Preparing for Job Interviews


Preparing for Job interviews

What is an interview?

An interview is a marketing situation, where you have the opportunity to sell yourself to an organization. The better you know what you are selling, the more successful you can be. Regardless of whether an interview is for full-time work, a summer position, or for professional school, preparation is crucial.

Interviews are a process with before, during, and after components. This page contains information on the ‘before’ component: preparing for interviews. The resources/services listed under “How We Can Help” (see below) contain further tips and information on interview preparation. In addition, they provide information on effective performance during the interview, and post-interview tips to help you make a positive impression to employers.

Preparing for the interview

1. Know yourself and how you fit with the position.

  • What job-specific skills (e.g., accounting skills, lab skills, editing skills), experience and education do you have that would fit the position? Think of skills you have that match what the employer is seeking. Also, think of concrete examples of when you demonstrated each.
  • What transferable skills (e.g., communication, time management, leadership) have you developed in your experiences that you can relate to the position? These skills can be drawn from paid, volunteer, academic, and extra-curricular experiences and accomplishments. Think of concrete examples from your experiences to show how you used each of these skills.

2. Know the organization. Research the company and the industry using the company website and external sites. You can also speak directly to company representatives and individuals working in the industry, by attending panels and career fairs. Our Company Research tip sheet contains further information to help you conduct your research.

3. Prepare answers to typical questions.

  • Common types of interview questions fall into several categories: open-ended, behavioural, and situational. Here are some sample questions to help you prepare.
  • Give examples in your answers to support the points you are making, and the skills you are promoting about yourself. Use the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your answers to behavioural questions and make them complete. STAR is reviewed in the Career Centre’s Effective Interviews workshop (see below).

4. Prepare three to five questions of your own to ask the interviewer/employer.

5. PRACTICE! Practice helps you become more confident, and can help you become more comfortable with expressing how your background makes you an ideal candidate.

How we can help

Job search tip sheets

Effective Interviews Workshop

  • To learn what questions to expect and how to present yourself positively, see our Events Calendar for workshop dates and times.

Practice Interview appointments

  • Book an individual practice interview session where you can practice answering typical questions and receive feedback on how to improve. To book your session, call us at 905-828-5451 or drop by the Career Centre (DV 3094).

Books in the Career Centre Resource Library

  • Useful books to help you prepare for interviews include: Nail the Job Interview; Naked at the Interview; Ace the Technical Interview; The Interview Kit; and more.

Further resources

Open-ended, behavioural and situational questions

Effective Interviews tip sheet

Wondering what to wear to an interview, info session or networking event? Check out Dress for Success.