4 Universal Tips to Prepare for Any Job Interview
By Catherine Lund, Toronto Marketing Recruiter

As a headhunter I give interview advice every day, and after years in the business, I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t.  Here are my top interview prep tips, with some very specific advice on how to set yourself up for success in an interview.  Better yet, the advice is valid for any discipline and any level of seniority.  Here we go…

1. Know What They’re Looking For

The reality is every interviewer has their own techniques for evaluating candidates, and as a candidate entering an interview, you won’t know what they are.  What you should know is every interviewer is trying to assess the same four things, and they will all assess you based on how well you communicate your answers:

  • Have you previously accomplished what the role requires?
  • Do your skills jive with the requirements of the role?
  • Do you have grit?
  • Will you fit in? (i.e. with your team, company culture, etc.)


IQ PARTNERS interview

2. Answer in Full

Keeping in mind what the interviewer is looking to find out about you (above), answer every question in full.  There is nothing worse than a one sentence answer to an open-ended interview question.  For example:

Interviewer – “Tell me about your last position.”

Interviewee – “I worked at Company X for 2 years as a Media Planner.”

Answers like this force the interviewer to keep digging for the information.  As a general guide, answer each question for 1-3 minutes – any less and the interviewer has to work too hard to get the information, any longer and you’ll come off as boring or self-centered.  Take control and give them what you know they’re looking for, but don’t ramble.

3. Qualify with Examples

When in doubt, use examples.  There is no better way to demonstrate your strengths than to give examples of where you’ve excelled, and how you’ve previously accomplished what is required of the role.  As a general rule, it’s good to use an example to support every answer… and if you’re blanking on a particular question, an example is always a good place to start.

4. Structure Your Answers

Each answer should contain the following:

1. Start with an opening statement

2. Strengthen your opening statement with a few sentences

3. Provide examples that support your opening statement

4. Summarize what you’ve just said

5. Provide a hook to guide the interviewer’s next question

The reality is there is no real way to judge candidates on their job performance.  Although some industries can integrate job-specific simulations into the interview process (think: programmers), most employers are stuck with assessing candidates via the traditional interview.  To win the role, use this easy framework to achieve positive interview results.


For more interview tips and suggestions for job seekers, check out our Tips from a Headhunter for Job Seekers blog category.  Also, learn more about Toronto Marketing Recruiter Catherine Lund, and connect with her on LinkedIn.

IQ PARTNERS is an Executive Search & Recruitment firm with offices in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. We have teams of specialist recruiters in Financial Services & Insurance, Marketing Communications & Media, Emerging Tech & Telecom, Consumer Goods & Retail, B2B & Industrial, Technology, Accounting & Finance, HR & Operations, Energy, Mining & Engineering, Life Sciences, and Construction, Property & Real Estate. IQ PARTNERS has its head office in Toronto and operates internationally via Aravati Global Search Network. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.

Mark Rouse Marketing Recruiter

Mark Rouse

Mark leads Canada’s largest Marketing Communications & Media recruitment practice. Leveraging close to two decades of industry experience in the Marketing Services and Agency businesses, he has been responsible for hiring, developing, and retaining top talent as Vice-President with companies such as Young & Rubicam, Wunderman, and J. Walter Thompson.

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