So, You’ve Landed an Interview…Now What?

By Heidi Griffin

First things first: Congratulations! There’s a reason you were booked for this interview, perhaps you had a strong and intriguing resume, a natural connection to the place of employment, or maybe it was your stellar networking skills. Either way, for some people, the thought of interviewing can put them into a tailspin.  Here are some tips for how to deliver a compelling, memorable interview.

1. If you’ve applied to a job online, try and find the original job posting. Knowing the job duties and requirements of candidates is vital if you get an interview, as you’ll be gathering information from that job posting to prepare yourself for the interview. 

Tip: Save the information from job postings to your computer (or email to yourself) upon applying online, so you can refer back if postings are taken off the website. Some companies remove postings once they get to the interview stage. 

If you’re interviewing for a position that wasn’t advertised online, try finding a past advertisement online, or a similar role at a different company. Knowing job duties and desired qualifications and skills of candidates will help in an interview if asked “What are your strengths?” or “What makes you a good candidate for the role?”, as you can highlight strengths, skills, and qualities that make you a strong applicant. 

Tip: Try using AI or Chat GPT for assistance if you can’t find the original posting, or if details in the posting are sparce. For example, AI can easily answer “What are the typical job duties for a Crew Member at McDonald’s?” 

2. Research the company that you are interviewing for. Look for information on their values, their mission/vision, if they have an endearing backstory about how they started, etc. Know what products or services they provide, and who are the customers and clients of the business. Knowing more about the company will help you align yourself within in the interview if asked questions such as “Why do you want to work for this company?”

Tip: Google is your friend when it comes to researching companies! You can also read news articles about the company, speak to someone who currently works there, and visit the business to make observations.

3. Know how to answer behavioral style questions. Many companies will incorporate these styles of questions in their interview process, to build a sense of how you will respond when you’re faced with difficult situations. These questions tend to start with “Give me an example about a time when…” or “Tell me how you would respond if…”. A great way to answer these questions is by staying on track using the STAR method. Your answer to behavioral questions should include these components.

Situation: What was the situation?

Task: What was the task and goal?

Action: What was the action you took?

Result: What was the result? 

Tip: Watch video examples of the STAR method being used within an interview format. 

Tip: You can use STAR examples from work and volunteer experiences, practicums, school, and home.

4. Practice, practice, practice! Prepare yourself by practicing interview questions with a friend or natural support, or you can record yourself and watch back to see how you presented yourself when answering questions. In addition to common questions already mentioned in the points above, be prepared to speak about yourself, your work history, your weaknesses, your availability, etc.

Tip: Did you know the Youth Employment Centre offers mock interview practice?  We’ve been helping young people prepare for interviews for over 30 years, and we have a good sense of what types of questions might be asked within different industries (retail, labour, childcare, hospitality, etc.). Drop in to see us today to book this helpful service and build your confidence prior to interviewing! You’ll receive valuable tips and feedback on your interview answers.

5. Be prepared to ask questions of the employer. Most interviews will conclude with “Do you have any questions for us?”.  Having at least two strong questions prepared shows the interviewer that you are invested in the role and allows them to measure your interest in the organization, along with your maturity and professionalism skills. 

Tip: Ask questions about the training process, opportunities for advancement, how the team collaborates, and performance expectations and evaluations. Avoid questions about breaks, vacation time, if you can date people you work with, the competitors of the organization, worst things about the job, etc.

6. Interview day: TAKE A DEEP BREATH! You’ve got this. Make sure to be on time, ensuring your clothes and hygiene are well-kept (avoid perfumes/colognes), turn your phone on silent, spit out that gum, leave your parents in the car or at home, and go into that interview with a firm handshake and good eye contact. It’s your time to shine!

Employment Counsellors at the Youth Employment Centre are available to help youth aged 15-24 with job search and career planning year round. No appointment is necessary. Drop-in weekdays from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Our address is 315-10th Avenue SE, 2nd floor. Bring a copy of your resume and Social Insurance Number.

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