Job Seeking Tips from Employers

Introduction

We’re collecting interviews with employers to help you discover what they’re looking for during the hiring process. More responses to come …

Interviews

Siebe Koopman

Employer profile: Siebe Koopman is the owner of Dutch Delicious, a bakery in Edmonton, Alberta. Siebe is passionate about baking quality products, providing great customer service, and giving back to the community through various charitable endeavours.

 

Question 1: How did you get your first job?

My friend’s mom put me in contact with a market vendor, who hired me.

Question 2: What advice do you have for high school and college students who have very little work experience?

Start working early, even for free. As it says in the Bible, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Col. 3:23). Learn to do more than expected, because this attitude will get you hired anywhere. There’s no traffic jam on the extra mile.

Question 3: What’s your favourite interview question? Why does it work well?

My favourite question is “If you had a personal mission statement, how would this workplace be a stepping stone to achieve it?”

Asking this question will show if the applicant is really on board with the mission of the company, or if he/she just wants to get paid. If a new team member comes on board for the right reason, he/she does not need to be motivated. and will help keep “the bus” moving forward.

Another good one is to “describe the best character trait of a previous leader/teacher that you liked.” The answer will show how the applicant is wired, but also usually reveal some hidden talents and or frustrations that will then show if he/she will fit the company culture.

Question 4: If you could give every young person a book to read, what would it be? (Feel free to suggest multiple titles).

I really like the following books:

  • Rhinoceros Success: The Secret To Charging Full Speed Toward Every Opportunity.
  • How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge: Leveraging Influence When You Lack Authority. (At any level you CAN make a difference and lead up).
  • The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues. (This book shows that every team player needs to be humble, hungry and (people) smart).

Question 5: Any other advice for the young job seeker?

Come with an honest question to any interview. This time is for you as well to see if the company will be suitable for you. Also, know that things happen for a reason: if you receive a no, it might mean that this place is indeed not the place for you. If you drop off a resume in person, addressed to that specific company, while dressed appropriately– these few things will have you ahead of the game.

Question 6: Finally, how can you tell if someone will be a good fit for your business?

The first impression is often critical. I often have a gut feeling that will lead me to hiring or not hiring. A team member needs to be humble, hungry and smart. being able to admit mistakes or ask for help, yet also willing to work hard, and be able to recognize what needs to be done. It’s important to have a non-entitled attitude. Finally, they should be able to address people on an individual level, being able to change their approach with different personality styles. Good candidates do NOT need to be perfect, but real.

Barbara van Ingen

Employer profile: Barbara van Ingen is Vice-President Student Life and Learning at Concordia University of Edmonton. She loves to help students develop their potential, and she has extensive experience interviewing students for various positions on campus.

 

Question 1: How did you get your first job?

A friend introduced me to her boss at a bakery.

Question 2: What advice do you have for high school and college students who have very little work experience?

Most people are looking to hire employees who are willing to work hard and want to learn. Experience doesn’t have to come only from traditional jobs, so think about your experiences (e.g., playing on a sports team or volunteering) and market those skills. If you are looking to gain experience, volunteer. This will also build your network and provides you with an opening to the job market.

Question 3: What’s your favourite interview question? Why does it work well?

Tell me about the relationships you’ve had with the people you’ve worked with. How would you describe the best ones? The worst? Asking a job candidate these questions highlights their ability to work with others. Relationships with colleagues, and the ability to work as part of a team, are often the keys to finding a good fit with an employee. Most people are hesitant to bad-mouth others in an interview, so it also gives you a sense of how they respond to difficult coworkers.

Question 4: If you could give every young person a book to read, what would it be? (Feel free to suggest multiple titles).

To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. It is my favorite book. It encourages people to be empathetic and consider other people’s perspectives. The story has quintessential characters, and speaks to morality, racism, justice, love and practicing what one preaches–themes relevant in our current time.

Question 5: Any other advice for the young job seeker?

Build your network, this is a reliable path to a great job at any stage of life. Connect with everyone you know, and in turn with everyone they know, to express your interest and find opportunities.

Question 6: Finally, how can you tell if someone will be a good fit for your business?

You typically know within the first few minutes whether someone is a good fit. A candidate gets an interview because they meet the job qualifications, so the interview allows the candidate to demonstrate whether they are a match with the organization’s culture. When a candidate’s values and behaviors are consistent with those of the organization, they are typically a good fit.

Dan Mirau

A Photo of Dan Mirau, Library Director at Concordia University of Edmonton

Employer profile: Dan Mirau is library director at Concordia University of Edmonton. He is passionate about creating a great learning environment for students, and is famous for always having a smile on his face.

 

Question 1: How did you get your first job?

My first job was as a newspaper delivery boy for the Medicine Hat News. I think I was around 13 years old, so it’s a bit haze but I seem to recall filling out an application form and presenting it at the newspaper offices.

Question 2: What advice do you have for high school and college students who have very little work experience?

Get involved with organizations you care about and try to meet people who share your passions. These connections can turn into helpful bullet items on a resume, and you may meet people who will provide you with positive references.

Question 3: What’s your favourite interview question? Why does it work well?

“Tell me why you are interested in this particular position.” This is typically the first question I ask of interviewees. The way a person answers gives me the best sense of whether they are really interested in the type of work the position requires or are simply seeking any job. I love to see people share their enthusiasm for the kind of work I am very passionate about myself, and I watch for a genuine and focused interest, a spark of light that tells me there is a good fit between applicant and position.

Question 4: If you could give every young person a book to read, what would it be? (Feel free to suggest multiple titles).

Moby Dick. Great adventure filled with memorable characters. It has a lot to say about perseverance and getting along with interesting colleagues in stressful situations.

Question 5: Any other advice for the young job seeker?

Try to push yourself outside your comfort zone. Get involved, meet people, and be open to learning from them. Offer to help out, and soon others will be helping you.

Question 6: Finally, how can you tell if someone will be a good fit for your business?

They speak well of themselves and others, demonstrate reliability and integrity, and have a clear passion for learning and helping others. These are probably the clearest indicators.

 

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