Saturday, September 22, 2007


The Toughest Interview Question: Facing New New Immigrants in North America.

If you are fortunate enough to get in-the-door of the right company looking to hire someone with your professional skills and qualifications then you will have to deal with some difficult interview questions.

The typical job interview takes about one hour; Sixty minutes of time that determines where you will spend at least 8 hours of a day, a crucial meeting that solidifies your professional identity and future lifestyle for you and your family in Canada.

With my experience of assisting thousands of professional immigrants with their job search, the questions that cause most anxiety relate to the lack of Canadian work experience. It’s extremely important that new professionals handle this question with a solid response.
Most professional immigrants arrive in Canada with a great education, years of work experience, lots of talent and a commitment to hard work. Yet lack the understanding of how to effectively communicate their value during a job interview. It’s vital that newcomers showcase that they DO HAVE the drive, skills and experience to take on a professional job similar to that of their home country.

Forget Interview strategies for this column. Here are some real interview answers to get you through the number one toughest question your will face. Practice these answers, memorize them and use them. This type of professional language will help you understand and respond effectively to the dreaded Canadian experience question:

Employer Question:

Why should we hire you, over other candidates with greater Canadian experience?
To answer this question you will need a plan or a rehearsed script. Think about famous actors when they perform in a play or a movie. They do so only after massive preparation. Every word, every pause, every facial gesture has been practiced. In fact, professionals in every field recognize when called to perform at a competitive level they must be ready. They practice until their responses to an important situation becomes second nature.

Treat your response to questions or concerns related to your lack of Canadian experience with the same degree of practice and performance. Rather than taking a defensive position with your answer, go on the offense. Turn the question into an opportunity that mirrors commonly held business concepts.

Here’s a script to rehearse.


“We’re in a dynamic global economy, I understand you are (or want to be) a global company. A company that thinks and acts beyond Canada’s borders. My work experience has many common traits that you are looking for.” (Give a clear example at this point that matches their requirements.) Write down your own experience example and rehearse it before the interview. Practice over and over again, memorize and make sure you provide examples of experiences that match the criteria for their job description.

Here’s more dialogue for you to memorize.

“I also hope to assist with your companies initiatives locally and globally. Many Canadian businesses are realizing that more than half of their products and services are being bought by new immigrants. I hope with my multi-language skills and cultural understanding that I can help service and grow your customer base in new markets that are growing each year with the increase in Canadian immigration.

These responses will be extremely attractive to companies that are targeting their products into immigrant market segments. Your competition will not be able to compete with your language and cultural insights that match social demographic changes to Canada’s population. If you’re interviewing with a progressive company, there may already be plans underway to move their products and services global or at least local plans to reach growing immigrant communities in Canada.

I know most of your realize that you must commit to improving your English skills and practice every day. But go beyond practice and pretend you are an actor in a movie learning a foreign accent. You’re not trying to be fake when job interviewing, your simply trying to present full value of your potential.

You shouldn’t be relegated to low level entry jobs in Canada. If you’re a professional take responsibility for preparing and presenting yourself until you can answer well enough to present your skills and experience. Practice interview answers until you can quote them perfectly. Memorize, practice and face questions about your lack of Canadian experience with confidence. Become dedicated to your interview performance, like actors in-front of paying audiences. Because when your interviewing for a job, you are performing in-front of a paying audience, your future employer.

Minto Roy
President / CEO
PCMG Canada / Careers Today Canada/PCMG Executive
Vancouver, British Columbia