If you’ve been networking for quite some time now and working hard on your resume and cover letters, chances are you are getting requests for phone interviews and/or face-to-face interviews. Here is a list of what kind of questions you should expect.
- Tell me about yourself
Whether it’s on the phone or in person, you will be asked to introduce yourself. Recruiters expect a short presentation of your professional background and what place you’re currently at. Present yourself in an original way, while following what is written on your resume (without repeating it).
- Why did you leave your last job/Why do you want to leave your current position?
Be honest, but not disrespectful to your past or current employer. If you hate the management you were or are under, just say this company was or is not a good fit for you. Use this as an opportunity to show that your values are aligned with the ones the business you’re looking to join is supporting.
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
Not knowing is okay, but always show you have some plan - preferably one that includes the company that is interviewing you. If you are applying for an entry-level position, you can say that you are hoping to learn a lot and try to gain more responsibilities along the way. Show that you are ready to commit.
- What is your most significant achievement?
It’s your time to shine. Keep in mind that in North America, being proud of something that you’ve done isn’t being presumptuous. Canadians/Americans love hearing stories. Don’t just tell them “I did that,” tell them how you did it. It will say a lot to them about who you are as a person.
Can you tell me about a time when
If you’ve prepared correctly, you have thought of stories to tell, reflecting your abilities, soft and hard skills. It is where those stories will come in handy.
For example, if you are applying for a position in customer service, you will most likely be asked to tell about a time you handled an irate customer or a time when you went above and beyond for a customer.
This goes for every position and industry. You will be asked if you have ever faced a situation you are most likely to encounter in your new job. Don’t hesitate to look upon the internet “Interview questions for this or that position.” The Balance, Forbes or Glassdoor have useful lists that will give you a good idea of what to expect.
Our tip: Don’t just read those questions, take the time to answer them. Ask yourself: “What will it say about me?”. Make sure your answers will reflect the image you want the recruiters or your future manager to have of you.
What would you do if…?
When a question like that comes up, recruiters might be letting you know what your future tasks could be. It is time to try and impress them.
The best advice we can give you is to be yourself. Don’t rush your answers. One way to stall is to repeat the question.
For example, if you’re asked, “what would you do if you were asked to deliver a project a week before the original deadline?”. You can start your answer this way: “If I had to deliver a project a few days before the original deadline, I would….” It may seem like nothing, but it gives you a few more seconds to think about your answer.
Your stories can be beneficial here: you may have faced a similar situation before, so use it. Tell them how you handled things when you had to, and what you’ve learned from it. Don’t be afraid to say “I did this, but I could have done it this way, so that’s how I would do it.”
Our tip: When you can’t find an answer at the top of your head, don’t panic. It’s okay. Don’t be afraid to ask: “What do you mean, exactly?”, Even if you entirely understood. It will give you time to think.
Why do you want to work with us?
It is why you need to do your homework and make research on the company. We’ve said it before, but recruiters are looking for people not only to do the job but also to join the team. Instead, they’d hire someone who will need to be taught a few things but be a great team player, than someone who won’t have anything to learn but will not fit in.
Do you have questions?
Yes, you do. If you don’t, it means you don’t care about the company.
At the end of the phone interview, try and ask about the company’s work environment. You can also inquire about what is a typical day of work for someone occupying the position you’ve applied for, and about the company’s future challenges and growth strategy.
In a face-to-face interview, asking about the three first tasks you’d be assigned if you were hired to show a real interest in the position, as well as what kind of feedback you could expect. Inquire about the projects you would be working on, who your team would be. Show that you care.
After your interview, think of following up. Allow half a day, then send an email stating that you were happy to meet with them. Don’t hesitate to remind them why they should move on to the next step with you, and why you would like to work with them. Some of you might have an immigration challenge on top of this during the process. Be proactive by explaining the process and sharing any useful links.
If you want more advice on how to master job interviews, don’t hesitate to come and meet our volunteers for our next event. You can also become one of our members and request a Face-to-Face to get a lot of tips for your job search!