Did you ever go to an interview without being prepared? Well, I did and believe me, I really didn’t expect things to turn out this way.
It happened last year for an interview with a BMO recruiter. During the same time, I was looking for a co-op placement in the private sector and I had even applied for a position at BMO (for which I still hadn’t heard back even though it had been quite some time). It was a mock interview organized by the Career Centre, and wanting to make a really good impression, I asked myself how I should prepare, especially since the interview wasn’t for a specific position. And then I asked myself, “What would happen if I went in without any preparation and just improvised?” After all, the main purpose of an interview is to determine whether there is a fit between the candidate and the employer. It was a risky thing to do but I still decided to go ahead with it.
Once I arrived, the BMO recruiter introduced herself with a large smile. We covered topics such as who I am, my projects, her career, and potential challenges for an employee who is committed to the project of starting a family. Since it was a practice interview, I felt more at ease, and the interviewer did not necessarily treat our interaction with the same level of formality as they would have if this was a real interview. So all in all, we had an informal discussion in a relaxed atmosphere. By the end of our conversation, I had really connected with the employer, to the point that we exchanged our contact information and she offered to put a word in for me for the position I had applied for at BMO. (I was later called for an interview for this position.) Yes, I had done several interviews before since I was a co-op student. Yes, I had participated in mock interviews for specific positions in the past. But I also went into the interview with something that we often decide to leave at home when we go for a job interview: my personality, the real “me”. It helped me answer the questions in a spontaneous way and I’m confident that it played a big role in my success during this particular interview.
Why did I decide to share this story? Because it took me a lot of time to realize that an interview is above all a meeting between two or more people who want to learn more about each other (yes, the assessing part goes both ways) to know if they are a compatible fit in a work setting. I hope that my experience will inspire you for the future. Please don’t hesitate to share your stories as comments if you have had similar experiences.
I wish you all success!