How to prepare for an interview

Here is a checklist of things to do to get ready for the interview.

Know the name of the interviewer, his or her title and information about the business or organization.

  1. Dress appropriately. Clean hair and clean clothes are very important. You do not have to always wear a suit or dress. If the job requires casual clothes they are appropriate to wear. You may wish to ask when the interview is being arranged what type of clothing is appropriate to wear.
  2. Arrive early. Arrive at least 10 minutes early.

During the Interview

BE POLITE. Greet the employer. Politely say, “Hello, my name is ________.” Before you sit down wait until he/she sit down or he/she invites you to be seated. Use a firm handshake, but only if they offer their hand first.

  1. BE CONFIDENT. Employers like people who:
    • Express themselves clearly.
    • Answer concisely and succinctly. Prepare the answers to the questions in the last action. If you are prepared, you will be more confident and relaxed.
    • Try to sit comfortably in your chair. Avoid swinging your foot or wringing your hands.
    • If you don’t know the answer to a question, admit it.
    • If you don’t have the experience they request, don’t bluff that you do.
    • Don’t exaggerate your qualifications.
    • When the employer thanks you for coming it is time to leave.
    • Conclude by something like, “I hope that I have given you all the information that you need. Thank you for granting me this interview.”

Prepare yourself for the interview by preparing for the questions that you expect to be asked. Following are 14 commonly asked questions.

  1. What are your career plans?
    • Your answer will enable the employer to assess your ability to organize your life and set objectives for yourself. Also, the employer prefers a student who is positive and ambitious. List the programs that you would like to take in college, university or other similar programs
  2. While you were at school, did you take part in extra-curricular activities?
    • This will indicate to the employer things like: your ability to work with others in a team to accomplish a goal; your ability to follow instructions; your perseverance to practice and work hard to achieve a goal; you loyalty; your dependability and commitment to a project.
  3. At school, what subjects did you excel at and which ones did you find difficult?
    • Try to emphasize your strengths in relation to the job that you are applying for. If it is a banking job and you were good in math, this would be good to emphasize. Other combinations might include: a secretarial job and keyboarding; a physical labour job and physical education.
  4. Where have you worked previously. For example in the summer?
    • This question invites you to tell about your summer jobs and experiences. Relate them to the job that you are applying for. For example, if you cut grass for three neighbours it suggests that you were willing to work, were dependable and took on some responsibility.
  5. What do you know about this company? or What do you expect to do at this job?
    • Your knowledge of the job that you are applying for is very important. If you do not have the initiative to find out about the company and the job, the employer will not likely be very interested in hiring you. Describe a job and company that would suit you.
  6. What leisure-time activities do you enjoy?
    • Do you use your spare time in creative and productive activities or do you only watch television. List the things that you do that are active rather than passive.
  7. Why should we hire you?
    • Refer to your resume. State the similarities in your education, interests, work experience and the job that your are applying for. Select a job and make a list of things that are in your resume that would have prepared you for that job.
  8. What do you think of you former teachers, school and employers?
    • Be positive. List a former teacher and a former employer indicating how they influenced you in a positive way.
  9. How are you doing at school?
    • Be honest. Below summarize: the grade you are in, how well you do in English, math and your best subjects.
  10. What abilities or skills do you have that are directly related to the job you are applying for?
    • Make a list of your best qualities. For example: dependable, punctual, work well with people. For each quality give one example to prove it.
  11. How many hours are you willing to work per week?
    • Be honest. Remember that over 15 hours of work per week usually causes serious problems with students school work. If you only wish to work on the weekends, say so. Indicate below how many hours per week you would be willing to work and when.
  12. What makes you think that you will like this type of work?
    • Give examples of how this job is related of you interests, past work experience and your personality.
  13. Why did you leave your last job?
    • Be specific. “I had to spend more time on my school work. I didn’t like working late at night. It is not a good idea to respond, “It didn’t pay enough.”
  14. Do you have any questions?
    • Have some questions ready. Make up a question on each of the following:
    • Clarification of the duties of the job, the work schedule, when you would start, etc.
    • Ask about the people with whom you will be working.
    • Ask about opportunities for advancement.

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