The three tips that landed my co-op after the first interview

Summer is finally approaching in Victoria! For some students, this means travelling and relaxing, for others this means some summer classes, and for students like me, I’m starting my very first work term as part of the WEP/co-op program!

Although many students find their jobs through the University, just like any other job, you have to interview first before getting a co-op position. Like many students, I don’t have a lot of interview experience and for the interviews that I did have in high school and just after graduation, I was a hot mess, a ball of nerves and stutters.

But when the opportunity came up to potentially work for the Canadian Armed Forces at the Naval Training Development Centre in Esquimalt (just outside of Victoria), I knew I had to ace it. And both to my surprise and to my efforts, I got my co-op with the first job I applied for!

I’d like to credit me bagging this job to three points that make up a perfect interview triangle. Are you ready for these three things that helped me aced my co-op interview? Here they are: motivation, confidence, and candidness.

My interview was on MS Teams. Even if it was online, it’s important to treat these interviews as if they are offline themselves. (My answers and MS Teams window are blocked for privacy)

Motivation

One of the questions that you are inevitably going to be asked when applying for a co-op is “why did you choose us?” Why out of hundreds of postings did you apply to this one? If you are an excitable person like I am, this is your chance to let it show. What do you feel when you think about this job? How would you feel if the next day comes and you get that offer letter in your email?

For me, I was looking forward to being challenged in my thinking, but excited about the opportunity this would give me to start my career in education. Your enthusiasm will rub off on your interviewers, and when selection time comes, if they don’t remember exactly what your words are, they will know of the passion that stirs within you at the thought of your potential new job.

Confidence

We as a generation have a tendency to compare ourselves to others and to think that others are thinking the worst of us. Interviews can be scary because it seems like a representation of these greatest fears. We tend to associate job interviews with being grilled and scrutinized for every little gap or flaw in our resume or experience, but I think we need to change our mindset towards interviews.

The fact is is that when you are selected for a job interview, you are already qualified for the job, and that the company or organization wants you – now it’s your turn to show them that you want them too.

I remember seeing that there were three other candidates for this job and that made me so nervous. For all I know, they could have achieved world peace. And good for them if they did, but I still bring other things to the table that are different or unique. No one knows my skills better than myself, and I believe that an interview or a cover letter is a free pass to inflate yourself a bit, to be confident and (for lack of a better term) a bit selfish about how good you are.

Candidness

It’s time to do away with the stiffness at job interviews. First of all, no one actually sits that straight up, you’ll hurt your back and it’s not good for airflow.

Second of all, when the interviewer makes a little joke and you do that polite laugh (you know the one) – they know you’re just sucking up to them.

Third of all, no one is ever THAT proper and put together 100% of the time. Let’s not kid ourselves and waste much time being someone we’re not.

As much as the common interview conventions are still good advice – look decent, rehearse your stuff (basically everything that MyUVic Life alumni Michaela outlines in this post from 2017), the point of the job interview for the employer is to get a sense of who you are, and in the same way, it’s your way to get a glimpse into the culture and expectations of your potential new workplace. I’d go so far as to say that it’s admirable for one to break convention in your demeanour and to dare and be yourself.

I think it’s inspiring for someone to be unapologetically them in their job interview. You might even see your interviewer loosen up a bit and turn an interview into a conversation, in my case, this calmed down my nerves and made it seem like I wasn’t being grilled at all. Plus, it mustered up a bit more confidence within me that I know that I’m being true to myself and my interviewer.

I won’t guarantee that these three steps are going to land you your co-op on your first try (as fellow blogger Navinder recounts here), but with these three mindsets in your back pocket, what I can promise is that what is better than landing a job after a rockstar interview is the rockstar interview yourself. So get out there and talk about yourself like it’s no one’s business!

Interested in what co-operative education at UVic is like? Type “co-op” in the search box right here on MyUVic Life or check out this page!

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3 Responses

  1. Maddy says:

    Congratulations Justin! Your first Co-Op is well-deserved! 🙂

    • Justin says:

      Thanks Maddy! I don’t know what’s more exciting, that I have a new job or that I get to stay in Victoria over the summer! 🙂

  2. Sam says:

    Just reading this now, but congrats Justin!! That is so exciting.

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