As a newcomer in Canada, you may likely have had one or many job interviews before you moved. However, interviewing for the first time in a new country, in a new culture, can be nerve-wracking. A little information, access to valuable resources, and some practice can go a long way in helping you feel confident and ready for your first interview.
9 essential steps to help you prepare for a job interview in Canada
1. Analyze the job description
Take your time to read the job posting in its entirety and use it as a guide to inform your questions for the interviewer. A typical job posting will outline the responsibilities, desired qualifications, skills, and previous experiences.
Reading the job description thoroughly will give you a fair idea of what the employer is looking for. The more you are able to align yourself with the employer’s expectations, the better are your chances of landing the role. If there are specific areas where you sense a gap, prepare compelling responses to demonstrate your ability to learn and grow.
2. Do your research
Researching the company where you’re applying for a job is an important step in preparing for a job interview. It will not only help you ask relevant questions but also help you learn about the company and provide context during your interview conversations.
- Product and service offerings
- Key executives and their career paths
- Any recent news articles on the company or the executives
- Company culture
- Size of the company
- Market competition
Navigating the Canadian job market can be overwhelming. Arrive’s guide on Finding Your Career in Canada is a quick and concise overview that explains all the need-to-know information, and action items you can take to prepare yourself for finding and landing a job opportunity in Canada.
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3. Build your elevator pitch
Elevator pitches, as the name implies, are short (20-30 seconds or approximately 75 words) introductory speeches to introduce yourself. A good elevator pitch sounds natural and compelling. During an interview, it works as a great way to –
- Introduce yourself to a recruiter or an interviewer, and
- Answer the “Tell me about yourself” question.
You may use the following framework to craft an impressive elevator pitch for a job interview –
- Introduction: Start enthusiastically by mentioning your full name and providing a brief overview of your education and work experience.
- Expertise and ambition: Add in your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and a couple of things you want to highlight about yourself. Also, remember to focus on the problem you solve, not the actual job you do.
- Call-to-action: It’s good practice to end your elevator pitch by asking a question and allowing your contact to respond to it, thus making the pitch more conversational in nature.
For more details and examples of elevator pitches, see How to craft an impressive elevator pitch to enhance your personal brand.
4. Organize your portfolio or work samples
Compiling portfolios, work samples, or a self-managed blog are great ways to stand out from the competition, showcase your domain knowledge, and demonstrate how you can add value to the role and the organization. For those in creative fields such as design or art, having a portfolio is generally a requirement. For non-creative or marketing or strategy roles, going the extra mile by imagining yourself in the role and preparing a strategy or a 30-60-90 day plan in alignment with the job description is an excellent way to build employer trust.
5. Prepare to answer common interview questions for your role
In Canada, a phone interview is usually the first step to getting hired for a role. On the phone call, the recruiter will ask you questions about your professional experience and skills. This is usually followed up with in-person (or video) interviews with the hiring manager and other team members to test your domain knowledge and organizational fit.
The initial interview rounds or screening rounds, as they call it, will often have similar questions ranging from “Tell me about yourself” to “What are your strengths/weaknesses.” It’s important not to memorize answers to each of these questions but instead have an overall idea of key points that you would like to convey and adopt a very natural, conversational style while answering them.
To help you prepare for commonly-asked questions during job interviews in Canada, see the article, 10 common job interview questions and how to answer them.
|The interview process can be confusing and overwhelming. Prepped is an excellent resource for you to practice your interview skills and prep for the interview process in Canada.|
6. Think about questions you would like to ask the interviewer
At the end of interviews, whether virtual, on the phone, or in-person, the interviewer will usually ask you if you have any questions for them. It is a good idea to prepare some questions in advance based on the company research you do or considering the points you may have read in the job posting. However, be mindful of not asking questions that can be easily found online.
Asking questions during an interview is a great opportunity to –
- Learn more about the position and the organization, and
- To clarify any doubts or questions you may have.
Asking relevant questions at the end of the interview,
- Reflects your genuine interest in the position;
- Demonstrates your attentiveness during the interview;
- Shows that you’ve done your background research; and
- Helps you evaluate if the organization and the team are a good fit for you.
7. Know your resume
Ensure that you are well aware of all information on your resume and be prepared to elaborate on any of the points mentioned. Have specific case examples of your work experience ready to support your resume.
To learn more about how to write a Canadian-style resume and get free downloadable templates, see How to write a resume for the Canadian job market.
8. Pick your interview outfit
Your interview outfit should be well-fitted, clean, pressed, and matched with appropriate accessories and shoes. Business formals are generally preferred at interviews.
9. Plan your journey to the interview
For in-person interviews, be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes earlier than the scheduled time. Have the address handy and check traffic and weather conditions the night before, as well as before leaving. If using public transit, keep an eye out for any delays. Be courteous and cordial with everyone you meet in the building as you may bump into company staff at any point.
Navigating the job market in a new country may make you nervous, and it may seem stressful. But with the right resources and guidance at your disposal, you’ll be sure to emerge with flying colours!