If you have a job interview coming up, there’s no doubt that you would prepare for it. But as a newcomer or to-be immigrant to Canada, how would you know if you’re missing a key piece in your Canadian interview prep? We’ve put together pro tips from industry experts with a coaching or HR background to guide you.
There’s an added bonus: they are also immigrants to Canada. So, they understand your situation and their advice is based on their experiences of both, appearing for job interviews as well as screening candidates.
Begin your Canadian interview prep with research
If you’ve secured a job interview with a company, then you’re already a few steps closer to getting that job. The recruiter or hiring manager selected your résumé because it checked some essential boxes on their list. Now is the time to take a step back and understand why they need you. “Research about the role,” says Eno Eka, Business Analysis Coach, My BA Career. She elaborates with an example: “If you’re applying for an accountant role or project manager role, you need to understand why right now and then try to tie back what you’re offering based on the value. Maybe the company is launching a new product or trying to roll out a new service offering. Maybe they’re being acquired/trying to partner with the new company. There’s a reason why they want you for that role.”
You’re probably wondering how to do that. Spend some time online – going through news, LinkedIn, industry forums – reading up about the company and its recent developments. Eka, who came to Canada from Nigeria, also suggests going through the job description again to look for clues. “Figure out all the skills that you have already and those that are transferable skills to that role and prepare ahead,” she adds.
Know your worth and communicate it to Canadian employers
It’s important to know your worth, says Marion Olivier, Founder, Augeoni HR Consulting. And the first step towards that is self-reflection. “Think and make a handy list of what you’ve done, what you enjoy doing, and your achievements in different positions. It’s easy to forget when you start to have a longer career, so focus on your unique selling points as you self-reflect.”
Olivier, who moved to Canada from France, shares her process. “I print out the job description, and group ideas using different colours. I focus on the skills that are needed and try to analyze how to speak with that company.” A good way to assess that is to know who the interviewers will be. “Check their LinkedIn profiles and look for any common grounds,” she adds.
The next step she follows is to use all the information from the job description, LinkedIn profiles, and other research to identify the employer’s growing pain and match yourself with the solution. Ask yourself, “What are they looking for? How do I answer those needs?”
Rehearsal time! Practice for your Canadian interview
Practice, practice, practice – there’s no alternative for that. Olivier shares the ‘PADMAN’ model that would help you prepare the content and structure of your answers and meet the employer’s needs. PADMAN stands for Presentation, Ability, Dependability, Motivation, Attitude, and Network. “Employers look for that. So, craft a few good answers,” she says. And then, practice! Be it “in front of the mirror, in front of your mother or your English teacher”… whatever makes you comfortable.
Preparation would add confidence to your answer delivery. “A lot of questions are going to be asked in the interview so prepare ahead” to prevent stuttering or taking long pauses to think during the interview, adds Eka.
Lastly, don’t forget to take a moment to relax
Laura Soria, Director, Talent Acquisition, CIBC, also echoes the need for a thorough Canadian interview prep through research and by talking to those in your network. But what’s equally important, she says, is having a calm mind before the big moment. “Make sure you are well-rested and take away all the distractions,” says Soria, who came to Canada from Honduras.
“Use the time before and after that interview so that you can have a mindfulness moment. And remember that you have a lot to offer and no matter what the outcome of your job interview, it is going to be a good experience to build your skills,” she concludes.
Now that you’ve heard it from the experts, all that’s left to say is ‘Good luck with your Canadian job interview’!
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