Interview Guide

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Transcript of Interview Guide


1. Introduction

2. Preparing for the Interview

3. Dressing for Success

4. Types of Interviews a. 1st Round Screening b. 2nd Round Selection c. Telephone Interviews d. Behavioural-Based Interviews (BBI) e. Case Interviews5. Questions you might ask at an interview

6. Follow-Up Tips

7. Sample Questions a. Common Interview Questions b. Behavioural-Based Interview Questions c. Case Interview Questions

8. Resources

CPC Interview Guide, Page 1 of 26

1. IntroductionOne of the most important things to remember about any job interview is that its main objective is to allow for an exchange of information between both parties (applicant and company), so that a determination can be made as to how well the applicant fits the position/ company and/or vice-versa. As the applicant, you want to impress upon the employer how your background (i.e., education, previous employment/volunteer positions, extra-curricular and hobbies) matches the requirements of the position they are recruiting for. Your rsum will have given them some indication of how well you match, but during the interview you are expected to expand on this and be able to demonstrate strong communication skills. Your communication skills (oral, written and non-verbal) will be evaluated closely and are expected to be well practiced. Other skills critical to the position/company will also be evaluated, so make sure you have done research on the position and the needs of the organization. In the remaining sections of this guide you will find information to help you prepare for the interview, dress for success, familiarize yourself with various interview formats, prepare yourself to ask questions at the interview and to conduct proper follow-ups. The final two sections consist of sample questions and a resource listing.

CPC Interview Guide, Page 2 of 26

2. Preparing for the InterviewDo: try to get all pertinent data during phone call Names and titles of those interviewing you and their relationship to the position you are applying for Location, time, type and duration of interview Phone number and name of person to contact if a problem arises and you must reschedule or be late for the interview

Do: your research on the position, company and industry Review all company/position data; become familiar with the industry and the companys major competitors Keep copies of the job postings/descriptions you have applied to for reference/preparation

Do: know the culture of the company May not be obvious over the phone, but always a good idea to start formal and then acclimatize yourself to the culture Beware of Casual Friday syndrome where you interview in full business attire but the company representatives are dressed down due to special circumstances Knowing an insider can really help here; but as a minimum, try to read company literature and/or check with the CPC

Do: pack properly No backpacks or bulky purses your image should be that of a professional and not a student Your briefcase or portfolio should include: o Paper (spiral pad) and pen/pencil o Copy of job description, rsum, cover letter, list of references o Address, directions, telephone number and name of contact o Name of person/people you will be meeting o Business cards o Change for parking meter, breath mints, tissues o Shoes in a bag (weather dependent)

Do: follow business etiquette Your handshake should be firm, with two or three pumps and no ancillary movements (e.g., shoulder/arm grasping, two hand cupping) In the initial meeting, let the interviewer offer their hand first; after the interview, offer your hand first to show you are thankful that they took the time to meet with you Let the interviewer lead you to your seat remember, you are their guest No slouching in chair; sit with the base of your back touching the back of the chair Turn off any pagers/cell phones; never be the cause for interruption during the interview Behave professionally with everyone you encounter until you are offered the position, every time you meet someone from the company you are essentially being interviewed

CPC Interview Guide, Page 3 of 26

Ask for business cards so that you have the proper spelling and title of each person who has interviewed you

Do: remember that communication is key Speak to express and not to impress using lingo/terminology that you are not totally sure of can come back to hurt you later Avoid using slang be professional Monitor and adjust your intonation/volume/pitch Non-verbal communication may be evaluated as critically as what you say so remember to keep a positive attitude Keep good eye contact, but dont stare Be mindful of hand movements; its okay for effect, but dont come across as someone trying to conduct a symphony

Do: try to schedule strategically Always be as cooperative with the interviewers schedule as possible Know yourself try to schedule when your energy level is normally high (are you a morning person, or is afternoon better for you?) Worst timings are considered to be 9:00 a.m. (you are likely to be the first interview and there will be no benchmark), 1:00 p.m. (time when people like to catch up on their schedule), 4:30/5:00 p.m. (late in the day, the interviewer may be fatigued or looking forward to wrapping up their day) Ideal timing is mid-morning or mid-afternoon

Do: arrive 15 minutes early Announce yourself to receptionist If you are unfamiliar with the area, perform a dry run the day(s) before (you can use MapQuest for directions), noting how long it took you to get there, whether security measures need to be considered, and time the building is open Get a good nights sleep before the interview

Do: bring a list of refereesand keep in touch with your referees In case they have changed jobs To remind them of your performance To keep them updated on your career To gage whether they remain a good referee

CPC Interview Guide, Page 4 of 26

3. Dressing for SuccessDo: dress appropriately Check the Career section of the companys website to see if they show pictures of staff and take note of how they are dressed; this section may even suggest a guideline for dressing Try using your network to locate an insider and ask their advice When all else fails, you can call and ask HR directly Its always easier for someone to picture you dressed down then dressed up, so always dress as professionally as possible

Do: wear appropriate business attire For males: o Blue and gray suits are fine and should be a complete suit (i.e., pants match the jacket); black is too formal o Solid colours are preferred, but thin pinstripe is fine o Shirts should be pressed and be of a light colour, preferable blue; never have floral, strongly striped or dark shirts o Your tie should compliment your suit and not draw attention o Stick with black, well polished shoes o Your belt should match the colour of your shoes o Socks should match the colour of your suit or can be slightly darker; never wear white socks o Check, and recheck your interview outfit (i.e., clothing and briefcase items) the night before; make sure its still fits appropriately and is clean o Be well groomed (clean hair, well shaved, clean finger nails, etc) and limit the cologne For females: o Blue, black, gray or beige suits are fine and should be a complete suit (i.e., skirt/pants match the jacket) o Blouses should be pressed and be of a light colour, preferable white, off-white or blue; subtle patterns are fine o Shoes should be a basic pump with a low heel; can be black, dark blue, or brown o Shoes can be brought in a separate shoe-bag (i.e., not in a plastic grocery bag) when weather is either rainy or snowy o Hair should be clean, well groomed, and styled in a classic manner o Conservatively applied makeup and little or no perfume should be worn

CPC Interview Guide, Page 5 of 26

4a. Types of Interviews: 1st Round ScreeningFirst round interviews are typically classified as screening interviews, as the company will be looking to screen out potential candidates. Often a company will interview 5+ candidates with the hopes of being able to reduce this number to one or two. These interviews are usually between 20 to 30 minutes long and will be conducted by a member of the companys Human Resource (HR) Department; in the case of smaller companies, someone who works in a different department may fill this role. The types of questions asked fall into one of four categories: Data/fact finding: these are questions that are usually based on the content of the candidates resume. For example: I see that you are pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce, specializing in Accounting. Tell me why? Technical (e.g. financial, case, task-based): these questions will help the interviewer measure how well you are able to address the more technical aspects of the potential position. For example: What do you feel are the reasons why the Canadian dollar is behaving the way it is? or Explain to me how a network server operates and what issues should a company consider when looking to acquire a new one? Hypothetical: these questions ask a candidate to imagine themselves in a situation and require you to convey how you feel you would exhibit a specific skill(s). For example: How do you feel you would act when challenged by a customer whom you know is wrong? Behavioural-based question: these questions ask a candidate to share with the interviewer an example from when they were in a situation requiring them to exhibit a specific skill(s). For example: Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer? What happened? How did the situation turn out?

Some common questions you may find yourself facing in a first-round interview include: Tell me about yourself? How do/would your friends describe you? Why