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Interview techniquesIf you make it to the interview stage, you’re doing well. That means the employer believes you have the skills for the job; the interview is more about assessing your attitude and personality.

You should arrive for an interview about 10 minutes early, as many companies will ask you to complete an official job application form before your interview. This is always the case with agencies.

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Prior to any interview, review the advertised job description so you know precisely what the employer is looking for, and research more about the company online. Practice a number of brief presentations outlining your experience, education, training and skills, and how you can contribute to the company.

Prepare concrete examples that show off your skills. Don’t just say you’re a great management accountant, tell them how you saved your last company millions of dollars with your strategic plan.

You should also prepare some answers to the questions the employer may ask you. The following questions are fairly standard in most interviewing situations, so you should be ready to answer them.

1. “Why did you leave your last job?”Never speak negatively about the company or anyone in it. Speak honestly about your desire to expand your horizons to Canada.
2. “Tell me about yourself.” Provide a review of your experience in this field, your achievements, your education and related training.
3. “Why do you want to work for our company?” You must show that you are particularly interested in this company and its goals.
4. “What are your greatest strengths?” If you have great communication skills or leadership strengths, this is the time to bring them up. Also, don’t be shy to mention how you can bring an ethnic market advantage to your work, by connecting the company with international opportunities and local ethnic communities.
5. “What are your weaknesses?” For weaknesses, you obviously don’t want to give a list here, but perhaps you might mention something like “I’m a bit of a perfectionist,” or “I’m a bit of a workaholic.”
6. “What starting salary do you expect?” A good response is, “What does this position pay?” You can then tell them what you hope to earn. You might want to add that you would be willing to start at a lower salary on a trial period.
7. “Do you have any questions for us?” Always say yes! Your questions, while designed to provide you with answers, will also provide the interviewer with some valuable information about you and your interest in the company. Even if all your questions were answered in the interview itself (which they may be), come up with some questions about the company’s future goals, what their ideal candidate is, etc. But don’t ask about administrative matters like vacation time. You can ask such questions after you’re offered the job!

Creating a good first impression

There are certain expectations employers have for an interview, as follows.

1. Dress appropriately. While your wardrobe is a personal matter during your leisure time, at a job interview your clothes and grooming should be professional and clean. A simple business suit will rarely fail you for an office or bank job. For more creative positions, you can add a little more flair. For retail and labour jobs, more casual (but still clean!) attire is acceptable.
2. Be confident. Sit and stand up straight, speak firmly, shake hands firmly upon meeting and leaving, and look directly at the person asking the questions.
3. Make small talk. A bit of small talk at the beginning of the interview — about the weather or some recent news story — can sometimes relax both parties.
4. Thank the interviewer. A short note of thanks to the employer following the interview might set you apart from the other candidates. Even if you don’t get the job, the employer might remember your good manners when another job comes up.