It’s that time of the year! Employers are starting to interview for summer internships and jobs. Are you ready to walk in a room and strut your stuff?
Don’t worry, everyone is nervous during an interview. Even those who have had experience in interviewing get nervous. With our team’s combined decades of interviewing, here are the top 10 tips we want to share with you.
1) Research the company
It is important to deeply understand the mission of the company and their current news. You can do this by setting up a Google Alert or check their website and blog a few times the week before your interview. Try to think about what you can contribute to their mission and how their mission fits with your experience and background
Depending on the company, you can go as far as researching the people interviewing you. When you get called in for an interview, as the receptionist the names of those who will be interviewing you. Sometimes knowing their faces beforehand eases your nerves and eliminates the nightmares you may have of faceless interviewers.
2) Make a list of all the things you want to learn
Especially for those who are in college or coming out of college, employers want to see that they want to learn. Show that you have a passion for life-long learning and a passion for their company. Even though you may not have the experience, interviewers will take note that you are confident and inspired to work for them. In many cases, this gets you a job over someone who has more experience.
3) Prepare for the hard questions
Here are some top questions that stump new interviewees.
- What is your weakness?
For this one, don’t make something up. Make it a genuine answer. If you are not a public speaker, tell them. But add that you constantly come out of your comfort zone by volunteering to speak while presenting for group projects. Show that you know your weaknesses and that you are facing them head on.
- What do you currently like about your job?
There may be nothing that you like about the job. But dig deeper. Do you like your coworkers? What about the work you do? This is also a great opportunity to look at the bigger picture and share that you are a small part of a bigger mission. Letting them know that you have a great work ethic and outstanding outlook on jobs that are not top priority speaks highly about you.
- What do you currently dislike about your job?
This is a hard one. If you are looking for a promotion, you definitely don’t want to offend the company. If you are at a new one, you also don’t want to offend the company. You can always default to explaining that there is little opportunity to grow and use what you learned in school. Maybe there is little training for your entry level position. Explain that you want to make a bigger impact on the company’s mission and give examples of the type of impact you want to make.
3) Craft a story
There are many questions where they want to hear what you have done with your professional life already and what results came out of them. These questions help employers see who you already are and how you handled situations before. This is called behavioral interviewing.
This type of interviewing is great to practice because it is truly the hardest.
The steps are divided up with the acronym STAR:
Look for the most impact you have ever made in a class assignment or a work project. Tell them about the project, tell them your role, what you did, and what was the result.
Especially for those story interview questions, practice practice practice. Have a friend listen to you. Make notes on situations that you may want to share and use. Make it sound relaxed and natural. Focus on the questions and try not to wander too far from them.
5) Dress for success
Dress like you already belong in the organization and position. Let them imagine you working there from the first step you take towards them. This makes you look serious about the job and subconsciously gives you a leg up.
6) Look prepared
Bring copies of your resumes and references. Bring a notepad to jot notes down and even bring your own notes with permission.
7) Body language
Body language is key to a successful interview. To make it easier, smiling and greet everyone from the moment you step out of the car. This gets you in the mood of being optimistic and cheerful. Then right before, go to a quiet, private area like the restroom to breathe and powerpose. You can even do some standing yoga in there to get the blood flowing. You don’t have to but at least get your arms above your head and feel taller and more powerful.
8) Ask questions
With your handy-dandy notebook, jot questions that come up during the interview. Show them that you are a curious person who wants to know all the details before taking a job. These questions can be as simple as asking about the growth opportunities within the company or just details about the job itself.
9) Be bold
This will make you stand out of the crowd. Be confident. You got called back for an interview for a reason. This means that you are qualified and look great on paper. Whatever is on the paper is already who you are. So show them who you are! Add a special piece to your wardrobe that is characteristic of you. This way, you feel comfortable in your interview outfit and maybe you’ll be complemented on it. It may even start a bonding conversation.
If you are feeling really bold, then there is a question you can ask at the end of the interview that may get you the job. This question has been circling around the internet and shown to work.
“Have I said anything in this interview or given you any other reason to doubt that I am a good fit for the role?
This question allows you to fix any mistakes that the interviewers saw in your interview and allows you the opening to correct them. Nothing is more bold than this.
10) Thank your interviewers
Your interviewers took time out of their day to sit and listen to you talk. Give them a thank you note, an email, or even a mailed letter to show that you acknowledged their time. This shows that you are courteous and polite, something they may not expect out of a young student. Write this and get it in their possession within 48 hours. Show them that you are fit for the job.
Good luck! Are there any other tips you have encountered that have landed you the job or internship? Share with everyone!