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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection

Interviews require advance preparation

By Vicky Smith
Sun Media


Most people see interviews as intimidating situations. An interview is often perceived as if the interviewee is being interrogated by an authority figure behind a desk who holds the power to give a job offer or not. In reality, both the interviewer and interviewee hold equal power.

To the interviewer you are an absolute stranger. Your resume is a summary of your experience, skills and abilities. In the interview it is the interviewer's job to understand your background and match your experience, skills and personality to the job description. The only way the interviewer can fully understand your background is by you clearly giving information about yourself in response to the questions posed.

The interview is an information-giving and information-gathering process. As the interviewee, the power you have is through thoroughly preparing for the interview. There is no right or wrong answer to interview questions. The preparation you do allows you to think through what is your best answer to typically asked questions.

Steps in preparing for an interview include:

Researching the company

It is extremely important that you do thorough research on the company before the interview. A common first question in the interview can be: "What do you know about our company?" You can research the company by:
  • Going on their website and writing down key information.
  • Using the industrial directory.
  • Finding out more information about the company from anyone you know who works there at any level.
  • Calling the receptionist and asking if you could pick up company information given to clients.

    Ask questions of the person who is calling you to make the interview appointment

    The most important information to cover when booking an appointment is:
  • Who will be the interviewer? Get the correct spelling of the person's name.
  • Where will the interview be?
  • What time?
  • What should you bring to the interview?
  • What can you expect at the interview?

    What to wear

    First impressions are everything. Before you speak, the first thing the interviewer will see is your visual presentation. Because you only get one chance to make an impression you should dress as if this interview is a very important event for you.

    The best recommendation is always dress up from what you would normally wear to work.

    Not acceptable are blue jeans, T-shirts, ball caps, running shoes or dressing up like you're going to a party. We are no longer in the three-piece suit work environment, but it is extremely important to dress in business attire for an interview regardless of the level of the job.

    -- Vicky Smith is owner of Contact Human Resource Group, contacthrg@lon.imag.net



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