October 30, 2023

Interview Practice session for success ft Interview Expert

You’re sitting in front of your computer screen, dressed to impress, waiting for the Zoom call to begin.

The anticipation builds, and you feel a mix of nerves and excitement.

It’s your time to shine and land that dream job!

But wait… you need the ultimate interview tips to ace this crucial moment.

Are you a newcomer to Canada, ready to embark on a successful professional journey?

Have you googled all the important questions that you might get asked?

Have you taken mental notes on how to speak?

Have you meticulously memorized all the ‘right’ answers?

Great!

Now it’s time to take your interviews skills to the next level.

When starting your journey to find employment in Canada, it’s crucial to equip yourself with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in job interviews. Whether you are a recent immigrant, a refugee, or an international student, we have tailored this resource to address the unique needs and challenges faced by newcomers.

Our newsletter aims to provide you with valuable insights, tips, and strategies to enhance your interview performance, boost your confidence, and increase your chances of landing a job.

And the exciting news?

As promised, we have partnered with the renowned Youssef SKALLI, the Interview expert, who has got 2K+ followers on LinkedIn and is considered as OG in the game of job search!

Let’s get ready to pave our way to a truly eh’-mazing interview!

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🎯 Nick: Youssef, please tell us a bit about yourself.

Youssef: I am a Human, a smile instigator, a multilingual Certified Professional Empowerment Coach and Mental Health Advocate with 20+ years of international corporate experience in finance and Human Resources leadership roles.

I have lived and worked in different countries across the globe before landing in Ottawa, Canada in 2021.

I am passionate about helping people to unlock their resourcefulness and bridge gaps towards their intentional and fulfilling living with a focus on career and life transitions.

My coaching practice is centred around S.K.A.L.L.I. Self-Knowledge-And-Living-Life-Intentionally along with practicing being G.R.E.A.T. Grounded, Resilient, Empathetic, Aware and Thankful.

🎯 Nick: What are Top 2 tips you would like to give to job seekers?

Youssef: The number one tip I would like to share is to ensure that you position yourself as a “service and solution provider” rather than a “job beggar.”

When approaching the job search process, it’s crucial to shift your mindset and showcase the value you can bring to a potential employer. Instead of focusing solely on your needs, emphasize how you can contribute to the organization’s goals and address their challenges.

By positioning yourself as a service and solution provider, you convey your ability to deliver tangible results and make a positive impact. This mindset shift will not only make you stand out from other job seekers but also resonate with employers who are seeking candidates who can actively contribute to their success.

Secondly, during the interview, it’s important to actively listen to the questions being asked. If you encounter a question that you’re unsure about or don’t fully understand, don’t hesitate to feel comfortable asking for clarification. This demonstrates your attentiveness and ensures that you provide thoughtful and relevant responses.

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🎯 Nick: What does a job interview entail? Is it primarily about giving verbatim answers or is there more to it?

Youssef: A job interview encompasses much more than providing scripted responses. While it is important to answer questions effectively, a successful interview goes beyond that.

Understanding that job interview is more about communicating your value and what you bring to the organization.This is a chance to convey your personality, demonstrate your fit with the company culture, and leave a lasting impression that sets you apart from other candidates. Therefore, it is essential to prepare not just to provide scripted answers but also to convey your value proposition authentically and effectively.

Interview

Q: “Tell us about your experience with developing marketing campaigns.”

A: Understanding that a job interview is about communicating your value and what you bring to the organization, you must highlight your past accomplishments, link them directly to the job requirements, and convey your ability to deliver tangible results.

“In my previous role as a marketing coordinator at Company ABC, I successfully conceptualized and executed multiple marketing campaigns that resulted in a 30% increase in customer engagement and a 20% boost in sales. By leveraging my strategic thinking, creativity, and strong analytical skills, I was able to identify target audience segments, develop compelling messaging, and utilize various digital platforms to maximize campaign reach and impact…..””In my previous role as a marketing coordinator at Company ABC, I successfully conceptualized and executed multiple marketing campaigns that resulted in a 30% increase in customer engagement and a 20% boost in sales. By leveraging my strategic thinking, creativity, and strong analytical skills, I was able to identify target audience segments, develop compelling messaging, and utilize various digital platforms to maximize campaign reach and impact…..”

🎯 Nick: Then shouldn’t we just focus on stating out facts from our resume?

Youssef: Absolutely not, job interview is not about reading your resume in detail. The interviewer has likely reviewed your resume beforehand and is familiar with its content. Instead, the interview provides an opportunity for you to elaborate on the experiences and skills highlighted in your resume.

Interview

Q: “You have mentioned in your resume that you successfully led a cross-functional team to implement a new software system. Please elaborate on this.”

A: During this interview, the interviewer is asking you to elaborate on this accomplishment and is seeking specific details such as the challenges you faced, the strategies you employed, and the outcomes you achieved. It’s your chance to showcase your problem-solving abilities, leadership skills, and the impact you made within your previous organization.

“In my previous role as a Project Manager at XYZ Company, we recognized the need to streamline our internal processes by implementing a state-of-the-art software system.

To begin with, I collaborated with stakeholders from various departments, including IT, operations, and finance, to understand their unique requirements and ensure that the new system would effectively address their needs. This involved conducting comprehensive meetings, gathering feedback, and aligning everyone’s expectations.

One of the significant challenges we encountered during the implementation was integrating the new software seamlessly with our existing systems. This required meticulous planning, rigorous testing, and effective communication with our IT team and external vendors.

Furthermore, I implemented a phased approach to the implementation, breaking down the project into manageable milestones and assigning specific tasks to team members based on their expertise. This fostered a sense of ownership and accountability among the team and kept everyone motivated throughout the process.

As a result of our collective efforts, the new software system was successfully implemented within the planned timeline, leading to 50% cost savings for the company.”

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🎯 Nick: How do you approach a job interview to effectively showcase the alignment between your skills with the job requirements and organization culture?

Youssef: Indeed, job interview is about showcasing a summary how your skills, professional and personal values and experiences match the job requirement and the organization culture.

Interview

Q: “Why do you think you are a perfect match for this role?”

A: I developed strong leadership skills, which I believe are essential for this position. I successfully led cross-functional teams to complete complex projects within strict deadlines, demonstrating my ability to effectively coordinate and motivate team members. Additionally, I’m highly skilled in problem-solving and critical thinking, qualities that I believe would be valuable in tackling the challenges this role may present.

Moreover, I resonate with the values and culture of your organization. In my research, I discovered that your company prioritizes innovation, collaboration, and a customer-centric approach, which are all values I hold dear. I consistently strive for innovative solutions, and I greatly enjoy collaborating with colleagues to achieve shared goals. Furthermore, I strongly believe in putting the customer at the center of everything we do, as it fosters long-term relationships and drives business success.

Overall, my skills, professional values, and experiences align perfectly with the job requirements and your company culture. I’m confident that I can contribute positively to the team and help achieve the company’s objectives.”

🎯 Nick: Can you please shed some light on ice breaker question.

Youssef: When preparing a 45 to 60-second speech for the ice breaker question, it’s important to focus on sharing key highlights about yourself rather than diving into your entire life story. The goal is to spark the interviewer’s interest and curiosity, encouraging further conversation. Additionally, remember to practice your answer authentically, allowing your personality to shine through rather than delivering it mechanically.

Interview

Q: “Tell me a bit about yourself?”

A: Hello! My name is XYZ I am a highly motivated professional with a strong track record in leadership and project management. Throughout my career, I’ve led cross-functional teams to successfully complete complex projects within strict deadlines. One notable example was when I coordinated a team of diverse professionals to implement a new system, resulting in a 30% increase in operational efficiency.

In addition to my leadership abilities, I’m highly skilled in problem-solving and critical thinking. I thrive in challenging environments and have a proven track record of finding innovative solutions. For instance, I recently spearheaded a cost-saving initiative that resulted in a 20% reduction in expenses while maintaining quality standards.

What truly excites me about your organization is its commitment to innovation, collaboration, and a customer-centric approach. I’ve done my research, and I genuinely resonate with these values. I believe in putting the customer at the center of everything we do, as it fosters long-term relationships and drives business success.”

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🎯 Nick: Can you provide us some tips on the two most common questions asked in an interview?

Youssef: One of the most commonly asked question is “Why should we hire you?” Here is my take on this: it’s important to remember that it’s not solely about you as an individual, but rather about how you can benefit the organization. To effectively answer this question, it’s crucial to showcase how your qualifications align with the specific requirements outlined in the job posting. Once you’ve demonstrated your suitability for the role, it’s essential to pivot and highlight how your skills, experience, and unique perspective will contribute to the organization’s mission and goals

Interview

Q: “Why should we hire you?”

A: “Thank you for the question. Based on the job description and my qualifications, I believe I am an excellent fit for this role. I have a strong background in project management, and my experience aligns closely with the requirements outlined in the job posting. For example, I successfully led a team in implementing a similar project that resulted in a 20% increase in efficiency and cost savings.

However, what sets me apart is not only my ability to meet the specific job requirements but also the unique perspective I bring. I have a proven track record of identifying innovative solutions and fostering collaboration across diverse teams. With my background in both technology and marketing, I can bridge the gap between departments and ensure our strategies align with the organization’s overall mission and goals.

Moreover, my adaptability and willingness to embrace new challenges will enable me to quickly integrate into the team and make a positive impact from day one. I am confident that my skills, experience, and passion for driving results make me the ideal candidate to contribute to the success of this organization.”

Youssef: The other import question is “What are your weaknesses?” For this question, I would suggest you to embrace honesty and self-awareness. Instead of sugar coating it, showcase your willingness to acknowledge and address your weaknesses. Share a genuine weakness that you are aware of, but also emphasize the steps you are actively taking to work on it. This highlights your growth mindset and commitment to personal development. Also, avoid cliché answers for such generic questions.

Interview

Q: “What are your weaknesses?”

A: I tend to take on too many responsibilities at once, which can sometimes lead to burnout. To address this, I have been working on delegating tasks more effectively. I have learned to trust and empower my team members by assigning them tasks that match their strengths. This not only relieves some of my workload but also fosters a sense of collaboration and growth within the team.

🎯 Nick: Can you please suggest some questions that a candidate can ask at the end of an interview?

Youssef: Asking questions during the final stages of the interview demonstrates your interest in not only fitting into the job but also determining if the position is a good fit for you. These inquiries can revolve around the specific role or the organization as a whole. For instance,

  • What does success look like in this position?
  • What is your vision for this role?
  • What are the main areas of improvement for the department, and how can this role contribute to that?
  • What would you say is the main leadership style in the organization?

In summary, the interview process is an opportunity to authentically showcase your value, align your skills with the job and company requirements, and demonstrate your interest and curiosity about the role and the organization.

If you wish to learn more, you can always connect with us. Our team at Immigrant Networks is here to listen and provide support. Register with us www.immigrantnetworks.com and tell us about your journey!

Networking to get working! 💪

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