Published on November 3rd, 2014 | by Guest Contributor

5 Job Interview Tips from a Hiring Manager at CAA South Central Ontario

Today’s blog post was written by Charity Steele and Tony Tsai. Charity is a Human Resources Consultant with CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) with over 10 years’ experience in interviewing, assessing and placing candidates in the right role for their career. Tony Tsai is the Director of Corporate Communications for CAA SCO. He oversees CAA SCO’s media relations and employee communications. 

Getting ready for your next interview? Here are some tips and tricks from one of our hiring managers at CAA SCO on how you can make your next interview a success.

Over the years, I’ve interviewed my fair share of successful and unsuccessful candidates (not to mention having been through a few of them myself). Of all the successful interviews I’ve been a part of, the common thread that I’ve noticed had nothing to do with how confident or how well an individual answered a question (though those are still really important). Rather, it was how prepared that person was to engage in a conversation with me, instead of simply answering my questions. Below are some tips that I’ve used in my career to help you nail your next interview.

  1. Do your research and be prepared – Nothing kills an interview faster than not knowing who you’re interviewing with, what the position is, and who the company is, etc. Especially with ready access to information online, there is no excuse for not being prepared. Don’t forget that before an interview starts, you have opportunities to confirm certain details with the HR person who you are in contact with. Just one simple email may be enough to confirm who you are meeting with, company url, location/directions, dress code, etc. Just be careful to not to pester your contact with too many questions; while being enthusiastic and prepared is good there is a limit to how enthusiastic you can be (see point 4).
  2. First impressions are lasting – The entire interview process is about making a good impression, so it goes without saying that making a positive first impression is crucial. In fact, scientists have revealed that it only takes half a second for someone to make a judgment on someone else’s trustworthiness. So how do you make a good first impression? It’s actually not that difficult; simple things can be done such as:
  1. Ask questions – An interview is not only an opportunity for a company to find out more about you, but for you to find out more about the company. Come prepared with questions that will help you determine if the company you’ve applied for has a culture that is a good fit for you. For example, if personal development is very important to you, ask if the company has professional development programs or what their philosophy is on education and professional growth.
  2. Bring your confidence and enthusiasm…but not too much – Interviews are nerve-wracking. You know this, and so does the person who’s interviewing you. Obviously confidence and enthusiasm are important traits to bring forth in an interview, but sometimes, when our nerves get the better of us we either shut-down or go into over-drive mode and lay it on thick. Remember, you want to present yourself in your best light, so it should be authentic and not forced. Being overly enthusiastic will come off as being insincere and being overly confident will be seen as being brash and arrogant. Showing a bit of humility, a sense of humour, and a positive outlook can go a long way in an interview.

And how do you deal with those nerves? Here’s a trick I do when I’m really getting worked up: Before you start your interview (if possible), find a quiet place to sit, close your eyes, and take five deep breaths by inhaling through your nose and exhaling out your mouth while counting to ten for each breath (in your head, not out loud, or you’ll hyper-ventilate). It’ll help calm your body and keep your nerves from getting the best of you.

  1. Ask questions – So now you’re wondering, “didn’t he just cover this tip in point three?” Yes, I did, but that is how important this tip is. If you are in an interview and 95% of the talking is being done by you, then you haven’t done your job in engaging your interviewer. It’s OK to ask questions during an interview, even during your responses. Just don’t answer a question with a question, that’s just plain annoying.

Your interviewer may be talking to multiple interviewees that day, so being just another talking head that droned on about their strengths and contributions will more than ensure you will be lost in the crowd. Engaging your interviewer in a thoughtful discussion is a sure-fire way to demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm for the role while leaving behind a positive first impression.

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