Prepare for work: tackling the job interview

November 19 2019 - A job interview can be stressful before you actually turn up for the ordeal. How should you prepare for the questions and what should you wear. Here are some useful hints.

Dress for the Occasion

Some recent research for Accountemps looked at how dress codes impacted on job interviews. Casual dress codes are becoming more common but some organizations still expect more formal wear in interviews. In a survey of 600 senior managers, a third of respondents said candidates should always come to interview in a formal suit for interview. A slightly larger proportion (37%) said appropriate interview attire depended on the position or department at the organization.

Nearly all those surveyed felt that how a candidate dressed was important during the job interview: 40% said it was very important, and 49% said it was at least somewhat important. In terms of industrial sectors, a preference for suits varied, for example:

  • 44% in finance, insurance and real estate
  • 21% in construction
  • 23% in retail

According to Koula Vasilopoulos, district president for Accountemps:

"When it comes to a job interview, the old adage 'dress for the job you want' should still apply. Use your interview attire as an opportunity to demonstrate that you've done your research on the corporate environment and are serious about the role. A polished outfit that aligns with the company's culture will help to distinguish you as professional, capable and a positive fit with the organization."

"Look at the company website, ask your professional network or seek advice from local recruiters to gauge your clothing choices prior to the interview. Confidence is tangible. The better you feel about how you look going into the meeting, the better the impression you'll leave on a potential employer."

Koula Vasilopoulos observed that:

"Hiring managers may want to eliminate any uncertainty leading into the interview by letting candidates know the suggested attire ahead of time. This way, the focus remains on having an engaging and effective meeting where all parties can assess if there's a good match between the applicant, the role and the company."

(Previous Article) Dealing with tough interview questions

July 4 2012 - Good preparation is the key to answering the toughest interview questions with confidence according to staffing, recruitment and HR Services company Randstad Canada.

Stacy Parker, Executive Vice President of Randstad Canada says that jobseekers should focus on the outcome when they encounter tough interview questions: .

"Tough interview questions are an opportunity for job seekers to show that they know what they want, they are proud of their career path and looking for an opportunity to grow. Well handled, a tough interview can become a real door opener."

She highlights some of the toughest questions an interviewer can ask - and tips on on how to answer them:

Tell me about yourself?

A classic question. This is particularly challenging because interviewees need to find the right balance between providing enough information and providing too much detail aout themselves. Focus on keeping answers relevant to the job applied for.

What are your weaknesses?

Anticipated with dread by job seekers. Stacy Parker says that the best way to answer is by choosing a professional trait and explain how it can be an advantage if well managed. If you identify a specific weakness, remind the interviewer you are actively taking actions to correct it. For example, "I used to have trouble with procrastination, now I have learned to write down a list of things that I need to do, and keep a calendar to keep track of deadlines."

Why did you leave your previous job, and why are you leaving your current position?

The best tactic is to be as honest and specific as possible. Stay positive and focus on the future and talk about previous employers with respect. If you are currently working, focus on the skills you want to develop and how the job you are applying for fits in with your career plan.

What are your long-range career goals?

The interviewer wants to know if you can see yourself working for the company on a long-term basis. Emphasize that you want to secure a position that offers opportunities to grow, develop skills and take on challenges and responsibilities. Do not indicate that you hope to start your own business, change careers or are thinking of going back to school full-time.

What are your salary expectations?

Avoid giving out a precise figure at this point if at all possible. Stress that it is important for you to learn more about the job. If you are pressed for an answer - give a range of what you understand you are worth in the job market.

Do you have any questions?

This is a great opportunity to demonstrate your interest in the organization. Use it! You should ask questions about their corporate culture, development and career opportunities and what you can expect from your prospective work colleagues.

Stacy Parker said that preparation is the key to a great interview:

"An interview is a great opportunity to reflect on your past accomplishments and future goals. Take the time to review what you have done, where you want to go, be honest and to the point. If you engage in conversation in a compelling, relevant and positive way with your prospective employer, you'll give yourself the best chance to land the job you want."