Tim is a Mechanical Engineering Technology student at SAIT Polytechnic. He has past experience as student leader on the board of the SAIT Students’ Association, and took part in the Business + Higher Education Roundtable’s Student Advisory Board (SAB). We talked to Tim about ways to best prepare for an interview.
What do you do to get ready for an interview?
I research three things: the interviewer, the company, and the role I am interviewing for. I want to know what path my interviewer has taken, if there are connections we might have or common traits that I could bring up in our conversation. When it comes to the company, I look for as much information as I can about their current operations and future plans. Any insider information is useful and can help you frame yourself as valuable to their current and future initiatives. As for the role, I do my best to break down the job description into keywords. I also look at other current and past job descriptions by using the Internet Archive on their careers page. It’s important to see if there are trends in the way they hire people, as well as specific traits that they consistently value.
Do you usually practice ahead of an interview? How?
Absolutely. I take the keywords that I’ve determined from the job description and write answers to potential questions. I then recite the answers to the questions out loud to see how they feel and if they’re genuine. Questions I’ll ask myself include:
- Why do I want to work for this company?
- Where do I see myself in 5 years?
- What value could I bring to this team?
- What are some of my specific experiences that relate to the job responsibilities?
What advice do you have on how to excel during an interview?
Remember that interviews are a two-way street. You should come in with questions about the company’s culture and professional development processes. Even if you have some information from contacts who have worked there previously, the hiring committee’s answers can help you decide if you want to work there. An interview is not a commitment to the position. Being willing to reconsider your stance on the job after the interview and continue looking for jobs elsewhere will allow you to feel less stressed and perform better. It’s counterintuitive, but it works.
What do you do to wrap up/follow up on an interview?
I ask the questions that I’ve prepared if I haven’t had the chance to ask them yet. These usually include questions like:
- Does my interviewer have everything they need from me in terms of information or documentation?
- Does my interviewer have any concerns as to my qualifications for which I could provide additional information?
- What does the hiring process look like from here and when will candidates be informed of any decision?
I also like to request the interviewer’s contact information if I don’t yet have it, and ensure that I thank them for their time and the insight into their company.
In conclusion - interviews can be daunting, but there are plenty of ways you can prepare for them. Good luck!