Newcomer Employment Program | Client Success Stories

Ingrid also asks her mentees to rethink job interviews from ‘I am being interviewed’ to ‘we are interviewing each other’: “Ask yourself, does this organization match up with your values? What questions can I ask at the interview to find out?” Personal aspects such as being able to feed your family, can create a sense of desperation and inferiority, which comes across poorly in interviews. When reminding yourself of your responsibility to choose a job that is a good fit for you, the confidence comes naturally. “As immigrants, we have to work harder, we need to believe in ourselves more.”

It takes confidence to be vulnerable and open. As an immigrant herself, Ingrid understands how this confidence can be difficult to conjure. “Language is a huge thing. When you don’t speak the language well, people get the misconception that you aren’t intelligent. You can end up feeling like you are stupid and can’t fit in. As immigrants, we have to work harder, we need to believe in ourselves more and we have to learn grit.“ Ingrid has two strategies for her mentees to build confidence: work on communication skills and understand that an interview goes both ways. She believes that strong communication and the knowledge that you can get your message across, takes away the fear of being misunderstood or of being new to English. She encourages her mentees to join clubs as it is a fantastic way to grow their networks. “You need a lot of resilience to start fresh in a new country.” Ingrid’s work experience has taught her the importance of vulnerability in the workplace which translates to its importance in the job search process. “Employers hire for the long term because it is expensive to train new staff. We look for skills, but also personality and fit. And the only way for us to figure this out is for the candidate to be completely honest and vulnerable in the interview.” Ingrid advises, “For questions like ‘tell us your weaknesses’, don’t just give template or expected responses like ‘I’m a perfectionist’. Be honest and talk about some areas you want to improve and how you are working on them. A smart employer is looking for self- awareness in candidates.”

To date, six of Ingrid’s mentees have been able to secure work in the financial field. She credits her mentees with their successes: “My mentees have been amazingly motivated, and in some ways you have to be, since you need a lot of resilience to start fresh in a new country. I always learn something new from them and am most impressed by their curiosity. Being curious is an indicator of success because you are open to improvement, new ideas and new ways of seeing things.” Seeing the excitement of a mentee who has received multiple offers and the ‘aha’ moment when a mentee realized that in Canada, employees can interact with bosses on a more equal footing than the work culture of his country, is what drives Ingrid. “I am retired and one of the best legacies anyone can have is helping people move towards their success. Preparing for an interview is one of most important things you can do to build the career you want. Being a mentor lets me take part in this process and help people walk into interviews confident and self-aware.”


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