How do I prepare for a job interview?

Employers choose the most qualified applicants to interview and it’s usually the final step to securing a job. Go in prepared and confident!

What research should I do?

The first thing you should do to prepare is to research. There are a wealth of resources on the internet that can help you predict many of the questions you’ll be asked and prepare strong responses for them. 

You should research:

  • Common interview questions like these to explain your background and experiences
  • The original job posting you applied to, so you can explain how you meet specific qualifications the employer is looking for 
  • The company you want to work for, to show how you can fit into their culture 
  • Someone who works at the company, to ask them about the interview process
  • Someone who holds a similar position at another company, to help you understand the requirements of the job and what strengths can help you thrive

How do I practice for a job interview? 

Although you can never know every question an interviewer may ask, most of the questions will ask you to describe experiences you had and what role you played. For these types of questions, try to keep in mind a few anecdotes and share them using the STAR method:

Situation – Give an example of a past experience by setting the scene and giving relevant details.

Task – Describe what responsibilities you had in the situation you’re describing. 

Action – Explain what steps you took to address the situation. 

Result – Share what outcomes your actions achieved. 

Once you’ve thought of some anecdotes and experiences that demonstrate your strengths as a candidate, you should practice sharing them.

It’s easy to forget the points you want to make, especially when in high pressure situations like interviews. Not only do you need to remember your responses, you also need to remember everything else you should do to make a good impression, like introducing yourself to the interviewer or thanking them once it’s done. 

The best way to calm your nerves and go in prepared is to practice. You can practice by:

  • Responding to questions in the mirror 
  • Recording your practice sessions on camera so you can review the footage and see how you want to improve
  • Asking a friend to pretend to be the hiring manager and getting their feedback

Community organizations partnered with Employment Ontario can not only help you practice for the interview but they can also give you tips on improvements you can make. Places like Times Change Women’s Employment Service and The 519 can also help with interview practice. 

What do I wear to a job interview?

What to wear for an interview depends on the company and position you are interviewing for. For example, a mid-level position for a financial company might require business casual attire, but an entry level position in a creative company might not. 

It is important while researching to also pay attention to the environment of that company to get an idea of the clothes you need to wear to the interview. For all interviews, however, you will want to be clean and presentable in clothing that is also clean, free of rips and tears, and without any major logos or writing. 

Here are some guidelines to help you find the right interview outfit:

  • Wear dark slacks, jeans, or knee-length skirt 
  • Avoid low-cut tops or t-shirts and go for shirts or blouses
  • Wear flats or small heels, but make sure they’re closed toes
  • Cover tattoos and body piercings 
  • Go for muted colours and avoid a lot of patterns and accessories 

Agencies like Dress for Success and Dress Your Best can help you find appropriate clothing. If you are in London, Strathroy, or Woodstock Clothing Works can also be a good resource. 

What do I bring to a job interview?

Interviewers will be impressed if you come in prepared to demonstrate why you’re a good fit and open to feedback. 

Show them you’re the perfect candidate by bringing with you: :

  • Multiple copies of your resume and cover letter
  • Examples of your work, if the position needs it (e.g., writing or design samples, sales records, etc.)
  • References or testimonials from past managers or clients
  • A notepad and pen to write down interviewers’ feedback and questions that come up during the process

Organizing all your documents in a manila folder and actively engaging in the interview, will make you stand out from all the other candidates. 

How do I prepare for a virtual interview?

As the world changes, virtual interviews are becoming more common. It is important to prepare for your virtual interview and treat it as if you are going in person. 

Make sure to test your camera and microphone before the interview and set up somewhere that is quiet, has good lighting, and a neutral background. Even though the camera will focus on your top half, dress for the interview from head to toe in case you need to get up.

Finally, have a copy of your resume, or even answers to questions on hand, to reference during the interview. Place your documents somewhere you can see them but won’t distract from the interview itself.