Career Corner: Making lasting impressions

Making a good first impression is important, whether it is for a blind date, a chance to meet ‘the prospective 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 are 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 which demonstrate your interest and understanding of the business.

- Research the position. Ask for a job 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, confirm the date and time.

- Review your answers to typical interview questions. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, and PRACTICE some more.

At the interview
Make a good first impression.

- Arrive five to 10 minutes early. Don't be late.

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

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

- Ask relevant questions and inquire about the interview follow up.

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

After the interview
- Send a follow up thank you letter to the interviewer immediately.

- 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 did you like about your program and what have you learned?

- 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? Ten 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 your organization?

- 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?

- What are your human resource policies regarding salary, vacation, promotions, bonuses or benefits?

- When will the hiring decision be made?

Got questions or need help in your job search? Why not drop by the Career Services office located in Room F2010. Career Services staff are available to assist you on an individual basis. Visit the office in F2010 to arrange an appointment with the consultant responsible for your program or call 519 452-4294. For Fanshawe student job listings visit or