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Recruitment Process

How to prepare for an interview

A woman extending her hand for a handshake At The Regional Municipality of Durham, we conduct formal verbal job interviews as part of the selection process to evaluate applicants. Interview panels will usually involve more than one person and usually consist of the hiring managers/supervisors and/or an HR representative.

Job interviews can be the most stressful part of your job search. If you are prepared in advance, your stress level will be much reduced. We use a combination of Behaviour Event Interviewing (BEI), situational and technical interview questioning methods during our interview process. The following information is provided in order to assist you to be prepared for your job interview.

What is a Behaviour Event Interview (BEI) question?

  • BEI questions are used to collect information about the past behaviour of an applicant. Past performance is usually a predictor of future behaviour, a BEI interview question allows an applicant to reveal his/her past performance and asks open-ended questions related to specific past experiences.
  • BEI focuses on what an applicant has actually done in similar past situations, as opposed to what an applicant says she/he would do if encountered a particular situation.
  • Applicants should provide their answers in a “STAR” format (S/T= Situation or Task; A = Actions taken; R = final Result) in order to demonstrate his/her similar experiences in a particular situation.

Click here to learn more about BEI (PDF)

What is a Situational question?

  • Situational questions are asked to collect information about an applicant's ability to perform the job responsibilities by providing a specific scenario and asking what the applicant would do if presented with specific situations/events that are often encountered when performing the job responsibilities.

What is a Technical question?

  • Technical questions are used to assess if the applicant has the appropriate certification/license/knowledge/skill level required in order to be successful in the position when performing the job duties efficiently and effectively.
  • Technical questions also help validate the responses provided by the applicant in his/her resume and during a written assessment portion of the competition process (if applicable).

Getting ready for the interview

When an applicant is contacted to schedule an interview, he/she will be provided with a date, time and location. Confirm and write down the scheduled interview time, date and location. On the day of the interview arrive early (at least 15 minutes). If you are not familiar with the location, research, in advance the location provided to calculate how long it will take you to get there. If possible, drive or travel the route a day or two ahead of time to familiarize yourself with the route, parking, etc. This will alleviate stress on the day of your interview. Remember to set aside at an hour (minimum) for the interview.

When preparing for an interview, applicants should plan and rehearse answers to potential interview questions. It may be useful to review your previous training, skills opportunities and experiences in order to be ready to answer questions on what you did and how you did it (think in context of the STAR format).

Review the duties of the job contained in the advertisement you applied for. Write down specific examples of how you have gained similar work experiences in your current or previous jobs. Similarly, review the requirements of the job, and write down specific examples when you have successfully demonstrated proficiency applying the required skills and abilities listed in the job advertisement.

We recommend that applicants visit the job advertisement department's website pages (www.durham.ca) in order to gain an understanding of what the position may entail, as well as to learn about the services provided by the department at the Region of Durham.

On the day of the interview, bring with you:

  • A copy of your resume*.
  • A copy of the job advertisement*.
  • A list of three professional (not personal) references, noting contact information and working relationship (at least two should be a supervisor/or manager that you have previously reported to).
  • Paper and a pen, so you can take notes during the interview (if permitted)*.
  • Copies of letters of recommendation to provide the interview panel*.
  • Any other documentation that was specifically requested by the person who contacted you.

*Confirm with the interview panel if you can reference these materials during the interview.