How do I prepare for a job interview?

It is a good idea to practice your interview techniques before you go to an interview. Depending on the job, you might have to prepare some work to bring to the interview, or be ready to demonstrate a skill.

The interview is very important. This is your time to convince the employer that you are the right person for the job. In an interview, the employer tries to decide if you have the skills and attitude they are looking for and if you will work well with other employees.

It is also a chance for you to find out if the company is a place where you would like to work.

Interviews can be intimidating. It is useful to spend some time practicing your interview skills.

Who will be at the interview? What can I expect?

Some interviews involve just you and 1 person from the company. At other times, you might be interviewed by a group of people.

Interviews can be very informal, just a conversation between you and the interviewer. Or, they can be very formal. Formal interviews often have a specific format, and all the people being interviewed are asked the same questions. You may be told before you arrive at the interview what to expect, or you might find out when you enter the interview room.

You cannot anticipate all the questions the employer might ask, but some interview questions are very common. These are questions about your previous work experience and educational background. Some of the questions are about your personal traits, for example, how you handle stress or how you get along with people. Employers cannot ask you some kinds of questions. For example, they cannot ask you about your race, family status, age, or disability. You can find more information in How do I respond to inappropriate questions?

Depending on the job, you might have to demonstrate a skill during the interview. They might ask you to take a test or complete a task so they can see your work.

What do I bring with me?

At an interview, you should bring a copy of your résumé, your list of references and any other documents that you believe add to your credentials. For example, you can bring a copy of a publication you worked on, a picture of the building you designed, an address for the website you created and so on.

Depending on the the job, the employer might ask you to bring a portfolio or sample of your work to the interview.

Where can I get help to prepare?

You can find tips about how to succeed in an interview in many places - online, in books and brochures.

It can be useful to practice answering interview questions and general interview skills. Many settlement agencies and Employment Resource Centres have programs and workshops that help you improve your interview skills. Many of the programs are free. To find help, go to Services Near Me and search for "Employment Resource Centres" in your area.

For More Information

  • Preparing for a Job Interview - This webpage and video includes basic advice on how to prepare for an interview, as well as how to behave during the interview. From the Government of Canada Services for Youth.
  • Interview Tip Sheet - This document explains what to do before, during and after an interview. From Queen’s University Career Services.
  • Guide to a References List - Some tips and a sample list of references from The Damn Good Résumé.
Last updated: May 8, 2017 4001078