Simple Tips for Canadian Immigrants to Prepare for a Job Interview

Finding a job is always a challenge, especially if you are new to the country. I know because I was in that situation before. So, I am sharing my tips to help Canadian immigrants prepare for a job interview.

Offices in Downtown Vancouver

Build your Confidence

Competing in a new environment often creates self-doubt. We self-judge our accent, lack of Canadian experience, and other shortcomings. But, there is no one else like you in this world. You bring your unique self to a job and that is what you need to emphasize.

To effectively prepare for a job interview, you have to build your confidence first. Identifying past successes is a great strategy for boosting your confidence. Think of accomplishments from previous jobs, volunteer activities, or student activities.

Also remember that some HR practitioners say that if you check all the boxes in a job posting, then you are most likely overqualified for the job or that you have nothing left to learn.

Never let your inner voice deter you from trying.

Check Out Common Interview Questions

Research typical interview questions. Practice or at least think of your answers.

Questions or topics that I find tricky are:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Tell me about a work conflict you had and how you resolved it.

There are many online resources available to help you prepare for these types of questions including this detailed list from Randstad.

To describe me, I prepare an elevator pitch customized to the position or industry. For example, if it was a quality assurance job, I would emphasize my skills and experiences in quality.

Volunteering Activity

Be Very Familiar With Your Resume

You worked hard on crafting an excellent resume. Now, prepare to explain the successes noted in this important document.

For each bullet or section, remember the challenge, your action, and the outcome. Also, remember to back these up with figures, if applicable.

I wrote notes on my copy of my resume to jog my memory, show my diligence, and ensure that my accomplishments are communicated.

Be ready to explain periods that are not accounted for in your resume. Think of new skills, short courses, or volunteer activities you had during those times. If you took a break to care for your newborn, you most likely polished your time management skills, right?

Study the Job Posting

Companies use terms that are specific to certain jobs or industries. Take note of keywords used and try to incorporate this in your interview answers. This is similar to customizing your resume with the job posting.

Try to do a bit of research on terms that you are not familiar with. One great example is acronyms. For example, job postings for the food industry may include the acronyms CFIA, FDA, or BRC.

If there is a gap between your competency and the requirements, identify transferable skills, knowledge of a similar subject, or traits that can help you easily close the gap.

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Do Research on the Potential Employer

Impress employers by showing interest in the particular position and company. Learn more about the company, its recent struggles and successes, and how you can add value to their organization.

Find out:

  • the nature of the business
  • their mission, vision and values and how your own values are aligned with theirs
  • recent news about the company such as an expansion or new product launch that you can be involved in
  • current or potential challenges that you would like to help solve.

Emphasize how you can help the company achieve its goals.

Create a Short List of Questions for the Interviewer

Asking the interviewer some questions is another way of showing your interest in the company and the job. This will also help you assess if the company or position is a great fit for you. Some questions I have asked were:

  • What is a typical day like in this job?
  • How would the performance in this job be evaluated?
  • What types of projects would this position be involved in?
  • What aspect of the company culture are you most proud of?

This is your chance to get to know your potential employer. Don’t miss it.

Preparing for a Job Interview Includes Preparing the Right Outfit
Preparing for a Job Interview Includes Preparing the Right Outfit

Note: Featured Business Clothes are Free Courtesy of Dress for Success Vancouver.

Prepare your Job Interview Outfit

Your appearance greatly influences the first impression you create. It is therefore important to look professional during your job interview.

The right outfit depends on the nature of business, position, and location. Wear business attire when applying for office positions in city centers or the finance industry. You may opt for smart business casual attire when going for a manufacturing position.

The look does not only constitute clothes and accessories. When I was a newcomer to Canada, a workshop facilitator advised us to bring a business portfolio, paper, and pen with us. We were told to take notes during the interview for potential second interviews and decision-making in case we get offered the job. Taking notes using the portfolio also gives an added benefit of looking prepared, interested, and polished. You can easily protect and retrieve extra copies of your resume and supporting documents in the portfolio.

Planning Your Commute Should Be Part of Your Job Interview Preparation
Planning Your Commute Should Be Part of Your Job Interview Preparation

Plan your Commute

Arrive early. This will help you create a positive first impression, prevent stress, and put yourself together before the interview. Also, remember that Canadians are punctual.

If you are taking public transit, consider taking an earlier bus or train. You never know what issues may arise. Canceled bus trips, re-routing due to accidents or weather, train track problems, and others may jeopardize your schedule.

Check out the location’s surrounding area on Google Maps to help you easily find it.

I planned to arrive early for an interview early in my Canadian life because I wasn’t familiar with the area. I would be taking the transit with a transfer and didn’t want to be late. So, I thought of staying at a nearby coffee shop then arriving just a few minutes early. At the time, Google Maps was not yet that popular. There were no coffee shops nearby so I was more than 30 minutes early for the interview.

Interviewers would prefer the candidate to be too early than late. But, when I arrived, employees were still setting up for the day. Also, waiting can cause anxiety.

Beautiful Building in Downtown Vancouver on a Gloomy Day

Competing in a new arena can bring about numerous challenges. However, I am certain that this list will help you to prepare for a job interview in Canada and land your dream role. I know because I have used it.

Good luck to all job seekers!

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