the interview
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Problems of Interviews
The Contacts

The Interview
Okay. You phoned and/or sent a resume, maybe with a covering letter telling them why you are the best choice.

Now they have called back and they want to SEE you and TALK with you.

First of all…GREAT!
Every time you talk with someone or meet someone in a business you like, you are taking a step forward, no matter what happens in the end.
If they hire you – fantastic.
If they don't – you have made a contact and had a chance to learn something.

Problems of Interviews

  1. Many people freeze up. It's hard to ‘be yourself' when you are with a stranger who can say ‘yes' or ‘no' to giving you a job. So try and forget about that part. Try to enjoy being with that person and ASK THEM QUESTIONS TOO.
  2. Not prepared. They try to teach you in school to be prepared for exams, but students often don't understand. LIFE's exams are job interviews. You can be prepared by 1) knowing your skills and experience well; 2) being able to answer as to how you would use those skills to serve the company; 3) being strong enough to ask questions about how you would fit in to the company and what you can expect for the future. Ask. It is your right. You will look like a more capable and responsible person.
  3. Not dressed right. Dress for the job. If you are serving the public, dress up. If you are working in a garage, you can wear jeans …but how about cleaner ones? Clean hands, hair, teeth and face make a good impression. Clean clothes too. You don't have to be dressed for the Oscars, but show that you CARE. Be neat and clean.
  4. No words. Just like actors rehears for a movie or stage play – you can rehease for an interview. Why? Because if you are like most people, you will go for a job interview once every few years. You will get out of practice!!! But you can practice up right now with a good friend. Ask him or her to pretend to be a boss and to ask you difficult questions about the job. Have fun with it – but do it…over and over again. Then, when you are in the interview, you will be able to talk freely.
  5. Not human. Many times people who are looking for jobs feel that the employer is ‘not human'. Forget that. If you see pictures of the person's kids on their desk, or nice pictures on the wall, or trophies for athletics or company participation days…whatever there is in the office, comment on it. Say “Oh, what a lovely….what is that for?” And then let them talk. They will tell you lots of things about themselves and the company and if you're smart you will tailor your next comments to them to fit.
  6. Bad body language. Sometimes dropouts have been beaten up SO MUCH by society. REMEMBER to STAND TALL AND SMILE . Go to that interview with a sense of confidence. You are going to HELP them solve their problem. You are not begging for work… you are offering them practical assistance. You are willing to DO the work everyone is talking about.

The Contract

Let's face it. Minimum wage employees are usually high school or college dropouts. Too often bosses count on you being ‘too stupid' to know your rights.

Probably everyone knows of someone who was told they would make $X.00 an hour and have such-and-such benefits….and when the end of the month came there was nothing even close to that.

The answer is….write a letter confirming your understanding of the deal. Write it as soon as you have made ‘the deal'.

A ‘contract' can be made by either side of the deal. You don't have to wait for your boss to send you a letter of agreement or contract. You can write one too. Now.

If you have just been “hired” by someone – go home and look at your notes (I hope you took notes in the meeting). Write a letter that reminds the person of what ‘you understood' they said. Put a date on the letter. Send or give them a copy with a friendly smile saying “This is my understanding of our agreement.”

Then you will have some kind of a legal agreement.

They don't have to have signed it – a verbal contract is a contract by Canadian law – but it may be hard to prove if there are no witnesses.

By writing this kind of letter you will find out quickly what kind of company/boss you are working for – and if they suddenly start changing the deal, you can also keep looking for other jobs. Get me?

J. Person
Mechanic in Training
(your home address)
(your telephone)
(your cellphone or e-mail)

Company X

ATTN: Jo Do, Personnel

Dear Jo,

RE: Agreement for Job as Garage Mechanic

Thanks for meeting with me on ____(day, month, year). I am glad you have accepted me as part of your team.

My understanding of our agreement is as follows:

  • I will make $____ an hour
  • I work from 8 am– 4pm, Mon thru Friday
  • I get an hour for lunch
  • Everything else is according to the provincial labour laws

I look forward to working with you. I think I can contribute a lot.


(Your name)

If the company responds well to this or offers corrections (even ones you do not like or agree with) you know you are working with ‘straight-shooters'. If they don't talk with you upfront, keep your own signed copy. If you find your pay cheque doesn't reflect what they said you'd be paid…then YOU have the contract. If they have not notified you of changes within reasonable time (i.e. normally 10 days to two weeks) then your contract will have more weight if you ever go to court.

I hope you never have to go to court over a labour dispute – but if you do – be sure you have kept records of letters of agreement (as above), pay slips and any letters from management regarding time off, holidays, pay etc.

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