The purpose of the resume and the cover letter is to take it to a personal interview with a potential employer. Being called for an interview means in practice that you already have a great possibility to achieve the position, depending on the number of candidates called. Therefore, the interview is the most important step in your job search process and in order to have good chances, you must train yourself as best as possible. It is the great opportunity to offer and 'sell' your personal and job image.

The quality of  your answers, your personal appearance, your confidence and presentation are the key facts in an interview. This will be what makes the difference among the candidates to the position.

In order to achieve a good preparation and improve your success possibilities, we will analyse the interview process in three different stages: what should be done before, during, and after the interview. 


It is always advisable to find out about the company and the position available. It is possible to get a lot of valuable information on Internet about the type of company, its mission, the type of business, competence, etc. Check out the resume you sent for that position and keep in mind what you wrote, since this will possibly lay the foundation for several questions they will ask you. Find the company address in a map and estimate the way and the time it take up to arrive there.   

Learn about the requests they are asking for the post and prepare your explanation about the reasons why you may accomplish the expectations needed for that position. Check out their job description for the post and if your experience and education suits them. If you do not have the specific experience they look for, prepare how to say you may accomplish that function, based on your best qualities (experience and education). 

Have a list with at least two reference people they may contact by phone or e-mail ready. When you have no Canadian job record, it is most probable that they may try to verify your experience and performance.   

During the interview they will tell you to ask any questions or expose any concerns you may have about the company or the position you want. Making a couple of good questions ready before hand will serve to show that you have searched and are very interested in the post and the company, which is quite positive in your aspirations.

The last stage of the preparation is to rehearse for the possible interviews, with a friend or some other person. In the preparation courses for job search advised in this book (see chapter 17) you will have the chance to practice interviews with people that will help you to improve your performance. Many of these courses include interviews that are video taped and then analysed for you to specifically see how you are doing it, your possible mistakes, and in which aspects you may improve.  

Make sure you sleep well the night before the interview and to arrive fresh, clean and neat. Do not forget to take the map in order to arrive on time, one or two additional resumes, a list with your questions and your references.



i Check out the post description and analyse how your experience and education fit in.

i  Be ready to answer the first five questions pointed in 16.6.4

i  Get ready to answer how and why you may be a good candidate for the position

i  Find out about the company, its products, finances, competitors, etc.

i Prepare your answers explaining how your experience, education and objectives may suit the company's needs.



A good resume will be useful to make it to the interview hall, but the interview itself is what will allow you to achieve the job you are looking for. That is why it is highly recommended to practise and get ready for it. 

An interview has normally four (4) stages: the introduction or presentation, the interview or the questions to the candidate, the questions by the candidate, and the closing, or end.


Remember that the first minutes of the interview are the most important ones, because of the impression you give. Your good introduction and manners of well educated person are very important, as much as your answers and experience. Show good taste, enthusiasm and friendship.


The introduction must be the opportunity to set the tone for your interview, so you must be professional when introducing yourself and shake hands firmly. It is the first chance of establishing trust between you and the interviewer.


Almost all interviews start with the same question: 'Tell me about yourself'. And right away... 'Why have you come to Canada?' Although they may look simple, the answers you give to this couple of personal questions, will allow the interviewer to know who you are. He usually wants to know how you are and how you may fit in the position and the company.  


When answering these basic questions, do not forget to emphasise these three aspects: 


- First, what kind of job you would like to do or which type of job you are looking for.

- Second, your qualities (strong points) and achievements that may help you to succeed in the vacant position.

- And last, you should evidence interest and a desire to get the post. In order to be hired you must show real interest to obtain the position. 


In other cases the interviewer will be interested in knowing your character and skills to solve problems or conflicts. The typical question in this case is: 'Tell me about a situation in which you had to handle an unhappy client or a conflictive worker'. To answer these questions, follow an advisable order: Give your answer an order, dividing your story into four parts: 


- Situation. Describe how the situation you had to solve was, along  with its most relevant and specific facts.

- Solutions proposed (duties) to solve the situation.

- The actions undertaken

- The specific results achieved.


Try to explain the situations as best as you can (without getting off subject) to keep the attention of the interviewer, but giving a short answer. Remember that you may possibly have to explain some typical vocabulary of your field or some technical terms to be understood.


For sure, another question will be about your studies and degrees. Try to explain, emphasising the duration and content of the programs. The degree by itself does not say much, when it is obtained in a different language and country. The explanation must aim at explaining the equivalent degree in the Canadian system. 


The last part will be the opportunity for you to make questions. Avoid to start with 'What does this company do?'. You must show you are interested, you did some research, know their products and their quality, as well as some facts of the company.  


In the last minutes of the interview try to sum up your skills and job skills, and how they will accomplish the requirements in the vacant position; and your great interest of being hired. If it is possible, you should make a date for your next contact, to know the employer's decision. 




i Always arrive 10 minutes before the set time.

i Avoid to say very little or too much in your answers

i Bring a written copy of your resume

i Assume a relaxed and calmed corporal position

i Ask for clarification in any question you do not clearly understand

i Ask at least two own questions and get to know how is the following step in the selection process 

i Keep eye contact with your interviewer, along with a positive attitude and always answer with enthusiasm.

i Be positive every time you have to talk about past experiences

i Talk about your job skills and experience (hard skills) but also emphasise your personal qualities soft skills) such as responsibility, performance, maturity, stability, flexibility, enthusiasm .




In Canada it is customary to send a letter to the interviewer the day after. Make sure you thank the time and the opportunity you had. It is also the occasion to tell some interesting facts you have learned about the company or the position during the conversation. This letter may also be useful to add some interesting facts you may have forgotten to say in the interview and may be relevant for the position. Seize the opportunity to conclude that you are convinced (if it is true) that your qualifications and experience will meet the expectations for the post.



i    Take notes about the important things of the interview; ideas, good and bad points that you must improve for a new one

i    Send a thanks letter or e-mail in the following days.

i    Phone the company within the two following weeks to know the status of the selection process. 

i    Through the experience of several interviews, you will acquires self-confidence progressively both in what to say and in the language to use.

i    Through the experience of several interviews, you will acquires self-confidence progressively both in what to say and in the language to use.




There is a group of questions that, due to their nature and common sense, are very usual and became a standard for people who make interviews. Following, the most used ones in the selection process:


-          Tell me about yourself

-          Why did you come to Canada?

-          Why did you choose this career?

-          Tell me about your experience

-          Do you have any work experience in this field?

-          Tell me about a big work problem you have had in your last job and how did you solve it.

-          How would you describe your ideal job?

-          Do you have Canadian experience?

-          What have been your best achievements in your career?

-          Describe a job situation in which you were successful

-          What goals do you have in your career?

-          How do you plan to achieve these goals?

-          What are your short-term goals?

-          What accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction in your life?

-          Would you rather work with information or with people?

-          Do you handle conflict well?

-          Tell me about some of your recent goals and what you did to achieve them.

-          Have you ever had a conflict with your boss or supervisor? How did you solve it?

-          Why should I hire you?

-          How do you describe yourself?

-          Do you handle pressure well?

-          What do you see yourself doing five years from now? Ten?




It is important for you to have some prepared questions. In general, once your interview finished they will ask if you have any doubts and you must show your great interest asking properly one or two questions. These have to be focused and well prepared with anticipation. See the following examples


-          Why this position is open?

-          How often has it been filled in the past five years?

-          What are some of the objectives you would like to see accomplished in this position?

-          What are some of the more difficult problems one would have to handle in this position?

-          How is one evaluated in this position?


IMPORTANT: Some questions may be important but others may not be appropriated for  interviews. 




In the job search protocol in Canada, it also usual to send a thank you letter to show your gratitude for being called for an interview. 


This type of letters are quite simple and it is advised to send them right away after having the interview, or even after knowing that the company has chosen other candidate for the position and you are not the one.  


The reason to write this letter and send it, in this last case, is to leave the doors open for a possible opportunity in the future.


- THANK YOU LETTERS – For interview - SAMPLE



250 Cassandra Blvd,  Apt. 432.      North York, ON  M3A  1V1

Telephone (416) 222 3344         E. Mail:

 FAX:               905 677 7888

DATE:             28 January 2008

TO:                  EXTREME MOULDS Ltd.


                   Markham, Ontario


SUBJECT:  Mould Designer


Mr. Michelsons:


I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for interviewing me for the Mould Designer position on Friday, 2006-08-13. It was a pleasure meeting you and I enjoyed the tour in Extreme Moulds facilities.


As we discussed,  I have long experience in design of mould for automotive and plastic companies, using Cimatron-E software. In my previous job, I made more 80 different mould from de initial concept to the final parts in production. In addition, I am a mechanical inclined person and a good team player.


I am very interested in the Extreme Moulds position as Mould Designer. I look forward to hearing from you soon.  Again, thanks for your time.






Sergio Martínez




- THANK YOU LETTERS - – Not chosen for the position




250 Cassandra Blvd,  Apt. 432.      North York, ON  M3A  1V1

Telephone (416) 222 3344         E. Mail:


FAX:                905 677 7888

DATE:             28 January 2008

TO:                  EXTREME MOULDS Ltd.


                Markham, Ontario


SUBJECT:   Mould Designer                                                                                                  


Mr. Michelsons:


Thanks again for taking time from your busy schedule to assess my qualifications and interview me. It was a pleasure meeting you and I enjoyed the tour on  Extreme Moulds facilities.


Although the available Mould Designer position has been filled. I would appreciate your retaining my resume for a possible future assignment. As we discussed, I feel that my hands-on experience and educational background would enable me start work on your current projects immediately, using Cimatron-E software, without any further training. For this reason I feel that I could make an immediate contribution to Progressive Moulds Ltd.


I will call you in the future to see if there are any new positions available.





Sergio Martínez







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