Moving at The Speed of Care


The lights flash, time is up; you move tables and get ready for the next question. You’re asked, “tell me about a time …” Sounds like speed dating, it has a familiar feel; you are being put on the spot, you have to answer questions about yourself to a person you have never met and you are essentially selling your very best traits. But, in this exercise you’re practicing answering questions that are designed to help land your next job, not a life partner.

It’s called “speed interviewing”. You have just minutes to answer one behavioural question, such as “tell me about a time when you had to work with a challenging colleague, and how did you handle it?” After you have answered the question, the trained interviewer provides feedback.

“This is the second time we have held a mock speed interviewing session with trained Imperial employees and internationally trained professionals (ITPs),” says Anita Remartinez, in human resources with Imperial Oil. “It’s about helping ITPs with their interview skills so they have an equal opportunity in the interview to be the successful candidate.”

It is Imperial’s unique and ry very successful Day of Caring ™. Imperial employees – more than 20 – who are trained in interviewing volunteered their time to practice with ITPs who are part of the Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council’s (CRIEC) mentoring strategy.

“These ITPs are mentees through CRIEC-BVC. This is just one of the ways we are supporting them in finding meaningful employment in a trained profession – we are connecting experience with opportunity,” says Bruce Randall the Executive Director at CRIEC. “The energy and enthusiasm in the room was incredible. We are thankful that Imperial hosts this day in partnership with CRIEC and Bow Valley College because it makes a huge difference for those who are new to our country and are learning a new culture”.

This is a special program that CRIEC and Imperial keep evolving each year they co-host. This year the focus was on interview success.

Remartinez walks through how to approach the tough questions. “It’s important to remember the ‘STAR’ model – which is, Situation, Task, Action and Result.” You start by naming a situation that relates to the question, you highlight your tasks involved, how you acted in the situation and the results that were accomplished”.

It may sound easy, but it takes practice, practice and more practice.

“These questions are challenging and require a lot of thought,” Remartinez says.

Each ITP had the opportunity to go through three rounds of questions and feedback from different Imperial professionals.

“It was intense,” says Adaeze Opene, a participant in the workshop. “But, it was great to have feedback after each round. I kept hearing the same tip, which was to share more detail on my actions in the situation I reference,” she says.

They are tips that will better prepare her when she is called for that next big interview. And even though the day was not “speed dating,” in the end a real interview is all about finding the perfect match – for both the company and the job seeker.