Working Wise | DrumhellerMail - Page #24
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Last updateWed, 14 Feb 2024 9am

I enjoyed your story on making a good impression during a job interview. Do you have a list of common questions that I can use to help me prepare for an upcoming job interview?

 

I enjoyed your story on making a good impression during a job interview. Do you
have a list of common questions that I can use to help me prepare for an upcoming job
interview? Signed, Eager Job Hunter
 
Dear Eager:
 
Preparing for your next job interview is the best way to impress a potential employer, but
there are hundreds of potential questions you could be asked—too many to list here.
 
You can find a comprehensive list of potential job interview questions on various web
pages or in job-interview books found at your local public library or at your nearest
Alberta Works Centre (www.employment.alberta.ca/offices)
 
These lists are a great way to prepare for sneaky questions like: “Tell me about a time
you had a conflict with your supervisor,” or “What’s your greatest weakness?”
 
But most interview questions are designed to help the employer answer three basic
questions:
1. Can you do the job (skills/experience)?
2. Will you do the job (attitude/enthusiasm)?
3. Will you fit into the team and culture (people skills/working style)?
 
Can you do the job?
Scan the job posting closely and create a list of desired skills and experience. Then,
brainstorm high points from your career when you have used these skills with success
and be ready to talk about these examples to illustrate what you have to offer.
 
You should know what your greatest weakness is and what you have done to improve on
it. You should also be ready with a 20-second “elevator speech” that explains why they
should hire you over all others. And, bring proof of your skills and accomplishments to
the interview.
 
Will you do the job?
The interviewer might ask what you know about the organization, what research you
did to prepare for the interview, or how often you were absent from your last job. They
want to gauge your interest and enthusiasm. Do your research and be ready to show your
excitement for the job and how you see yourself adding value. Picturing yourself in the
job and talking about past successes will help draw out your passion for what you do and
what you have to offer.
 
Will you be a good fit?
You might be asked about your leadership style or working style, why you left your
last job, or what you didn’t like about your past supervisor or co-workers. You might
even be asked about a time you had a conflict with a co-worker or your supervisor. The
interviewer is trying to figure out how you work with others and spot any red flags.
 
reassuring the employer that you work well with others.
 
Understanding why interviewers ask specific kinds of questions will help you anticipate
and prepare answers and anecdotes that work to your advantage. The time you spend
researching and practicing your answers will build your confidence and improve your
performance in the interview.
 
For more tips on job interviews and common questions, visit http://alis.alberta.ca/ and
click on Tip Sheets.
 
Good luck!
 
Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at
charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a regional manager with Alberta Human

Services. This column is provided for general information.


I have had several job interviews over the past two months, but I haven’t received any job offers or even second interviews. Am I doing something wrong?

 

 

Dear Working Wise:

I have had several job interviews over the past two months, but I haven’t received any job offers or even second interviews. Am I doing something wrong? Feeling Overlooked

 

Dear Overlooked:

 

Extended job searches can be disheartening, but don’t give up. The good news is that you are getting interviews—that means employers are interested in you.

 

I have covered tips for preparing for job interviews in the past. Similar tips are available on the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website at http://alis.alberta.ca.

 

You might also want to focus on making the right impression on the day of the interview. Some of these tips may seem like “no brainers”, but interviewers I talk to say they are still surprised by job seekers making these simple, but costly mistakes.

 

Make a good first impression:

- Be punctual: arrive 10 minutes early (factor in time for travel and to find parking).

- Dress appropriately: wear clean clothes and shoes that are in good repair.

- Come prepared: bring a pen, paper, and copies of your resumé and references.

- Don’t wear perfume or cologne.

- Don’t check your cell phone during the meeting, chew gum, or bring your own drink.

 

Relax:

A job interview is a meeting between two equally important parties to share information. The employer wants to know if you can do the job and will fit into their team. You want to know more about the position and company to see if you actually want the job. Arrive early enough to use the washroom, calm your nerves and remind yourself that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. And remember, many interviewers are new to the interview process and may be just as nervous as you are. Be ready to smile or laugh—they need to like your personality too.

 

Engage the interviewers:

- Smile, greet the panel, shake hands with each interviewer and learn their name.

- Use their names during the interview.

- Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor and lean in slightly to show interest.

- Make eye contact and listen closely to the questions so you can answer them well.

- When you finish the interview, shake hands and thank each person by name.

 

Answer with confidence:

- Take a few seconds to collect your thoughts before you answer a question.

- Come prepared with examples of when you have successfully used your key skills.  

- Bring proof of your skills—numbers, examples, photos, samples, etc.

- Be ready with an example of a shortcoming that you have improved upon.

- Be positive – show your excitement and enthusiasm for the position and your work.

- Don’t talk negatively about past employers, supervisors or coworkers.

- Don’t talk to too much: use short answers and don’t interrupt the interviewer.

 

Ask questions:

Prepare a list of questions, including what you want to know about the position or company plus when the hiring decision will be made and the expected start date. Questions demonstrate your interest in the position. Don’t ask about salary, benefits or flexible work arrangements at this time. This is not the time to start the negotiation process—it might raise flags with the employer.

 

Seal the deal:

Send a thank you note that emphasizes two or three reasons why you’re the ideal candidate for the position.

 

Good luck!

 

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a regional manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information. 

My teenage son is looking for his first job. He is about to start applying at nearby stores so we don’t have to worry about transportation. Do you have any tips for him?

 

Dear Working Wise:

My teenage son is looking for his first job. He is about to start applying at nearby stores so we don’t have to worry about transportation. Do you have any tips for him? Signed, Proud Parent

 

Dear Proud:

 

A part-time job is a great way for teens to make extra money and start developing employability skills, like showing up on time and following directions, which will serve him well for the rest of his life.

 

Many retail businesses use job application forms. Here are some tips for filling out job application forms. 

 

  • Take the application home, if possible, to give yourself more time, a more comfortable environment, and access to all the information you will need to complete the application.
  • Just in case you cannot take the application home, bring all of the information you might need, including: social insurance number, your address and postal code, past employers, positions, volunteer roles, schools and training programs, start/end dates, and three job reference names with phone numbers.
  • Use/bring an erasable pen.
  • Ask for two applications in case you make a mess of the first one.
  • Follow the instructions carefully.
  • Print neatly and clearly.
  • If a question does not apply to you, write Not Applicable or N/A.
  • Be specific about the type of work you are interested in.
  • Bring copies of your resumé—the employer may accept the resumé along with the application form.
  • Do not answer application questions by referring the reader to your resumé.
  • List your most recent work experience first followed by older experiences. Be sure to include any awards or positive results that you achieved.
  • If you do not have any work experience, try to find an opportunity to talk about the useful/relevant skills and experiences that you have gained through your volunteer and extra-curricular activities.
  • List your most relevant education and training, including dates you attended the programs, the names of the schools, and any certificates you earned.
  • Don’t forget to include short-term training courses, special awards and memberships that you have held or hold if they relate to the job in any way.
  • If asked to name a wage expectation, give a range or say that you are open to negotiation. You can check the WAGEinfo web site http://alis.alberta.ca/wageinfo for the current salary ranges of more than 400 occupations.  
  • Use the “Additional Comments” section to highlight any achievements you haven’t already touched on plus any skills or strengths that relate to the position.
  • Double-check the form for spelling, accuracy, and neatness, before you submit it. The overall appearance of your application makes an impression.

 

If you do not have a resumé:

 

Good luck!

 

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a manager with Albert Human Services. This column is provided for general information.

 


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