The Interview

“First of all SHOW UP ON TIME! This is just a given…”

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude”
-Zig Ziglar

The Big Day is here. You have applied for a position with a company you like. The hiring manager has called to set up a meeting. What do you do? First of all SHOW UP ON TIME! This is just a given.  Some other tips below.

  1. Research! Find out about the products/services and people at your prospective employer. What do they value? Who is their competition and why did you choose this one over that one? Have they won any awards lately? Were you referred? What did that person tell you? Get some facts, get them right, and go with it. The interviewer will more than likely ask you what you know about the company.
  1. Dress the part! Make sure you are put together, well-groomed and dressed business, to business casual. You do not need to go out and buy a new suit or dress (unless for a high level position) but your clothes should be pressed and clean. Your hair, neat and styled. Men; clean shaven or neatly trimmed, Ladies; daytime make-up. Nails trimmed and clean. Don’t forget your shoes; give them a polish. If you look the part you will feel more confident. Even if you are applying for a labor or casual dress position, you should present yourself professionally at the meeting. Once you have the offer you can talk to your manager about the dress code. NOTE: One touchy subject that has been brought up is visible tattoos and piercings. While some work places may have no opinion about body art, others care very much about the image their employees portray. It has been my experience that now a day’s even doctors and lawyers sport body art and it is quite acceptable, but you do not need to advertise it on your first meeting. There are currently no regulations in Canada that protect a candidate from not being chosen due to visible body art (2015).
  1. Make friends with the front line greeter. This person can often make or break an interview, greet them kindly, when they offer you a beverage accept or decline politely, tell them thank you for showing you in when they leave you. Make sure you say goodbye to them as you exit. These people are often asked their opinion on prospective employees so be on your best behavior in their lobby.
  1. Shake hands. This is of course a North American cultural gesture, so take cues if the interview is in an area where bowing is common place, or maybe it’s a respect to not touch the meeting organizer, let them take the lead. If a hand is extended for the greeting, by all means reciprocate firmly.
  1. Breathe! Answer the interview questions as openly and honestly as you can. If there is something you don’t know, respond honestly, with something like “that is a very interesting question, and it’s not something I have given as much thought to as I should have” pause and try to come up with your answer. I know it might sound like an easy out but it gives you a moment to think. If you are interviewing for a technical position be prepared for short test’s, brush up on your skills and test questions from your education or training.
  1. Interview the company. Make sure you ask some questions. What do they like about working there? What were some of the team’s key accomplishments last year? What benefits do they have that set them apart from other employers? What would your commute be? Are there flexible working hour options or holidays? RRSP’s? Medical & Dental? This is your chance to make sure this is a good fit for you too.


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© Copyright Nikki Biehn  – Alberta Building Careers 2015