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We all get nervous before interviews, but proper preparation goes a long way

Finally, an employer who not only read your resumé but recognized your hard-working mentality and eagerness to find a great job! Now comes the nerve-racking, make it or break it part of securing that position: your interview. Before you decide you’re ready for your meeting, consider the following advice.

Know what you want to tell your employers about yourself before the interview

Early on in most job interviews, employers ask candidates to describe themselves or talk about some of their interests that aren’t listed on their resumé. Instead of coming up with a quick, boring, and generally lackluster response, think about what you’ll say ahead of time.

In a 2013 on CBS News, Dave Johnson suggests having a “two-minute elevator pitch prepared in which you talk about what makes you great for the role.” Instead of discussing your love of kittens and bubble gum at a barista interview, talk about your latest tea purchases or your curiosity about herbs and how they affect our bodies and mental health. These interests will do more to prove that you are well suited for the position.

Anticipate the questions you’ll be asked and prepare professional and honest answers

According to a Forbes article published in 2013, there are a few questions many employers fall back on when they’re interviewing potential candidates. In the article, life and career coach Anna Goldstein points out a few questions that generally come up in job interviews.

A common inquiry is the weakness question: “What’s your greatest weakness?” Many candidates answer using a positive trait but throw a negative spin on it. Some might say, “I’m a perfectionist,” or “I work too hard.” Goldstein argues that it’s best to answer this question honestly while citing how you deal with your weakness head on. For example, if your weakness is that you require encouraging and constructive feedback to really excel at your work, you might tell your interviewer that you overcome your limitation by discussing this need with your superiors after completing a task.

Goldstein says the typical question used to conclude an interview is “Do you have any questions for me?” Your questions to the interviewer can show your enthusiasm for the job and your interest in learning more about the company and your employer. Always prepare a few questions after researching press releases and other info on the company.

Goldstein recommends asking about the greatest challenges the company faces. If you can think on your feet, you may then discuss how you can positively contribute to finding a solution.

Dress the part

Jeans are always a no-no if you’re going to an interview for any job other than your neighbourhood skate shop. If you’re interviewing for an office position, slacks and a dress shirt always work well. Trying to get a government job? Invest in a blazer or suit and some proper dress shoes. You may be the sloppiest person in Ottawa, but if you can pull yourself together for this hour-long period you’ll look professional and you’ll show that you really care about the position you applied for.

If you didn’t get the job, ask for feedback

The Services for Youth page on the Government of Canada website offers this valuable tip to candidates. Oftentimes employers will only contact applicants who got the job. If you don’t get a call after about a week, send an email inquiring about the status of the position. If you didn’t get the job always ask for feedback on how you did during the interview. This is incredibly valuable for your next go and shows your interest in improving your skills, perhaps opening the door for a second opportunity with the company.