How to nail your recruiting interview

Before the interview, it is essential that you inform yourself about the company to which you are applying. Research and learn all vital information: the company’s activities, current events, products, competitors, key figures, etc. You will find most of this information on the company’s website.

HIGHLIGHT YOUR STRENGTHS

The interview allows the recruiter to get to know you better on a professional level, on the basis of project management, and also on a personal level: your qualities and motivations, objectives and weaknesses. You must thus be able to clearly and coherently describe yourself.

Examine yourself thoroughly and write down your strengths, weaknesses and aspirations.

Recruiters will probably ask you to justify each of your skills and qualities with a concrete example drawn from your professional experience. You can facilitate this process by drawing a table with two columns like the example below1

EXAMPLE:

Skills Experience
Management Management of a team of 15 people with very different roles
Autonomy Responsible for the establishment and management of communication channels between the teams and the stakeholders
Sense of reality Successful management of budgets ranging from $20,000 to $5.3 million

KNOW HOW TO ANSWER THE RECRUITER’S QUESTIONS

During an interview, several kinds of questions1 might be asked:

  • Close-ended questions:
    “Do you speak French?”
  • Questions about previous experience:
    “How did you manage this high-risk situation?”
  • Questions about hypothetical situations:
    “If you had to plan the development and launch of this product, how would you do it?”
  • Questions testing comprehension:
    “Describe the process of managing a change.”

Examples of questions asked in a recruiting interview:

  • What are your weak points?
  • What are your assets?
  • In a few words or less, how would you describe yourself?
  • What interests you about this job?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • What are your ambitions?
  • How can your experience be of use to our department?
  • Which job was the most / least rewarding to you? Why?
  • How do you manage stress?
  • What have you learned from your failures?
  • What do you consider your biggest success?

TAKE AN INTEREST IN YOUR FUTURE EMPLOYER

By preparing questions for your recruiters in advance, you will avoid unnecessary embarrassment at the end of an interview and you will demonstrate your curiosity and interest in the job.

Example questions to ask employers:

  • To which department are the project managers attached?
  • Who will act as my direct superior?
  • Do you have a project office?
  • Is this a matrix organization?
  • What types of projects do you manage?
  • What are the prospects for advancement in the company?
  • Are there opportunities for professional training?
  • Why is the position open?

TO LEARN MORE

Do not hesitate to read books and websites geared towards recruiters in order to familiarize yourself with their recruiting methods.

1  Du CV à l’embauche, Eveline Marcil-Denault, Éditions Quebecor, 2005

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