Whether you and your Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) are still in the process of your Canadian visa application, you're still considering the big jump or or have recently arrived in the Great White North, finding a job will weigh heavy on your mind. You'll probably have several interviews lined up, regardless of where you are.
Whether it's an online or in-person interview on Canadian soil, you have to admit that going through the process can be nerve-wracking. There's the different accent, the different culture and general way of doing things - so it's normal to feel nervous. The good news, however, is that you can overcome the nerves and any culture shock you may have with some preparation.
There are tons of great resources to prepare you for your first Canadian job interview. While CanadianVisa.org isn't in the business of recruitment, we've compiled a mix of possible questions and interview tricks to help you become more confident with the Canadian job interview process and get a job in Canada.
Here’s a handy guide to help you apply for jobs in Canada.
Put in the Work to Get the Job
Whether you're still in your country of origin or settling in Canada, preparing for an interview will help you get a job in Canada. Follow the steps below to do so.
How to Prepare for a Canadian Job Interview
A job interview is not something you should go into blindly or with the intention of "winging it". You want to give yourself the best possible chance of getting the job, so going in fully-prepared is key. We take you through the preparation process in seven steps.
Step 1: Understand the Job Description
Ensure you read the job advertisement and fully understand the role. This will give you a good indication of what the company wants. If you match what the employer expects, you stand a good chance of being hired. Any queries or concerns will make great questions to ask during the interview. If you pick up gaps in your career profile, plan and compose some responses to address this.
Step 2: Research the Company
Going into an interview without knowing anything about the company you applied to is a big no-no. So read up about it, looking at everything the company offers, its management structure, company culture and company competition. This will help you to engage organically with your interviewer.
Step 3: Plan How You Will Introduce Yourself
Those first moments in an interview are critical, as they set the tone for the discussion and could affect the outcome. This is your elevator pitch, so make it short, clear and concise. Around 80 words should be fine. Start with a brief biography, then quickly move to what you have to offer the company. Finally, encourage further engagement by asking a company-related question. Making a good impression here could help you get a job in Canada.
Step 4: Be Ready to Showcase Your Abilities
Make sure you have a comprehensive portfolio that showcases what you are capable of. You can have a physical portfolio but try to compile a digital one, as this is what most companies prefer. Having work examples or a portfolio can help you stand out and demonstrate the value you'll add to the company.
To ensure that you have everything required for your portfolio, simply let one of our RCICs help you curate your portfolio CV and advise you on presenting it.
Step 5: Plan Answers to Popular Interview Questions
Regarding interviews in Canada, you will likely have a telephone interview first. This is usually where the recruiter will ask questions about your experience and abilities. The next step would be either an in-person or video interview with the human resources officer and someone from the department you'll be working with. Here they'll get the chance to see whether you're a good fit with the company and whether you have the knowledge required to perform tasks needed. Ready to get that job in Canada? We'll touch on questions to prepare for further down.
Step 6: Prepare Questions of Your Own to Ask
An interviewer will always ask you if you have questions for them, regardless of whether the interview is on-site or online. Therefore, make sure you prepare some questions that are relevant to the job you are applying for and the company. This will show that you are genuinely interested in working for the company. It will also help you investigate whether the company is one you want to be part of.
Step 7: Look Presentable
First impressions matter, so make an effort to look decent and professional for your interview - even if it is online. So no traces of pajamas here. Choose something you'd wear to the office once you get that job in Canada. Take grooming seriously and also find a quiet space to have your interview if you're doing it from home.
Top 20 Interview Questions
Now that you know how to prepare for your interview to get a job in Canada, it's time to get into some of the commonly-asked interview questions.
Q: Tell Me About Yourself?
A: While it may be easy to start telling the interviewer all about your life, try and stay focused by talking about your skills, goals and how this job fits perfectly into your career path.
Q: What is Your Greatest Strength?
A: Your answer should align with these particular job specifications. Highlight your skills and show them exactly why they need you.
Q: What is Your Greatest Weakness?
A: This is a particular favorite among recruiters and sometimes throws applicants off. You should always plan for this question with a weakness that you are working at. An example of this is that you may not be able to stick to deadlines, but through proper planning and focus, you have managed to improve.
Q: How do You Handle Stress and Pressure?
A: Everybody cracks under pressure sometimes, but employers want to know that you can handle stress in the right manner. The best answer is to give an example of how you handled pressure in a previous situation. You should focus on how that stressful situation pushed you to step up and helped you grow as a person.
Q: Why is There a Gap in Your Employment History?
A: You may have struggled to find work for some time but you can always spin it in a positive light by saying that you used the time to continue studying or you took up a new hobby.
Q: What is the Most Difficult Obstacle That You Have Had to Face?
A: The purpose of this question is to find out how you face challenges and how logical you are in solving the problem. Choose a situation that somebody else caused and had an impact on your job in some way. Then tell them how you solved the issue and how you learned from the situation. Always end on a positive note.
Q: What Interests You Most About This Job?
A: Talk about the most important aspects of the job description. For example, if the job requires that you work in a team environment, talk about your willingness to join the dynamic team.
Q: What Are Your Achievements to Date?
A: Choose one work-related achievement that stood out for you and shows off your skills. Give specific details on the situation and make sure that you pick a time where you were able to reduce expenses, raise revenues or solve problems for the company.
Q: Are You Happy With Your Career to Date?
A: Your answer should always be yes. The interviewer is asking this loaded question to find out about your career aspirations, confidence and self-esteem so you should be honest and always justify your answers.
Q: Why are You Leaving Your Current Job?
A: Never speak badly about your previous employer or throw your current company under the bus. This always comes across the wrong way and rarely makes you look good. Rather say that you are looking for something a little more challenging and want to expand your skills.
Whether you are interviewing over Skype, over the telephone or in person, you will need to brush up on your interview skills. If you are properly prepared, you can impress the interviewer and be successful in your next endeavor.
Q: What is Your Motivation to Move Overseas For This Job?
A: So, you need the money and you're excited to move abroad and you say: "Because I need the money and want to travel." This is not how you want to respond to this question (even if it's true). In fact, steer clear from any answer that has a materialistic motive as this could sabotage your chances of landing the job.
You want to give the impression that you want to enhance your professional growth and nurture your skills in a fulfilling, rewarding environment. You believe that this company aligns with your vision of growth and that you know this company/brand will give you the opportunity to do so. This is a rather flattering response for the interviewer and a positive outlook on your part.
Q: When Can You Secure Your Work Permit?
A: You could use this opportunity to ask questions about whether or not the company will be sponsoring your work visa, and if so, how much are they willing to pay - will they be paying for a partial or full work visa? All Canadian employers are well aware of the tedious procedures involved when it comes to work visas so don't be afraid to let them know that it will take some time.
However, do not ask the interviewer questions about work visas that you're meant to ask the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This gives the impression that you're unprepared and that you have not done your research. You want to show them that you are forewarned and that you are serious about working abroad.
Q: Can You Adapt to a Work Culture Abroad? If so, Give us Some Examples of Your Adaptability.
A: This question tests your level of adaptability in a new working environment overseas. The idea is to see how quick you're able to fit in and transition from one working culture to another. You want to craft your response carefully when giving examples of your adaptability. Withhold any political or religious views and keep your response light-hearted. For example, you could say that you're very curious and love learning about new cultures, languages, and the culture's work ethics. This shows that you're flexible and open-minded.
Q: How do You Think You Can Add Value to Our Company?
A: This question allows you to outline your expertise and explain why they should choose you over someone else. Remember, there are plenty of people applying for the same position so don't undermine the competition.
This is your time to demonstrate the various skills that you have and convince the interviewer why you're the ideal candidate for the position. Bear in mind that the perfect candidate is confident and has a can-do attitude.
Q: Where do You See Yourself in X Years From Now Within Our Company?
A: The objective of this question is to assess how goal-driven you are while you unravel common trends in the industry. Explain what these trends mean in the future and how you will confidently handle them.
Most candidates struggle with this question because they haven't worked in the environment to know exactly where they see themselves. The trick here is not to get too caught up in your own head and respond with certainty.
Q: How do You Handle Conflict in a Working Environment?
A: To address this question, you want to give an example of a positive situation which you handled in a professional, constructive manner. Demonstrate your ability to deal with conflict resolution and explain how your positive attitude had an impact on others and the outcome.
If you're highly opinionated, be sure to communicate your views in a respectful way. Once again, refrain from political or religious views and be mindful of your body language or selection of wording while you explain. These little non-verbal cues speak volumes of your character and professionalism.
Q: How do You Manage Multiple Tasks at Once?
A: This question relates to your ability to prioritize important tasks. Before answering, think about your skills set and your ability to multi-task various projects to fill in the gaps. If you're not a multi-tasker, you can talk about how much you value quality. Instead, explain how working on multiple tasks at once may make them prone to more errors.
At the same time, you want to let them know that you have a plan up your sleeve should more than one task come to you. For example, you can mention that you have a checklist, outlining the most important to least important tasks, while talking about your habit of taking notes.
Q: What are Your Salary Expectations?
A: It's totally natural to feel a bit intimidated by this question since you don't want to set a high salary expectation that could throw you out of the running to land your dream job. You also don't want to set a salary expectation that's too low and get paid way too little.
Try not to give an exact figure but rather talk about how you expect your salary to match your level of experience and qualifications. This is a neutral, rational response which allows room for negotiation or to offer a salary range.
Here are five easy techniques to help you negotiate your salary in Canada effectively.
Q: How do You Handle Failure?
A: You may want to share a little anecdote that explains how you handled failure in the past. Try and make it brief and talk about how you were able to turn a failure into a positive situation. Talk about what you've learned from the experience and what measures you've taken to avoid potential errors in the future.
Q: How do You Handle Criticism?
A: The last thing you want to do is talk about how you've never received any criticism as this would come across as arrogant or paint you as someone who lacks self-awareness. The question examines your ability to take constructive feedback – do you get irritated, upset or defensive? You may want to share a story that explains how you handled constructive criticism and how you translated that feedback into other tasks going forward.
Things to Remember During Your Canadian Job Interview
Job interviews are daunting, but we must go through them to get the job. Here are some things to keep in mind while in your interview.
Highlight the Value You’ll Add
If you have the necessary skills and are the perfect fit for the company, you'll more than likely be considered as a good option. It's a good idea to always highlight how you can contribute and add value to their company.
Be Open and Honest
Under no circumstances should you lie in an interview, especially regarding your experience and qualifications. If your answers do not reflect what is on your resume, you may be viewed as dishonest or ill-prepared.
Communication Skills Are Important
Communication is vital and employers need candidates who can communicate effectively and at ease when talking about their specific roles.
It may be easier said than done, but confidence is key during an interview. If you are a shy person, feign a degree of confidence by making sure your posture is straight and by speaking slowly and clearly. Try not to mumble and fidget. Pay close attention to what you say and how you say it as impressions are being formed as you are speaking.
Don’t lose faith
Rejection happens sometimes. If your application is unsuccessful, try not to lose faith and most importantly, do not take it personally. Find out ways to improve yourself and keep persevering.
Get Ready For Your Job Interview With the Conley University Job Interview Certificate Program
Developed by Conley University, this Job Interview Certificate Program will help prepare for the Canadian job interview process, from the pre- to post-interview stage.
- You’ll receive information on
- Job-hunting in Canada
- Canadian recruiter expectations
- Different interviews formats
- Potential interview questions
- Making a good first impression
Time to Prepare for Your Interview
With enough practice, you will be able to live and work in Canada in no time. Being comfortable with answering questions will take away any anxiety you may feel about the interview process. But remember, it is normal to be a bit nervous - even if the interview is online. If you'd like further assistance in this regard, our RCIC are at hand to only guide you but go through the process with you.
How Long Before an In-person Interview Should I Arrive for an Interview?
Commit to arriving at least 15 minutes before your interview. Also, consider your travel time, Canadian weather conditions and finding the building and office you'll need to be in. Use the 15 minutes to recover from your journey and collect your thoughts.
Where Can I Find Jobs in Canada?
There are several platforms on which you can find and apply for a job in Canada. Here are some examples:
Do I Need a Visa to Work in Canada?
As soon as you land your job in Canada, you'll need to check if you need a work visa and which visa you will need. There are two types: the Open Work Permit and the Employer-Specific Work Permit.
- Open Work Permit: This work permit is not job-specific, so you can work for any Canadian employer. It also exempts you from requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to qualify for a Canadian work visa.
- Employer-Specific Work Permit: This work permit allows you to work for a specific employer in Canada, according to conditions and limitations stipulated in the work permit. This one limits you to one employer at a specified location, with a duration of employment, whom they are authorized to work for and comply with. It will also require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
Learn more about all the Canadian work visa types.
How Can I Make my Status in Canada More Permanent Once I Get a Job There?
You'll be able to live and work in Canada permanently by applying for permanent residency via one of Canada's many pathways. The Express Entry system is a popular choice for economic immigration because it's fast, and you won't need a valid job offer or LMIA.