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Education & Career Plans
- Why did you choose to study __________ ?
- How are you enjoying the program? Why?
- Why did you get involved with the co-op program?
What do you hope to get out of participating?
- What are your grades like? (If not good, why?)
- Which courses do you enjoy best? least? Why?
- Which area(s) of the __________ field interests
you most? Why?
- What do you think it takes to succeed in the __________
- You're in school now, but what do you expect to
be doing in five years?
Experience & Skills
Which past jobs have you enjoyed the most? the least?
Under what circumstances did you leave your last
Describe your working relationship with your last
Are you currently working part-time? (If yes,) do
you plan to quit to take a co-op position?
What experience related to this position have you
(If no related experience,) how specifically will
your past experience be valuable in the __________ field?
(For non-CS students) How computer literate are you?
What kinds of computer equipment and software have you
- You are being interviewed by several employers this
week. Why would you like to work for our organization?
- We are looking for a student who will want to come
back here for their second and maybe third work terms,
and possibly a permanent position after graduation.
How does this suit your plans?
- We are participating in the co-op program because
__________ is our busy period. We do not foresee an
opportunity for future permanent employment. How does
this suit your plans?
- This job requires someone with a concern for detail
(for example). Do you qualify? Give an example from
- This job requires someone with above-average interpersonal
communication skills (for example). Do you qualify?
Give an example from past experience.
- What salary are you expecting during your first
work term? Why?
- How would you summarize your overall knowledge and
skills in the __________ field? (Mention strengths
and areas of special interest.)
- They will likely ask some technical questions to
test your professed level of expertise; sometimes
there will be a written test. You may also be asked
to construct a brief business letter or memo to demonstrate
your business writing skills. Where appropriate you
may be asked to provide a portfolio or demonstrate
specific skills pertaining to the job.
- What are your strengths? Weaknesses? How do you
know? Can you give an example of each? (relate to
- Which three adjectives best describe you? (e.g.,
reliable, kind, etc.)
- Can you give an example of how you have shown initiative
in a past job or volunteer experience?
- What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
- Do you prefer working on your own or in a team?
- What are some of your leisure interests?
- Do you have a car or some other reliable form of
- Are you willing to relocate for co-op/permanent
At the end of the interview, you will usually be given
an opportunity to ask questions. Ask about the work itself
and the people you will be working with.
FOR THE INTERVIEW, ASK YOURSELF:
- On Your Career
- What are your future career plans?
- Why did you choose your particular career?
- What qualifications do you have that make you feel
you would be successful in your field?
- Do you prefer any specific geographic location?
Why? Is this a good reason?
- What do you think determines a person's progress
in a good company?
- What personal characteristics are necessary for
success in your chosen field?
- Do you prefer working with others or by yourself?
- What kind of boss do you prefer?
- What do you know about opportunities in the field
in which you are trained?
- What do you expect to be doing in five, ten or fifteen
- Do you prefer to work in a large or small city?
- Would you prefer to work for a large or a small
- What are the disadvantages of your chosen field?
On Your Education
- In what school activities have you participated?
Why? Which ones did you enjoy the most?
- What courses did you like best? Least? Why?
- How did you spend your vacations while in high school?
- Do you feel you have received a good general training?
- Do you think that your extra-curricular activities
were worth the time that you devoted to them? Why?
- Have you ever changed your major field of interest
while studying? Why?
- Do you feel you have done the best scholastic work
of which you are capable?
- How did you happen to go to college or vocational
- Have you ever had any difficulty getting along with
fellow students and teacher?
- Which of your school years was the most difficult?
- Did you enjoy going to school?
- Do you consider your education valuable? Why
- ink of your previous employer?
- What have you learned from some of the jobs you
- Can you get recommendations from previous employers?
- What jobs have you enjoyed the most? The least?
- Have you ever trained anyone to do a job?
- Did you train your replacement?
- On Your Application and the Company to Whom You
- Why do you think you might like to work for our
- What do you know about our company?
- What interests you about our product or service?
- What are your ideas on salary?
- What salary do you expect on this job?
- What did you make on your last job?
- Would you be willing to work for the minimum wage
On Your Personal Life
- What types of books have you read?
- Do you enjoy sports as a participant? As an observer?
- What do you do to keep in good physical condition?
- Have you ever had any serious illness or injury?
- Are you primarily interested in making money or
do you feel that service to humanity is a satisfactory
- Can you take instructions without feeling upset?
- Do you like routine work? <!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->
- Do you like regular hours?
- What is your major weakness?
- Define cooperation.
- Will you fight to get ahead?
- Do you demand attention?
- Have you an analytical mind?
- Are you eager to please?
- Is it an effort for you to be tolerant of persons
with a background and interest different from your
- What are your own special abilities? Strengths?
- Do you like to travel?
- How about overtime work?
- What have you done which shows initiative and willingness
- Define success.
PREPARING FOR INTERVIEWS
Job interviews can be a source of concern for students
and graduates who haven't had much experience with them.
Hopefully, what is written here will help to make them
less so. Perhaps the most important key to a successful
interview is to be well-prepared for it and to have some
knowledge of what to expect. Armed with this information
you should be able to approach your interview with confidence
and hopefully, even pleasurable anticipation. Remember,
the employers want you.
The interview itself is merely an exercise in two-way
communication between the recruiter and you and each attempts
to "sell" the other. The recruiter "sells"
the job and his/her company while the student "sells"
himself or herself as the person best suited to fill it.
The first step is to read the job description carefully
and understand the content. Your next step is to find
out all you can about the company. Information may be
available from the business pages in various newspapers,
trade publications and company annual reports, as well
as the University College library. As a bare minimum you
should know what products the company produces or the
services it provides and where it is located.
As mentioned previously, the job interview will require
you to yourself. Your appearance, manner and attitude
are of first importance. You must be on time for your
interview since nothing creates a worse impression than
As far as dress is concerned, be neatly and conservatively
dressed. Your manner and attitude should reflect the type
of person you are or would like to be. Recruiters are
generally quite good at detecting the person who "puts
on an act", so just be yourself! Come to the interview
prepared to talk about yourself, your career objectives
and your interests. Don't underestimate your hobby interests
and extra curricular activities since recruiters are fully
aware that what you like to do in your spare time says
a lot about the type of person you are. If you have no
such interests you should do something about cultivating
Above all, approach your interview with a reasonable degree
of confidence and self-assurance. Convince yourself that
you can do the job as well as the next person and probably
better if you put your mind to it. Recruiters are invariably
impressed with the student who displays real interest
Thank the interviewer for the opportunity and leave with
a warm smile and handshake.
Use this list to help with pre-interview planning
- Know where the office is and how you are going to
get there on time; getting lost will only add to your
- Take time to choose appropriate attire (preferably
the day before) and groom carefully -- appearances
- Learn about the organization; the employer will
want to know why you want to work there and how you
think you can contribute to the organization's overall
- Identify the relevant skills and experience you
can bring to the job.
- Prepare two or three questions to ask the interviewer;
avoid asking about benefits until you have been offered
- Arrive 5 to 10 minutes before your appointment time.
- Shake hands firmly with the interviewer when you
are introduced and again when the interview concludes.
- Do not smoke, chew gum or drink tea or coffee --
even if you are invited to do so.
- Maintain eye contact with the interviewer; otherwise,
you will give the impression that you are disinterested
- Try not to fidget; it will distract the interviewer
from what you are saying.
- Allow the interviewer to take the lead; do not interrupt
when she/he is talking.
- Answer questions clearly and concisely; do not ramble.
- Pause to construct a thoughtful answer; do not blurt
out the first thing that comes into your mind.
- Attend to the interviewer's body language and other
cues to sense when the interview is concluding; do
- Thank the interviewer for her/his time before leaving.
- Convey your strengths and abilities without appearing
boastful or conceited; do not exaggerate your qualifications.
- Answer the questions honestly, rather than telling
the interviewer what you think she/he wants to hear;
you do not want to succeed in getting hired for a
job for which you are not suited!
- Do not hesitate to show your (genuine) enthusiasm
and engaging personality and . . . remember to smile.
- Volunteer information only if it is positive and
- Watch for opportunities to sell your skills.
- Avoid using negative terms. Substitute the words
"challenge" or "opportunity" for
the word problem.
- Never forget that your objective is to get a job
DEALING WITH REJECTION
You're not alone. Everyone who is now successfully employed
has, at one time or another, either lost a job or has
been turned down for one. There are at least two ways
to deal with rejection - either mope around complaining
about your bad luck or to take charge of your life by
adopting a positive attitude while realizing that feelings
of stress and anxiety are normal, expected and need not
be long lasting.
Keep in mind posture, body language, and active listening.
Do not ask about salary, benefits or working conditions
(perks!) until you are offered the position.