Career Corner - Interview preparation: Making first impressions

Making a good first impression is important, whether it's for a blind date, a chance to meet the future in-laws or for a job interview. Much of that first impression has to do with the visual impact you make and this is true in all of these cases — especially in the interview.

In addition to your personal grooming and wardrobe selection, preparation for the interview is just as critical as it is your first, and possibly only, opportunity to make a favourable impression. Don't worry if you're a little nervous, the employer is human and isn't expecting you to hit home runs with all of your answers, but you should be prepared to intelligently answer the questions asked of you. Here are some guidelines for before, at and following the interview.

Before the Interview
Preparation is essential.

- Research the employer. Google the employer and prepare questions that demonstrate your interest and understanding of the business.

- Research the position. Review the position description so you can prepare questions to ask the employer.

- Review your list of skills related to the job

- Plan your wardrobe to ensure you are dressed appropriately. Be clear on directions to the interview, the date and time.

- Review your answers to typical interview questions.

- PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE your answers to typical interview questions. If you have a webcam, you can practice your interview skills on InterviewStream ( Start by watching the tutorial, select questions and conduct a video interview. You can even customize your own video. See and hear what you look and sound like in an interview setting.

At the Interview
Make a good first impression.

- Arrive 5 to 10 minutes early. Don't be late, but don't be too early either.

- Sell yourself, make eye contact, offer a firm handshake, and be aware of your body language.

- Listen and think carefully before you answer. Try to relax.

- Ask relevant questions and inquire about the interview followup.

- Close by restating your strengths and interest in the position.

After the Interview
- Send a followup thank-you email to the interviewer immediately upon your return home. Include a brief paragraph reiterating your interest in working for the employer.

- Review your performance. What would you do the next time to improve your chances?

- If you're not successful, ask for feedback from the interviewer.

Questions You May Be Asked
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why did you apply for this position?
- What have you learned from your previous jobs?
- Why are you interested in a career in this field?
- What can you offer our organization?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What is your greatest strength?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- What are your salary expectations?
- How do you work under pressure? Give an example.
- Give an example from your past that demonstrates your ability to resolve conflict or provide leadership.

Questions You May Ask
- Why is this position available?
- What are the two or three most important characteristics you are looking for in a candidate for this position?
- What future career opportunities exist within the company?
- What are the greatest challenges and opportunities facing the successful candidate in performing this job?
- How are work assignments handled? Will I work independently or as a member of a team?
- What might a typical day be like for a person in this position?
- How often are an employee's performance evaluated and what criteria are used?
- When will the hiring decision be made?

Need assistance with your job search or writing a resume and covering letter? Drop by the Career Services office in D1063. The Career Services staff are available to assist you on an individual basis. Visit the office in D1063 to arrange an appointment with the consultant responsible for your program or call 519-452- 4294. To access job listings for Fanshawe students and graduates, visit or Follow us on Facebook, Twitter @FanshaweCS and Pinterest
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