Ten tips on how to succeed on your next job interview


The coaches of Y2 Consulting Psychologists have conducted hundreds of interview simulations to help employees and managers land their dream job or move up the corporate ladder. Using the services of specialised coaches who can lead you through a selection board simulation and provide you with developmental feedback is often regarded as the most efficient strategy in helping individuals get a promotion. Below are some tips from Y2CP’s coaches on how to better perform on your next interview:

  1. Carefully read the work description (and if provided the statement of merit criteria) for the position you are considering, paying particular attention to the essential and asset qualifications (e.g. experience, knowledge, abilities and personal suitability) required.
  2. Inquire about how the selection interview will proceed (e.g. How long will the interview last? What will the interview focus on? Will you be getting the interview questions in advance to prepare? If so, how much prep time will you have? How long will the interview be? How many people will be interviewing you?).
  3. Check out the company’s Website. Research and review major reports. Also, research and review the company’s mission, mandate, values, etc. Finally, research and review current news and information about the company – key initiatives and happenings. If you have colleagues/friends working in that company, contact them for the latest news.
  4. If possible, speak with current or former employees working in the company you are trying to work for. Perhaps they can provide you with some information on how the job interview was conducted in their own case, and what they thought to be particularly challenging.
  5. Choose a willing colleague/friend/family member (one who will be an honest critic) with whom you can practice informally for an interview (you can search for common interview questions on Google). If you decide to do a simulation, take it seriously (candidates should act as if they were at a real interview). The candidate and the responses should be natural.
  6. If possible, hire a professional consulting firm to provide you with an interview simulation. Going through a structured practice interview and getting immediate feedback (on how you did and what you can do to improve your interview skills) has proven to be an excellent investment for many. Below are some testimonials of employees/managers who have gone through Y2CP’s practice interview simulations:

    I met the consultants at Y2 in order to improve my participation in interviews. The experience, at the time of my meeting, was excellent. I learned a lot and I garnered the information necessary for me to accomplish my objectives. I would recommend this service to everyone.

    — Sylvie Larocque
    Infrastructure Canada

    I recently used Y2 Consulting Psychologists to help prepare for a competition and board interview. Having carefully reviewed the poster and the statement of merit, they prepared appropriate interview questions and administered a mock interview. Afterwards, they provided useful tips and pointers on how best to improve my interview skills and performance. I found this exercise to be extremely helpful in my preparation for the actual interview.

    — James Zeni,
    Economic Analysis,
    Infrastructure Canada

  7. Be prepared to answer lead-in questions such as: “If we asked your colleagues what your greatest work-related strength/area of development is, what would they say? Please provide an example.” “What aspects of this current job/position interest you specifically?”.
  8. Write your “stories” – prepare written examples of projects/work performed in your past for each competency being assessed:
    • what was the situation/problem/challenge
    • what action took place
    • what was the outcome/solution
    • most important lesson(s) learned
    • challenging work that was accomplished, biggest success…
  9. You should:
    • Use a structured approach when considering/preparing possible responses
    • Draft responses in point form (candidates should only refer to their notes during the interview and not read them).
  10. Make a good first/last impression: Practice opening a door, coming into a room, offering your hand confidently, smiling and introducing yourself. The last questions you could be asked in an interview situation might be: “Do you have any questions for us? Is there anything you would like to know about our organization or the job?” Prepare two or three questions about the position for which you are applying or about the selection/competition process. If no question is asked of you, take the liberty to ask a question nevertheless and/or express your enthusiasm for the sought-after position.

Best of luck on your next job interview!

Dr. Yaniv Benzimra, Consulting Psychologist
L.Long, HRM Consultant
Y2 Consulting Psychologists

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