritize your tasks.
- If you know your boss is 100 percent wrong about something, how do you handle it?
- Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
- Describe a difficult work situation and how you overcame it.
- What interests you about this job?
- Why do you want this job?
- Why are you the best person for the job?
- What are your goals for the next three years?
- Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
By Anthony Geremia