Once you have received a call about an interview, you must prepare. Many job applicants spend very little time preparing for an interview and, unsurprisingly, this often leads to poor results. Thorough preparation will increase your confidence and help you improve your performance and job prospects.
Know yourself: Review the self-assessment work you completed when writing your CV and cover letter. Carefully consider how you want to convey this information verbally and think of specific examples from your past experiences which highlight your skills, qualifications and achievements.
Research: Researching the industry, the employer and the position for which you are applying for, prior to an interview, is extremely important. It reflects well on your enthusiasm and the information you gain from professional organizations, business councils and relevant websites will help you prepare questions for the employer and give you a good sense of salary levels, working conditions and current market trends.
Practice: Prepare and practice answers to possible interview questions. You can schedule an appointment for a mock interview with a career advisor or you can practice with a friend to get feedback on your verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
Contact your references: It is a good idea to reconnect with your references during the job search process so that they know what positions you are applying for and are aware they may be contacted in the near future.
The day of the interview: Dress for success and bring along any documents or information you may need, such as extra copies of your CV and a list of references. Arrive ten to fifteen minutes prior to the interview and be friendly, respectful and positive with everyone you meet.
Follow-up: Once your interview is over, you can breathe more easily, but your work is not quite finished. Many candidates miss a valuable opportunity by failing to follow up with an organization after an interview. Send a thank-you note to the interviewers within a day or two to thank them for their time and indicate your continued interest in the position. Do not be afraid to follow up with the interviewers and inquire about the status of your application if you have not heard from them within the agreed time frame.
Need Help?: You may also want to attend the Interviewing workshops and meet with a career advisor for interviewing advice and practice. To make an appointment, call 514-398-3304.
For step by step help with interviewing, consult the following handouts.
- CaPS Guide to Interviewing - A guide on how to prepare for an interview.
- CaPS Common Interview Questions - A list of questions you can expect in an interview.
- CaPS Positive Attributes - A list of attributes you could use at interviews.
Interview guides (in French)
- McGill CaPS - CaPS L'entrevue d'emploi
- UQAM - Guide sure l'entrevue (PDF)
- UQAM - Vingt-cinq questions posées lors d’une entrevue (PDF)
Recommended books and websites
- Types of Interviews at CareerOneStop - A list of different types of interviews.
- Interviewing Books (Available in the McGill Library) - These books are also available at CaPS.
Illegal Interview Questions
Consult the following sites for tips on how to respond to illegal questions that are being asked during job interviews.
- A list of legal vs. illegal interview questions at Canada Human Resources Centre
- 8 types of illegal interview questions and how to avoid them at TalentEgg
- Common legal interview questions: What you can ask at Monster
This is a popular form of interview that is used in hiring for management consulting or investment banking jobs. In a case interview the applicant is given a question, situation or problem and is asked to resolve the situation. To prepare a case interview, our centre offers a variety of resources:
Case interview guides:
- CaPS How to Prepare for a Case Interview - A guide to help you prepare for a case interview.
- Vault Case Interviewing Guides - Register with your McGill email to access online case interview books.
Recommended books (These reserved books can only be used at CaPS):
- Case in point: complete case interview preparation
- Case in point: graph analysis for consulting and case interviews
- Case interview questions for tech companies: 155 real interview questions and answers
- Case interview secrets: A former McKinsey interviewer reveals how to get multiple job offers in consulting
- WetFeet insider guide: Ace your case consulting interviews
Additional case interview preparation materials:
- Case Interview Prep (consultingfact.com) - This site offers tips and articles on how to best practice case interviews. Also, visit their Free Career Guides for additional interview preparation materials.
- BCG Interactive Case Library - Boston Consulting Group's mock case interview resources.
- Evisors - An online platform that offers career coaching and webinars from professionals. A fee may be required.
There is a good chance that you will be asked to take tests as part of your job application or interview process. Some common interview tests employers use to assess job candidates are:
One of the most commonly used tests in graduate recruitment sessions and is usually one part of a multi-stage recruitment process. The tests measure knowledge (attainment) and potential (aptitude). Psychometric testing may include: reasoning, numeracy skills, group and role-play exercises, panel interviews, presentations and personality questionnaires. For more information and sample tests:
- Psychometrics Books (Available in the McGill Library)
Oral or written tests used to assess the candidate's technical skills. This is common for jobs in the field of computer science. For more information and books to practice technical questions:
- Technical Interview Books (Available in the McGill Library)
Canadian Public Service Exams:
Written tests used by the governments in their hiring process. For more information and sample test questions and materials:
- Public Service Commission Tests - Language, skill level, oral and written communication sample tests, etc.
- Comprehensive guide to Canadian public service exams (This book is available at CaPS)