As part of Cornerstone’s mission to help to find a job in Canada, we are giving you some helpful advice to help you feel prepared for your job interview.
Job interviews can make everyone feel a little nervous, whether you are a native speaker, or you speak English as a second language.
Every job interview will be a little different. However, there are some most common interview questions that you should know about.
1. Tell me about yourself
The employer wants you to feel comfortable and to talk about yourself as a professional.
- Summarize your resume.
- Start with what you studied at university or college and explain your main professional goal.
- Talk about the experiences that gave you important skills and helped you to develop professionally.
- Finish with what you are doing right now and why it is important to you.
- Keep it short. 90 seconds is just fine.
2. What are your strengths?
“Ummmm. Well I am hard working and flexible and a team-player”
“I am good at everything I do, and I never make any mistakes”
“I don’t think I have any strengths, but I have a lot of weaknesses”
Some of these things might be true. However, this is the moment to stand out from the crowd! What makes you personally a great employee?
Ask a friend, co-worker or classmate to tell you 3 of your strengths and why.
“My main strengths are collaborating with others on team projects and creating a friendly and professional environment for clients and co-workers”
“One of my strengths is being able to see possible issues and creating ways to prevent them”
“I have been told that my planning and organizational skills are very strong, which is great because I enjoy doing those things”
Make sure that the strengths are relevant to the company or position and try to give examples.
Maybe you don’t have direct experience, so transferable skills are always a strength.
3. What are your weaknesses?
Do not, I repeat, do not take this opportunity to list the things that you believe you are bad at!
Also, don’t forget that you are human, and everyone has something they can improve professionally.
Turn a negative into a positive.
“Sometimes I find it difficult to share work and I take on too much work for myself. It’s because I want to see a perfect result and become very involved in the project”
Think about a way that you have tried to improve your weakness.
“I would like to be a better public speaker, so I started to lead the staff meetings in my previous job, which helped me to feel confident speaking in larger groups”
Think about something that is not directly related to the job you want, but is something you can learn easily.
“I do not have much experience with payroll administration, but it is something that I am keen to learn as part of an administrative role”
4. Why are you interested in this job / company?
There could be many different reasons why you are interested in the job or company.
Research the company and choose 2 things that you like.
Some examples could be:
“I like the values of the company and what it represents”
“I am keen to get corporate experience in a larger organization”
“I can use the skills and experiences that I have developed and gain experience in an English speaking environment”
“I would like to work for a company that has a reputation for being innovative and always creating something new”
5. Tell me about a time you faced a difficult challenge. How did you deal with it?
This question is to discover how you deal with stress and conflict. You should have an example prepared before the interview.
- Explain the situation. What was the challenge?
- Explain what your role in the situation was.
- Describe the action that you took to solve the problem.
- Describe the outcome. What happened in the end?
This will demonstrate how you managed to achieve a successful outcome in a difficult situation.
- Read your resume before the interview.
- Write down some examples of answers to these questions and memorize them.
- Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer to repeat or explain a question – it is totally normal!
- Practice answering the questions with someone.
- Research the company before your interview.