How to Rock an Interview: The Ultimate Guide to Snagging Your Next Job

As a HR Generalist and recruiter, one of my biggest frustrations is when a strong candidate self-sabotages their interview. This can be done a number of ways: being rude, answering questions with one-word responses, speaking negatively about themselves and their experience, venting about their previous or current employer… and the list goes on. But above all else, one of the biggest mistakes a candidate can make is not taking full advantage of the interview. Here are the top 3 tricks applicants need to use to rock their next interview.

  1. Show that you are qualified

Know the job posting and come to the interview prepared to speak to a few of the position’s requirements. Times in Alberta are tough. A single job posting can bring in hundreds of resumes in less than a week and recruiters are not surprised to hear that applicants are applying to multiple positions. That being said, recruiters also expect that applicants do their homework: be able to speak to the specifics of the posting, research the company and come prepared with what they can offer to the organization.

Common Interview Question: What led you to apply for this position?

Suggested response: I have been looking for a position in this field and as I read this posting I felt that this was a perfect fit for my skill set. Specifically, the posting called for requirements in X, Y

  1. Show that you care

Research the company – take the time to know what they do but also who they are. Values are not just a few words thrown on a company’s website to make them look good. They define who the company is – and all that they embrace. One of the best ways a candidate can stand out in an interview is by showing that they truly understand who the company is by speaking to their values.

Common Interview Question: What type of work environment do you prefer?

Suggested Response: I flourish when I am placed in an environment or corporate culture that understands the importance of communication and that values relationships. I saw on your website that two of your company values are trust and communication and that really resonated with me.

  1. Show your strengths

Your resume lays out your experience but it doesn’t really speak to your personal strengths. Walk into an interview with two or three of your strengths that you believe would be a value-add to the position. Be mindful in thinking about which of your strengths would be an asset to the position and would also complement the organizations values. As you answer the interviewer’s questions choose to include these strengths into your responses. Choose to frame anything negative into a positive by showing how you grew from the experience and the skills you gained as a result.

Below is a list of 12 values for you to use as a resource.

Personal Value Strengths









Great memory
















Common Interview Question: Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work, and how you dealt with it.

Suggested Response: I spent a significant part of my last role supporting the organization move from a paper-based system to an electronic system. This caused a lot of tension and conflict between me personally and the staff because I was leading the initiative. Early on I felt that I was expected to have all of the answers and staff would often be frustrated with me personally when there was a glitch in the system or when they felt certain things like a specific training initiative was inadequate. I learnt through this experience the importance of communicating more than I thought I needed to in order to ensure that there was a constant dialogue between my team and myself. I accomplished this by doing weekly emails, identifying current issues and how they were being rectified, and I also started checking in with staff members constantly to see if they had any concerns and also to ensure that the new software was meeting their needs. I honestly feel that this experience really challenged my communication skills but ultimately strengthened them to a point where I now feel that communication is one of my greatest strengths.

With these tools there is no doubt that you will walk into your next interview ready to snag that dream job. Choose to utilize the interview time to the fullest by being strategic in how you answer the questions: know the job description, know the company, and speak to your strengths. For more information about the interview process contact Salopek & Associates!

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