Written by Arcelia Camacho, PMP
How should I prepare for an interview?
Excited New Canadian
Dear Excited New Canadian:
You will find on the Internet tons of articles that provide tips and advice on how to prepare for an interview. During a conversation with one of my friends, she summarized the interview in 3 simple questions. I very much liked the way she did it and I’d like to share it with you and the PrepCan community.
She said, “All the questions you are asked during any job interview can be summarized in three of them”.
Can you do the job?
This question has three components: skills, expertise, and experience. You got an interview which means you were successful in communicating these three elements on paper. During the interview, make sure you provide more details about your experience and level of expertise using the STAR technique.
What can you do better for us than other candidates?
Interviewers can also rephrase this question as Why should we hire you? and What makes you unique?
When you’re preparing for the interview, take the time to think about your unique skills and experience. Be tough on yourself and come up with a few ideas. Then, use those ideas and apply them to the job you are interviewing for. For example, you could say:
This is a tough question because I can’t speak to the qualifications of the other candidates you're considering for this position. I learned from my research that the organization is looking to move all its services online. I have successfully done that for another big company like this one. My analytical and problem-solving skills were paramount during the transition, and my risk analysis saved the company $40,000 dollars during the procurement supplier examination stage.
A word of caution, avoid badmouthing your colleagues, supervisors and the companies you’ve worked at in the past. This question is about your strengths, not other parties’ weaknesses.
Do I like you enough to spend my working week with you?
A more subtle question would be Will you be a good fit for the company?
The set of questions around the fit pertain to your soft skills and your personality. Every team has a unique culture. It’s crucial for you to understand the culture of the company or organization you are interviewing for and make sure there’s a match. Research the company thoroughly: visit their website, read all their press releases and social media channels. Check out your interviewers’ LinkedIn profile and Google them; they will Google you.
Also, ask some of these questions to find more about the company culture:
• How would your colleagues and supervisors describe you?
• What do you like best and least about working here?
• Could you describe your working and supervisory style?
• What a great week at work look like for you?
All the best during your job interview, Excited New Canadian!