Interview process and procedures

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Interviews are a critical factor in the job search process. Review the interview skills module in CareerHub to learn best practices for successful interviews.

Commitment to interviews

Once you have applied to jobs in WaterlooWorks, you are committed to all interviews you receive.

Important: you are required to attend all scheduled interviews, regardless of their status 'Confirmed' or 'Unconfirmed'. Review the help documentation for more detail.

You are expected to conduct yourself professionally and with integrity in all interviews.

Withdrawing from interviews

The following are the only reason for which you may be exempted from interviews:

  • Prior to the start of the first interview cycle (before 12:00 p.m. on the business day prior to the first day of interviews)
    • You have chosen to return to a previous employer
    • You have accepted an arranged own job that has not been posted in WaterlooWorks​
  • During the first interview cycle
    • You are a first work term student, and you have accepted an arranged own job that has not been posted in WaterlooWorks
  • During the continuous interview cycle postings, if you have accepted an arranged own job that has not been posted in WaterlooWorks before 12:00 p.m. the business day prior to your interview
  • Anytime after the final continuous interview cycle match date while jobs are still being posted

Interview procedures

Individual interview

  • Once you're selected for an interview, you can select your timeslot from the 'My Interviews to Schedule' section on the dashboard
  • If the schedule isn't listed in this section, a time has already been selected for you. You'll need to 'Confirm' the interview. 
    • Important: you are required to attend all scheduled interviews, regardless of their status 'Confirmed' or 'Unconfirmed.'
  • The location and time of your interview is available in WaterlooWorks on the 'Interviews' tab of the dashboard

If you have an in-person interview in the Tatham Centre

  1. Arrive at least ten minutes before your scheduled interview time
  2. Find a seat in the waiting area (Ground Level)
  3. Watch for your name to appear on the overhead monitors
  4. When your name appears, report to the Paging Desk
  5. After checking in at the Paging Desk, proceed to the interview room

Check in before your interview

We need to know you showed up for the interview. If you do not check in when your name appears or is called, CECA staff can't account for your attendance. Your name will be added to the "Missed Interview" list and you will be contacted with instructions.

Group interview

  • If you have a group interview, go to the interview room directly five minutes before the group interview
  • Your name will not appear on the overhead monitors for group interviews

Phone or video/Skype interview

Phone and video interviews normally take place on-campus in TC at one of our three call centres. Make note of the time and the room number.

  • On the afternoon prior, please check WaterlooWorks for your room and associated color-coded call centre
    • BLUE (TC 2203-2217, TC 2219-2223) second level
    • RED (TC 2201 [A-L], TC 2101-2107) second level
    • GREEN (TC 0201 [1 to 5], TC 0208 [6 to 10], TC 0207, TC 0214) lower level
  • Your name will not appear on the television monitors for phone or video/Skype interviews

Contacting employers after interviews and matches 

  • Do not contact employers to re-arrange interview times or dates. Connect with other students on the interview schedule to switch times, or submit an 'Interview Conflict' message in WaterlooWorks. Learn more about interview conflicts.
  • Don’t call an employer directly to discuss the interview process or to discuss rankings
  • If an employer contacts you, you don't have to share your ranking choices. Instead, we suggest that you refer the employer to Co-operative Education policies.
    • If you have a concern, contact your student advisor (or a career advisor if you’ve not yet had a first work term). The best way to connect with your advisor is by sending a message from your WaterlooWorks dashboard.
  • When you’re matched with a job, prepare a letter of acceptance (i.e., to acknowledge your employment match, confirm your understanding of the salary and the start date, etc.) and send it to your employer by email. Your employer's contact information is available on your work-term record in WaterlooWorks.

Interview conflicts

Individual interview conflicts

If you have an interview conflict (i.e., more than one interview is scheduled for you at the same time, or if you have a conflict with a class or exam), try to switch time slots with another candidate:

  1. Look up other student names on the interview schedule on WaterlooWorks
  2. Find the students’ email addresses on WatIAM and send an email requesting a switch
  3. If you’re successful, make the switch in WaterlooWorks before 11:59 p.m. two days prior to the interview date
  4. If the switch is made after this time, the person who initiated the switch must send an 'Interview Conflict - Confirmation of Interview Time Change' message in WaterlooWorks  immediately

If you can't resolve your individual interview conflict

  1. Use the 'Send a Message' button in WaterlooWorks to send an interview conflict message
  2. Contact the Information Centre, Ground Level, TC if you have any questions
  • Provide an explanation of the conflict
  • Request for the employer to accommodate your interview in another way
  • The completed form will be explained to your employer. The employer will be asked for a response, which is delivered to the Paging Desk or the appropriate Call Centre.
  • You can then check in at the Paging Desk or the appropriate Call Centre on the interview day to learn the employer’s response

Group interview conflicts

If you have more than one group interview scheduled at the same time, attend the one you’re more interested in.

If possible, let the interviewer of the other group interview know before their session begins that, due to a conflict, you can’t attend their group session, but you’ll be attending the individual interview later.

If you’re unable to inform the other employer, use the 'Send a Message' button in WaterlooWorks to send an interview conflict message.

Off-campus interview support

If you are currently on a work term or on an exchange study term and plan to participate in interviews this term you must complete all of the following steps:

  • Log in to Waterloo Works and complete your terms and conditions
  • Complete your Job Search Intensions and indicate ‘Participating in Job Search’
  • Complete the ‘Support requirements this term’ form using the ‘Send a message’ tab from your Dashboard.

Note that you are required to indicate in your cover letter that you are currently off campus and therefore not available to interview in-person.

Once interviews have begun, you cannot be removed from the interview process and are required to attend all interviews. Note that all interviews and deadlines are in Waterloo time (Eastern Standard Time). Please organize your schedule accordingly.

In order to have access and apply to jobs you MUST submit a ‘Support requirements this term’ form. On the form you will indicate whether or not you plan to be on campus for in-person interviews. 

The contact information in your ‘Support requirements this term’ form will be used for all scheduled interviews.

  • If the information on your form needs to be updated, please resubmit your form with the corrected/updated information

When you are selected for an interview:

  • By 2pm on the day before your interview, your booking instructions will be updated to include your contact information.  The Employer will reference these instructions and contact you at your interview time
  • To confirm that your Employer is aware of your contact information: from your Dashboard, select Interviews and click on the View button. Your contact information will be visible in the Booking Instructions.

Disregard interviews once you have a job match

Once a job match appears for you in WaterlooWorks, don’t attend any additional interviews (including those on the same day as your job match).

Where possible, alternate candidates will be contacted to take your place. Co-operative Education staff will inform interviewers that you are no longer available.

Your rights during interviews

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) publishes a chart that illustrates the type of questions that are appropriate for interviews.

The following categories have restrictions:

  • Birthplace, ancestry, ethnic origin, and place of origin
  • Sex, sexual orientation, marital status, and family statuses
  • Age, race, and colour
  • Citizenship, religion, faith, beliefs
  • Education
  • Record of offences
  • Handicaps
  • References
  • Membership in an organization

Although it’s the responsibility of the interviewer to know the law, they may not be aware. Be informed about your rights. For more information, contact the OHRC.

How do you respond to an employer who asks you a prohibited question? 

  • Respond with the question, “Why do you ask?” This may cause the employer to clarify the question. Your response may offend some employers.
  • State, “I don’t feel obligated to answer that,” or, “That question is inappropriate.” You have the right to contact the OHRC if you feel that you’ve been discriminated against.

Interviews hosted off-campus

Your attendance and professional participation in all interviews is required. We recognize that our student population is located on different campuses; therefore, every effort is made to bring employers to the most appropriate on-campus location(s) for you. We also recognize that some employers may choose, or be required, to conduct their interviews away from campus.

Some employers will know in advance and will state the location of their interviews in their job descriptions. You are required to attend any
off-campus interviews where this has occurred.  For other employers,
last-minute circumstances may cause a change to the location of their interviews due to space constraints at the Tatham Centre.  In the event that you are unable to attend a scheduled interview in a location away from campus (and the location was not clearly indicated in the job description),
use the 'Send a Message' button in WaterlooWorks to send an interview conflict message as soon as possible to explain why you are unable to attend your scheduled interview.  Where possible, staff in CECA will work with you and the employer to make alternate arrangements.

Note: In the case of a conflict between attending same-day interviews both on- and off-campus, scheduled on-campus interviews take priority over off-campus interviews.  North campus buildings (ex. RAC) are considered to be on-campus.

Missing employer interviews

You’re required to attend all interviews granted to you through WaterlooWorks, with some exceptions as mentioned above in the off-campus interview section. without taking the steps listed under 'Interview Conflicts' above, the following consequence may take place:

  • Suspension of your access to the job application process in WaterlooWorks

Employers take the time to travel to Waterloo to interview students. Missing interviews is unprofessional and deprives other students of interviews. It may also jeopardize the availability of future work term positions.

If unique circumstances require your absence at any time during the interview cycles, you should send a message to your advisor using WaterlooWorks or call (519)888-4026. After missing an interview, you will be notified by email.