Preparation for an interview

All of the hours you've devoted to preparing your résumé, making contacts and researching potential employers are little more than preparation for the single most important stage of the job search, the interview.

The success or failure of an interview is often determined before the meeting actually takes place. Your performance in this situation will reflect the thoroughness of your research, as well as the thought and practice you've given to the process.

You need to see the interview as an opportunity to demonstrate to the prospective employer what benefits you can bring to the organization. It's all about uncovering needs and demonstrating how you can satisfy those needs as well as facilitating the prospect of making a decision in your favour. During the interview you must:

  • Be able to see yourself as a product
  • Offer your skills and strengths to match your future employer's needs
  • Convince the interviewer there is a match and that you are the person for the job

Pre-interview preparation tips

  • Gather as much information as you can about the position, including the competition poster (which lists the elements that are required to do the job) and the job description. These can be provided to you by the Human Resource Team responsible for the competition (contact information can be found at the bottom of the competition poster).
  • Increase your knowledge about the NRC and the specific research centre you are applying to by reviewing the annual report, the vision and value statements, and the organizational structure. The NRC website is a great source of information in this regard.
  • Try to anticipate the questions that could be asked during the interview and prepare replies. Be sure to incorporate relevant examples of how you have demonstrated the specific competencies and skills the position requires. At the NRC, the assessment criteria are based on the Technical and the Behavioural Competencies listed on the competition poster.
  • Take an honest look at yourself. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Why do you feel you are the best candidate for the position? What relevant experience do you have that will help you succeed in this new role? How can you demonstrate that in an interview?
  • Prepare any questions that you may have about the NRC, the specific research centre, or the position that you are applying for. This is your chance to determine if this is the right place for you.
  • Start to think about people who could be references for you (if the interview goes well you will need to supply this information in a timely manner). Ensure you will be able to provide detailed contact information for each reference including: full name, organization, their relationship to you (i.e. were they your manager, team leader, supervisor?), telephone number, and email address. At this time you may want to give your references information about the position you are applying to including the job description and/or statement of qualifications.
  • Ensure you get confirmation (preferably in writing) regarding:
    • Date and time (including how long it will last)
    • Location and format. Will it be in person, over the telephone, or by videoconference?
    • The process itself. Is it a test, interview, simulation, some other assessment method, or combination?
    • Contact information for the Human Resource Team
    • Number of people (and names if possible) on the selection committee
    • Additional items required from you (i.e. transcripts, contact information for references, journal publications, etc…)
  • You will want to notify the Human Resource Team of:
    • Your preferred language for the interview or assessment (English or French) regardless of the language requirements or the location of the position
    • Any accommodation requirements due to a disability

During the interview

  • Be on time. If you are going to be late, contact the Human Resource Team.
  • Although it is natural to be nervous, try to relax. Keep in mind that the interview panel is not trying to trick you with their questions. Their goal is to learn more about you and what you have to offer. They want you to do well.
  • Don't be surprised if the interview panel probes you for additional information. They want to ensure you fully answer the question that was asked.
  • Be polite, professional and personable. Most of all remember to be yourself.
  • Answer questions clearly and succinctly.
  • Ask for clarification if you don't understand a question or if you would like it to be repeated.
  • Be honest. The interview panel may ask your references to verify the experiences you have shared.
  • Provide any items that you were requested to bring with you (i.e. transcripts, contact information for your references, journal publications, etc…).
  • Ask any questions that you may have about the position, the research centre, or the NRC. You may also ask when you might expect to be notified of your status within the competition.
  • Thank the interview panel for the opportunity to be considered for the position.

After the interview

  • You will be contacted to confirm what your status is within the competition.
  • If you were successful in the assessment, you will be notified about the next steps in the process (i.e. references, security clearance, etc…).
  • Once the entire assessment process is complete, an offer will be made to the top candidate(s).
  • Important information to consider before deciding whether or not to accept the offer includes:
    • Start date (and end date, if applicable)
    • Hours of work
    • Starting salary
    • Salary progression and promotion process (if applicable)
    • Benefits
      • Health Plan
      • Dental Plan
      • Pension Plan (and possible transfer of your existing pension plan)
      • Disability Insurance Plan
      • Vacation Leave
      • Sick Leave
      • December Shutdown
      • Relocation (if applicable)
    • Probation Period
    • Union membership (including applicable union dues)