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How to communicate with Canadians?

Updated on
September 23, 2018
Published on
June 26, 2018
BC Talents

Are you a newcomer? Are you starting your first job in Canada? You have to overcome the communication subtleties of the cultural gap!

Keep in mind that everyone who lives in Canada is from all around the world. Canada is a mix of communities. Learning English is very important to find a job, but it is a process that takes time and practice. How you communicate depends on your cultural background. That’s why we have you some keys for you to understand how to interact with Canadian people, to help you to find a job and fit in at your future workplace. Cultural context and how you describe things is crucial, and it could bring you to misunderstandings, as this recent story with a French waiter fired for being rude to his coworkers.

This article details how to communicate with potential recruiters, then with your colleagues, managers, and customers.

While looking for a job

Networking is essential to find a job in Canada. You have to use social media, and Linkedin will become your best friend. The goal is to meet people in your field, to get information to help you to find a job. You have to expand your connections by joining a professional network, online, and sharing your experience. It aims at communicating your value. You can train your pitch to be able to talk to a potential recruiter at any time. You have to be able to explain easily who you are and what you are looking for. Be ready to talk about your background, personal and professional goals. Storytelling is essential for Canadians, so be prepared to answer the question “What brings you to Canada?”.

During an interview

The interview is an essential part of the hiring process, so you have to be prepared! In Canadian job interviews, it’s important to say good things about yourself that are true.

Most potential employers will want to ask you questions about your work history that require an explanation (they have already read your resume!). Giving examples of experience is imperative. It can provide information about your personality, how you will perform in the future. Teamwork and team spirit are as important as your skills.

The most important is to be and to express yourself, don’t try to lie about who you are, it will not help you. Make connections all the time, even in your everyday life. You may find someone who shares the same interests and has your pitch ready could bring you opportunities!

At work

The way you express yourself is crucial. It can help or hinder the integration process: behaviors, the tone of voice, body language and facial expressions.

You have to communicate with customers, but with coworkers and managers too! Your behavior and body language are fundamental. Be on time! Punctuality is one of the most important things for Canadians. Eye contact and nodding are signs of respect, do not hesitate to demonstrate you are listening to show you understand. If not, try to repeat back what the speaker is saying in your own words. Canadian people are working in a multicultural workplace, so don’t be shy, even if your English is not perfect. Communication is more than just speaking English.

Be proactive and don’t hesitate to share your ideas with co-workers. Keep in mind if French people are direct, Canadian are more consensual people: a culture of confrontation vs. a culture of compromise.

What about the positive attitude?

Smiling and having a positive attitude is essential for Canadians. You have to be flexible and helpful.

One crucial thing that could destabilize newcomers is the absence of strong hierarchy. You may meet your boss without knowing! Smile, be friendly and engaging with everyone, building relationships with your team is positive! If you think a new idea won’t work, try to figure out why, or offer alternatives. You have to be always professional, even if you have a bad day! Be respectful all the time and helpful whenever you can be to be a good team player!

BC Talents offers to newcomers the opportunity to be mentored, to network and to access other resources in your job research.

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