In Canada there are different methods a hiring manager may use to conduct a job interview. If you are outside of Canada, the job interview may take place by telephone or Skype. If you are residing in Canada then most likely the job interview will take place in the office of the company or organization that you are applying for employment.
Job interviews in Canada may be different from interviews in other countries. While it is important to always be
professional and prepared for the interview, in Canada job interviews can be a relaxed two way conversation. The hiring manager will ask you questions and at the end of the interview you will be expected to ask questions to the interviewer. During the interview the hiring manager will want to see your personality and how well you interact with others. Hiring managers place a lot of value on how well a potential job applicant will fit into the workplace and be a part of the team.
Here are top tips for job interviews in Canada:
- Research the company that you will be meeting with. How long have they been in business? Who are their major customers? Have they received any awards recently? You should learn more about the company from their website and also look at relevant industry news in Canada.
- Make sure you have mapped out where your job interview will be. You should prepare to arrive at least 15 minutes early. Make sure you have planned transportation and parking to allow for extra time in case of a delay.
- Professional dress. Even if you are applying for a less formal position or the work environment is casual, you will want to dress to impress. For men that means a shirt with a collar and a tie and for women that can be a long sleeved blouse with skirt or trousers. Keep shoes clean and have a tidy appearance. Before you go into the office, visit a bathroom and make sure you have a neat look. First impressions count.
- Extra copies of your resume. Bring with you a neat folder with two extra copies of your resume and one sheet of your references with contact details. You can also include a copy of a reference letter. This is helpful for the person interviewing you as they may need to share your resume and references with their manager. Providing a list of references shows the hiring manager you are prepared for the job.
Before you have your job interview, it is important to practice your job interview questions. You can ask a friend to pretend to be the hiring manager and ask you questions. Then when you have the actual job interview you will feel more comfortable and at ease. But try not to sound too rehearsed.
Common questions that you may have in a job interview in Canada are:
- Tell us about yourself. For this question (and all interview questions keep the answers to 3 minutes long) they want to understand your previous work background. Always keep your answers positive and highlight the projects you did well on.
- What major challenges and problems did you face at your previous job? You want to answer this question in a positive manner. Highlight how you turned a potentially negative situation and made it into a positive learning opportunity. For example, “I found that accounting was a challenge for me in my previous job and so I decided to take a class at night to improve my accounting skills. Now I am confident and able to do all of my accounting tasks successfully.”
- They may ask you “Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?” You want to answer this question with a genuine reply and at the same time, respond with an answer which will show your ongoing interest in the company. This is not a question about your personal life, the hiring manager wants to see if you plan on staying with their company long term and what your professional goals are. A good response is that you would like to continue to improve your skills and contribute to the company. Be honest with your response.
Here are some tips of what you do not want to do for your job interview:
- Don’t be late
- Don’t answer your phone during the job interview
- Don’t bring a drink or food with you
- Don’t stare at the floor or the desk (always make eye contact with the hiring manager)
- Don’t talk too much
At the end of the job interview make sure to thank the interviewer for their time. Look them in the eyes and tell them that you are very interested in the job.
After the interview, you can send a short thank you email to the hiring manager. In the email, you can thank the hiring manager for their time and share with them that you are ready to make a contribution to the position.
Usually the company or organization will provide you with a date that they expect to make their decision. If you don’t hear back from them by this date, then you can contact the hiring manger to see if they have made a decision.
If you got the job, congratulations! If you didn’t get the job, you can ask the hiring manager for feedback on your job interview and application. With this feedback you will be able to improve your job interview skills and do an even better interview next time.
Written by Sacha DeVoretz, blog contributor to Bell Alliance Global Immigration Services Inc.