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Prepare for a Job Interview - Be Your Best

Assignment # 11

Your time has finally come! You've been called for an interview. Now what? Don't sweat it! Prepare yourself to win. You know you're ready for the job, now you have to convince the employer!

Getting ready is a big part of your interview. You will likely, and you should, spend more time preparing yourself than you will in the interview. Preparing includes getting to know more about the company and the job, and being able to explain how and why you're the best person to hire. To help you study, be sure you have a Statement of Qualifications, or a basic job description. If you do not have one from when you first applied for the job, be sure to ask the person who is arranging your interview for a copy.

Preparing for the Interview... know the job, and the organization

When you wrote your résumé, you did some research about the company and the job. Review it now. Answer these questions in your research:

  • What does the employer or company do?

  • What's involved in the position you're applying for?

  • What qualifications do you need for the position?

  • What skills might the employer be looking for?

  • Who are the customers or clients?

  • What kind of reputation does the employer have?

You'll be more comfortable in the interview if you know a bit about the company and the position you're applying for.

Think Ahead - Pre-Planning is Essential

When you are called, confirm the interview time! Ask if there will be any test or written assignment you will be asked to do. Find out how many people will be there.

Plan and rehearse your answers to the questions you expect to be asked. Memorize the training, skills and experience you have, and be ready to answer questions on what you did, and how you did it.

Choose your clothes a day or two ahead, and make sure they're neat and clean.

Be on time. Find out ahead where you're going and how long it will take to get there. Drive or travel the route a day or two ahead, at the same time of day as you will on the day of the interview. Confirm how often the buses run. Have a back-up plan. Set aside at least an hour for the interview.

What to Wear to an Interview

What you wear can be as important as what you say. Make sure your clothes are neat, clean, and ironed, if they are meant to be! Don't turn up rumpled and untidy. Try to find out how people dress at the place you want to work, and dress the same or slightly better. Skip the perfume, cologne, or aftershave. You want to smell clean and nice, but not overpower the interviewer, or worse, upset someone with allergies.

What to Take to the Interview

Carry a folder or envelope containing:

  • A copy of your résumé for each interviewer (This is why you asked ahead how many people would be present)

  • Copies of your reference list

  • Paper and a pen, so you can jot down the interviewer's name, the time of any future interview, or other information you might need later

  • Copies of letters of recommendation, if you have any

You're On Your Way

You're at your job interview. Stay relaxed and make a good impression. Here are some suggestions to help you make sure this step of your journey gets off on the right foot.

  • Greet the interviewer or panel members. Introduce yourself, and shake hands firmly, without crushing anyone's fingers. Smile. A sincere smile will help to put you, and the interviewer, at ease. Stand until you're invited to sit down.

  • Let the employer or panel members take the lead and set the tone. Make eye contact, and answer the questions in a firm, clear, confident voice. Relax and sit naturally, but don't slouch in your chair or lean on the interviewer's desk. Be prepared to tell the interviewer more about your education, training and skills, work experience, and the personality traits that make you right for the job.

  • It's okay to ask for more explanation if you don't understand a question. In fact, it's better to ask for clarification if you are unsure than to answer inappropriately. Keep a positive attitude.

  • At some point in the interview, you will be asked if you have any questions. This is where your research and preparation pays off. Have a couple of questions prepared that show you are interested and informed about the company, or ask for more detailed information about the position you're applying for.

Quick Tips for the interview

  • Be on time. Five or ten minutes early is about right!

  • Dress appropriately.

  • Don't chew gum or smoke.

  • Be neat, clean and well groomed.

  • Never bring a friend to an interview.

  • Don't discuss personal or financial problems.

  • After the interview, don't linger. Smile, shake hands, thank the interviewer(s) for their time, and make a graceful exit.

Remember: You never get a second chance to make a first impression

Common Interview Questions

Below there are 6 common interview questions listed. Please read the question and the information about why this question is often asked and how you can best answer it.

In the Cover Letter Assignment you were asked to look for a job advertisement you might be interested in and you are qualified for.

What was the job advertised?

What business was advertising the position?

Imagine you have just been called for an interview for the job you have listed above. Below each question explain how you would answer the question to an interviewer.

1. Tell me about yourself
While this query seems like a piece of cake, it is difficult to answer because it is so broad. The important thing to know is that the interviewer typically does not want to know about your hometown or what you do on the weekends. He or she is trying to figure you out professionally. Pick a couple of points about yourself, your professional experience and your career goals and stick to those points. Wrap up your answer by bringing up your desire to be a part of the company. If you have a solid response prepared for this question, it can lead your conversation in a direction that allows you to elaborate on your qualifications.
Your Response:

2. Why should we hire you?
Here's the chance to really sell yourself. You need to briefly and succinctly lay out your strengths, qualifications, and what you can bring to the table. Be careful not to answer this question too generically, however. Nearly everyone says they are hardworking and motivated. Set yourself apart by telling the interviewer about qualities that are unique to you.
Your Response:

3. Why do you want to work here?
This is one tool interviewers use to see if you have done your homework. You should never attend an interview unless you know about the company, its direction and the industry in which it plays. If you have done your research, this question gives you an opportunity to show initiative and demonstrate how your experience and qualifications match the company's needs.

Your Response:

4. What are your greatest weaknesses?
The secret to answering this question is being honest about a weakness, but demonstrating how you have turned it into a strength. For example, if you had a problem with organization in the past, demonstrate the steps you took to more effectively keep yourself on track. This will show that you have the ability to recognize aspects of yourself that need improvement and the initiative to make yourself better.

Your Response:

5. Why did you leave your last job?
Even if your last job ended badly, be careful about being negative in answering this question. Be as diplomatic as possible. If you do point out negative aspects of your last job, find some positives to mention as well. Complaining endlessly about your last company will not say much for your attitude.

Your Response:

6. Describe a problem situation and how you solved it.
Sometimes it is hard to come up with a response to this request, particularly if you are coming straight from college and do not have professional experience. Interviewers want to see that you can think critically and develop solutions, regardless of what kind of issue you faced. Even if your problem was not having enough time to study, describe the steps you took to prioritize your schedule. This will demonstrate that you are responsible and can think through situations on your own.

Your Response:

Post Secondary Research Assignment

Assignment #12
Choose a Post-Secondary institution to research (Medicine Hat College, University of Calgary, SAIT). Do your best to use their website to answer the questions below.

  1. What is the name of the school?

  1. Where is it located (address)?

  1. What is their website address?

  1. Describe the campus (number of buildings, kinds of buildings, parks, student union center, etc)

  1. What does the school logo look like? Print a copy and attach.

  1. What programs does it offer to students (look for the faculties section of their website if you have trouble finding this answer)?

  1. Does the school have an athletic program? What is their team name?

  1. Does the school have residences (housing you can live in on campus)? Describe.

  1. List 5 interesting things you have learned about the school from viewing their website (entrance requirements, number of students attending the school, unique programs, etc)

  1. Why did you choose to research this school? Be specific.

  1. Choose one of the programs you are interested in. What would be required of you in order to get accepted into this program?

Setting Career Goals

Assignment #13

Setting career goals is an important part of career planning. Unless we have a realistic plan, our goals are really only dreams. These questions will help you to define what you need to do to reach your goals.
On a word processor spend some time addressing each of the sections listed below.
Remember you must be able to check your progress along the way and your goals must be realistic!
1. What is your career goal?

This must be realistic and measurable! There must be a timeline in place.

2. What kinds of skills and training do you need to reach this goal?

Completion of grade 12?


On the job training?


Technical School?

3. How long will it take me to reach my goal?

You must be able to measure whether you have completed your goal and be able to check your progress as you work towards your goal.

4. What kind of help will you need to reach your goal?

Financial support? Moral support? Career guidance? A tutor? Who will help you with these and how will they support you?

5. How will I check my progress?

How can I measure if I am completing my goal? Create a specific timeline. What kind of marks should you have at then end of each semester? When will you apply to college?

See the powerpoint presentation slides on the next pages to help guide your writing of your career goals. You must have at least 5 paragraphs.

Work Safety

Assignment #14

Employment Standards

Assignment # 15

Employment standards in Alberta are regulated by the provincial government. For this assignment you will use the Internet to answer some questions regarding labour regulations in Alberta. Refer to the website below for information to answer the questions below. or Google Alberta Employment Standards to find the website shown below.

1. How long after the end of a pay period must and employee be paid?

2. Define the term “minimum wage”
3. What is the current minimum wage in Alberta?

4. How much notice is an employee required to receive of a change in a work shift? How must they be notified?

5. What is the basic entitlement for paid vacation in Alberta, after an employee has been employed for two years by the same employer?

6. Which holidays are considered General Holidays in Alberta?

7. If a general holidays falls on a Monday and you typically work on a Monday what are you entitled to?
8. If a general holiday falls on a Sunday and you do NOT typically work on a Sunday, what are you entitled to?

9. What restrictions are there on the type of employment for people ages 15 – 17?

10. In some businesses people ages 15-17 are required to be in the presence of someone 18 or over if working between the hours of 9 p.m. and 12 midnight. To which occupations does this apply?

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