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Frequently asked job interview questions in Canadian job interviews

A study from JDP reports that applicants spend up to seven hours researching the company before their interview. Many candidates (64%) also research their interviewer. Because interviewing is often stressful, 70% of those surveyed practice their responses out loud, and 62% prepare anecdotes to share with the interviewer.

An important part of interview preparation is to take the time to analyze the job posting if you have it. As you review the job description, consider what the company is seeking in a candidate. Make a list of the skills, knowledge, and professional and personal qualities that are required by the employer and critical for success in the job. Create a list of your strengths that match the job requirements. These might include skills, qualities, certifications, experiences, professional qualifications, abilities, computer skills, and knowledge bases. You can bring up some of these assets when you explain to the employer why you are an excellent fit for the job.

Before you attend a job interview, it’s important to find out as much as you can about not only the job but also the company. Company research is a critical part of interview preparation. You don’t need to memorize an answer, but do take the time to consider how you’ll respond. The more you prepare, the more confident you’ll feel during a job interview.

It’s one thing to come prepared with a mental answer to a question like, “Why should we hire you?” It’s another challenge entirely to say it out loud in a confident and convincing way. The first time you try it, you’ll sound garbled and confused, no matter how clear your thoughts are in your own mind! Do it another 10 times, and you’ll sound a lot smoother and more articulate.

You may be considering which questions the interviewer will be asking you. While there’s no way to know for sure what topics will be covered, there are several popular interview questions you can expect to be asked.

Basic Interview Questions

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What’s your ideal company?
  • What attracted you to this company?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What did you like least about your last job?
  • When were you most satisfied in your job?
  • Why are you leaving your present job?
  • What do you know about this industry?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Are you willing to relocate?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

Behavioural Interview Questions

  • What was the last project you headed up, and what was its outcome?
  • Give me an example of a time that you felt you went above and beyond the call of duty at work.
  • Can you describe a time when your work was criticized?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to give someone difficult feedback.
  • What is your greatest failure, and what did you learn from it?
  • What irritates you about other people, and how do you deal with it?
  • If I were your supervisor and asked you to do something that you disagreed with, what would you do?
  • What was the most difficult period in your life, and how did you deal with it?
  • Give me an example of a time you did something wrong.
  • What irritates you about other people, and how do you deal with it?
  • Tell me about a time where you had to deal with conflict on the job.
  • If you were at a business lunch and you ordered a rare steak and they brought it to you well one, what would you do?
  • If you found out your company was doing something against the law, like fraud, what would you do?
  • What assignment was too difficult for you, and how did you resolve the issue?
  • What’s the most difficult decision you’ve made in the last two years and how did you come to make it?
  • Describe how you would handle a situation if you were required to finish multiple tasks by the end of the day, and there was no conceivable way that you could finish them.

Career Development Questions

  • What are you looking for in terms of career development?
  • How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?
  • What kind of goals would you have in mind if you got this job?
  • If I were to ask your last supervisor to provide you with additional training or exposure, what would she suggest?

Come to the interview with some intelligent questions for the interviewer that demonstrate your knowledge of the company as well as your serious intent. Interviewers always ask if you have any questions, and no matter what, you should have one or two ready. If you say, “No, not really,” he or she may conclude that you’re not all that interested in the job or the company. A good all-purpose question is, “If you could design the ideal candidate for this position from the ground up, what would he or she be like?”

What Not to Say

Don’t be unprepared. Regardless of why you’ve been out of work, framing your response can be tricky, so do anticipate that you’ll get this question and plan your response ahead of time.

Don’t seem desperate. Hiring managers want to know that you’re interested in this job in particular—not any job that’s available. After all, if you just want “any job” you might quickly leave the company.

Don’t insult your previous company. You may feel strong emotions about a company that fired you or laid you off. But, it’s important to keep your tone neutral when discussing your previous company and the circumstances that led to your departure, and not to insult the company or your former manager.

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