The Importance of the Job Interview in Canada

As I have mentioned several times, I will not only help you with your visa application process, I will also help you arrive and settle in Canada!

One of the most important tasks that you will have to accomplish after you arrive to Canada will be attending to several job interviews so that you can get the job of your dreams in Canada! Today, I will give you some useful advice and recommendations to help you answer TOUGH questions during your job interview in Canada! Remember, Canadians are very nice, but sometimes they can be tough!

O.K. let’s get started…

After a little practice, most of us can become quite confident answering some interview questions, such as “What are your strengths?” or “Why do you want this job?” These common questions have been heard by millions of job seekers over the years and have been answered with varying degrees of success.

However, there are other questions that are more difficult to masterfully answer. These are the ones interviewers like to throw at us when everything else seems to be going smoothly in the interview. Just when we think we’ve done a great job, we hear something like “Why did you get fired from your last job?” or “How come you’ve had so much trouble finding a position since the layoff?” or “If you could be any television character, who would you be and why?” or “How does your husband/wife feel about you taking this job?’

The problem with most of these questions isn’t that we don’t know the answers; it’s that they take us by surprise for a moment and throw us off our game. We miss the catch because the ball came out of nowhere.

Now you could practice answering all of these potential questions, but there’s always a good bet that a savvy interviewer will still throw something your way that you didn’t see coming. After all, they want to see how well you handle something unexpected. So this section won’t provide you with definite clever answers for all of the possible “trick” questions in the world, but we will look at numerous examples and I’ll give you some basic guidelines and suggestions on how to handle them.

As a result, you might be a caught off-guard for a moment by an unusual question, but you’ll recover quickly and answer with a thoughtful response that should “Wow!” the interviewer. With that goal in mind, let’s begin our journey into the world of unusual and difficult interview questions.

Questions About Former Employers & Employment

Chances are you won’t escape an interview without facing some questions about your past and/or current employers. Some questions are fairly simple, such as “Tell me what you liked most about your last job.” Those questions you can answer without too much pressure and without becomingly overly worried about slipping up and saying the wrong thing.

On the other hand, you may also face more difficult questions about your work history. Here are some examples:

– Why did you leave your last job?

– Why were you fired?

– Why has there been such a large gap between your jobs?

– Why are you switching careers?

All of these questions have the potential to cause you to lose your composure during an interview and to stumble around for an answer. Thankfully, however, there are ways to answer these questions effectively.

Why did you leave your last job?

We all have different reasons for searching out a new position: we want more money, we didn’t get along with our boss, etc. In most cases, our real reason for leaving may not make the best response during an interview.

For example, if you responded, “I left because of a conflict with my supervisor” the interviewer is going to see you as a potential problem. After all, if you’ve had conflict with one supervisor, you may have a problem with authority. If you said, “I wanted to find a job that paid better and that had more opportunities for advancement,” the interviewer would wonder if you’d really be happy with the salary or the opportunities at this position or if you’d just leave there as well.

The correct answer should be positive and should be directed towards what you know about this position. In an interview for a job where you’d be dealing with customers or public relations regularly, you might answer, “Although I enjoyed my previous job, I wanted to seek out a position that would give me more chances to work with the public.”

Why were you fired?

It can be difficult to explain to a potential employer why you were fired from a previous position. Many people make the mistake of blaming the other company or the supervisor for the problem, but you have to remember the golden rule of interviewing: never say anything negative about a former employer.

Your best bet is to check in with your references from that past employer to determine exactly what there take on your firing was. You may have thought the split was amicable when they viewed it in a different light altogether. After you’ve spoken with your references, you’ll have a better idea of how to formulate a response.

In your answer, you should accept your share of the blame. No firing – not even one that was unfair or biased – is completely one-sided. Blaming others will only tell the interviewer that you haven’t learned a lesson and that you’re likely to make the same mistakes again.

A good answer might be the following: “I was fired because there was a miscommunication from the beginning about my job responsibilities. The employer needed someone who had access to a vehicle during the day, and I did not. I should have stated from the beginning that, while my transportation was reliable, I would not be able to run errands outside of the office.” In the response, the individual briefly explains the situation and accepts responsibility for her share of the miscommunication. She doesn’t speak negatively about the past employer.

Don’t forget to be honest. Making up a story to explain why you were fired won’t get you the job.

Why has there been such a large gap between your jobs?

Interviewers look over your resume for carefully. What they want to see is a continuous, or nearly continuous, stream of employment. When there are stretches of time between jobs ranging from six months to a year or more, they may be concerned about your ability to maintain a position long-term or about personal issues which may require you to leave the workplace for lengthy periods of time.

If the interviewer asks about these gaps, then your best strategy is to be honest. For example, you might say “I took some time off to stay home with our new baby, but now that he’s settled in pre-school I feel comfortable accepting the responsibilities of a full-time position” or “After I was displaced from my Acme where I’d worked for eight years, it took me awhile to regain my confidence. It happened quite suddenly, and I admit I wasn’t prepared to make a change. It took me awhile to feel comfortable getting back out in the job market.”

Again, take responsibility for the gap between positions but also try to ease the concerns that are behind the interview’s question or that may be raised as a result of your answer.

Why are you switching careers?

For some of us, when we want a change, we want a major change. Switching employers may not be enough; we may have to try an entirely different field. The desire to re-invent ourselves may be easy enough for us to understand but interviewers may question the switch. What they don’t want is a new employee who quickly regrets making the change or who realizes the new career isn’t all they thought it would be.

Your answer to this question should reflect a sincere interest in the new field, as well as your knowledge of what it entails. Basically, make sure you have done your homework so the interviewer knows this isn’t just some fly-by-night decision; it’s something you’ve put a lot of thought into.

Here’s a sample answer: “After I spent ten years in advertising, I wanted a change that would give me more opportunities to work with customers directly. That’s the main reason I considered sales. I did some research into the field and discovered that the best salespeople have strong interpersonal skills, a genuine desire to help others, and an ability to recognize the needs and wants of customers. These are all traits I’ve developed through my experience in advertising so I thought this would be a great fit for me.”

See you in Canada!

Alex Berezovsky helps potential immigrants from every country in the world apply for the Canadian visa. He is founder of