Sweaty palms… feeling the need to impress… red face… some or all of these symptoms? You must have an interview coming up, congratulations!! Interviewing is a skill you can practice and perfect! Download one of our handy tip sheets or read on for more information.
Research – What do you know about the company and what do you know about the job? If the answer to those two questions is not very much then get reading! Employers want to see that you have taken the time and effort to find out about their organization as well as the industry. Check out this great article on 7 key things to research.
Preparation – What will this employer want to know about you and your skill sets? Prepare a list of potential questions you could be asked and try and brainstorm great examples of the skills they could ask about. Remember faculty and peers who have been in industry can be a great source of information.
Rehearse – Use your mirror, phone, or our very handy InterviewStream mock interview tool and practice. This will allow you to prepare your answers and practice saying them out loud. Feedback from others can also help to hone your interview skill set. Alternatively you can also book a mock interview appointment with one of our friendly career educators.
Common Questions – Some questions will be very industry and job specific. Review the job posting to remind yourself of the requirements and think about examples of your past experiences that show those requirements. Other questions will be of a more generic variety, click here for a list of common questions and tips on how to answer them.
Appearance – “Dress to impress” is true, however you need to “dress to the situation”. You want to look as though you are going to be a fit with the organization, its culture and industry. One strategy for picking your clothes is to think about what you might wear on a daily basis and take it up a level. For instance if daily wear is jeans and a t-shirt, then at the interview wear dress pants and collared button-up shirt. If you are meeting “on-site” where you may need safety equipment or PPE bring that along as well. Wondering about your body language? Check out this video.
Illegal Questions – Some interview questions are out of bounds. The Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits actions that discriminate against people based on a protected ground in a protected social area. Employment is one of the protected social areas. The 15 prohibited grounds are: race, colour, ancestry, creed (religion), place of origin, ethnic origin, citizenship, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity), sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status, disability and receipt of public assistance.
Some illegal questions are asked in ignorance of the code; other times the employer is aware but asks anyways. If you are asked a question that you feel is violating your rights you will need to make a decision about how to answer.
- You can refuse to answer the question. If refusing you should explain why (i.e. you don’t think that the question was appropriate/relevant to the work), this may bring a negative tone to the interview but doesn’t allow the employer to make a decision based on illegal grounds.
- You can choose to answer the question however you may never know what the “right” answer would be to an illegal question.
- You can reflect back to the employer that the area they have asked about will not affect your ability to do the job (i.e. My family background will not have any impact on my ability to successfully complete this duties of the job).
Regardless of how you handle the question the Human Rights Legal Support Centre assists the public with human rights violations in Ontario. If you have more specific questions in regards to illegal questions you can also meet with one of our Career Educators.