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Tips on how to prepare and what to expect

By Elizabeth Lui

A woman looking confident at a job interview

Elizabeth Lui, MEd, CHRL is an HR Professional with extensive experience in both the private and public sector. She taught in the Human Resources Management Graduate Certificate Program at a college of applied arts and technology in Toronto and graduated from OISE with a Master of Education from the Leadership, Higher and Adult Education program.

As a human resources professional, the most frequent questions I receive from students, employees and friends after they've received that exhilarating and sometimes panic-inducing interview call is, “What’s the best way to prepare for my interview?" and "What are some commonly asked interview questions?”

My immediate response is they should think like recruiters do. Here’s how!

What might they ask?

The interview process is your opportunity to demonstrate that you have the skills, experience and knowledge to be considered the best candidate for the job and for the company. 

Recruiters might ask you a few standard questions ("Tell us a bit about yourself?"), but progressive interview questions will be designed to 'prove' what your cover letter and resume say about your ability to do the job. 

Generally, recruiters prepare three types of interview questions:

  1. Situational Questions: Showcase how you shouldor would handle a particular situation that you are likely to encounter on the job.
  2. Behavioural Questions: Ask you to provide specific examples in order to explain how you have handled a particular situation in the past. The idea behind such questions is that past behaviour predicts future behaviour.
  3. Knowledge Based Questions: Test the degree to which you have the knowledge needed to do the job well. You might be asked about definitions specific to the profession or even to demonstrate your knowledge in a short simulation assignment.

What should I ask?

When invited, recruiters like you to ask questions during the interview. 

Good questions should enable you demonstrate an extensive understanding of the role, the company and its objectives. Socioeconomic, political, legal and global considerations that impact the job and the company are generally good questions for candidates to ask. So do your research!

Keep in mind, during the interview process you are trying to determine if this is the right job and work environment for you. You will want to elicit a realistic preview of the job and work environment with your questions. But remember that even your dream job won’t necessarily be perfect. Know ahead of time what you can learn to live with in your next job opportunity.