Ten tips on how to succeed on your next interview with the GOC

The coaches of Y2 Consulting Psychologists have conducted hundreds of interview simulations to help GOC employees and managers move up the corporate ladder. Using the services of specialised coaches who can lead you through a selection board simulation and provide you with developmental feedback is often regarded as the most efficient strategy in helping individuals get a promotion. Below are some tips from Y2CP's coaches on how to better perform on your next interview with the GOC:

  1. Carefully read the work description and the statement of merit criteria (SOMC) for the position you are considering, paying particular attention to the essential and asset qualifications (e.g. experience, knowledge, abilities and personal suitability) required.
  2. Inquire about how the board interviews will proceed (e.g. will you be getting the interview questions in advance to prepare? If so, how much prep time will you have? How long will the interview be? How many board members will be present?).
  3. Check out the departmental Website. Research and review major departmental reports (e.g. Departmental Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP), the Departmental Performance Report (DPR), Integrated Business and HR Plan, Corporate Risk Profile, Management Accountability Framework (MAF). Also, research and review the departmental mission, mandate, values, etc. Finally, research and review current news and information about the department – key initiatives and happenings. If you have colleagues/friends in the department, contact them for the latest news.
  4. Check with colleagues who are in the same category and at the same level for which you are competing. Perhaps they can provide you with some information on how the board interview was conducted in their own case, and what they thought to be particularly challenging.
  5. Choose a willing colleague/friend/family member (one who will be an honest critic) with whom you can practice informally for an interview. If you decide to do a simulation, take it seriously (candidates should act as if they were at a real interview). The candidate and the responses should be natural.
  6. If possible, hire a professional consulting firm to provide you with an interview simulation. Going through a structured practice interview and getting immediate feedback (on how you did and what you can do to improve your interview skills) has proven to be an excellent investment for many. Below are some testimonials of GOC employees/managers who have gone through Y2CP's practice interview simulations:
    "I met the consultants at Y2 in order to improve my participation in interviews. The experience, at the time of my meeting, was excellent. I learned a lot and I garnered the information necessary for me to accomplish my objectives. I would recommend this service to everyone."
    — Sylvie Larocque, Infrastructure Canada
    "I recently used Y2 Consulting Psychologists to help prepare for a competition and board interview. Having carefully reviewed the poster and the statement of merit, they prepared appropriate interview questions and administered a mock interview. Afterwards, they provided useful tips and pointers on how best to improve my interview skills and performance. I found this exercise to be extremely helpful in my preparation for the actual interview."
    — James Zeni, Manager, Economic Analysis, Infrastructure Canada
  7. Be prepared to answer lead-in questions such as: "If we asked your colleagues what your greatest work-related strength/area of development is, what would they say? Please provide an example." "What aspects of this current job/position interest you specifically?".
  8. Write your "stories" – prepare written examples of projects/work performed in your past for each competency being assessed:
    • what was the situation/problem/challenge
    • what action took place
    • what was the outcome/solution
    • most important lesson(s) learned
    • challenging work that was accomplished, biggest success...
  9. If there is prep time before the interview (usually 30 minutes in which candidates have an opportunity to view the questions to be posed at the interview), candidates should:
    • Manage their time (so they have a chance to consider each of the questions)
    • Use a structured approach when considering/preparing possible responses
    • Draft responses in point form (candidates should only refer to their notes during the interview and not read them).
  10. Make a good first/last impression: Practice opening a door, coming into a room, offering your hand confidently, smiling and introducing yourself. The last questions you could be asked in an interview situation might be: "Do you have any questions for us? Is there anything you would like to know about our organization or the job?" Prepare two or three questions about the position for which you are applying or about the selection/competition process. If no question is asked of you, take the liberty to ask a question nevertheless and/or express your enthusiasm for the sought-after position.

Best of luck on your next job interview!

Dr. Yaniv Benzimra, Consulting Psychologist
L.Long, HRM Consultant
Y2 Consulting Psychologists