Preparing for a Canadian-style interview is a lot more than reading about the employer or aligning the job with your experience. If you are new to Canada, it’s to learn about the Canadian-style interview.
The good news is culture is not hereditary. Culture is learned.
First, get familiarized with how Canadian people interact. Know you need to keep a distance of about 2 feet with the person you speak with. Look at that person in the eyes. Eye-contact is very powerful since it highlights your self-confidence. Have a firm handshake. Avoid any physical touch. It is not appropriate.
Remember: your interview starts once you get in the location. You never know who is watching you.
Then make sure you know how to dress for the interview. Business casual or business attire? Business casual is casual. Business attire usually means wearing a suit and a tie for men and dress professionally for women. In case of doubt, ask. Call the receptionist and ask about the dress code in the company. If you can’t get that information, remember that being overdressed is better than being underdressed.
Learn about the Canadian business language. What does team-player mean? If you did not participate in any sport, how can you be a team-player? How about hitting the ground running? Or thinking outside of the box? Avoid personal questions. Build relationships by talking about the job, the company, previous success stories. Ask questions. In Canada, asking questions is welcomed. It is a sign of self-confidence.
Don’t compare your culture to the Canadian culture. Show appreciation to your new culture with examples and living facts.
Be on time. Arriving late is a sign of disrespect. If you are late, call the employer and give them warning. Be positive and flexible in your answers. Be aware of your non-verbal communication. Smile. Sit straight. Pay attention to the questions. Control your stress. Keep eye-contact throughout the interview. Be energetic.
Make sure you follow-up with the interviewer after the interview. Send a thank you note. Highlight your interest to the job.
Remember: you only have one chance to make a first impression.