It’s about that time in the school year when you start to think ahead to your summer plans and financial assistance. A lot of applications have been posted, and you are hearing back from people left and right to interview you. You’re thinking to yourself, “I made it through the application process and got to the interview portion. Woohoo! ” Well, congratulations to you! This is the true test, though. The closer it gets to the interview, the more nervous you feel. That’s okay! Being nervous is not always a bad thing; it just means that you care. Don’t let the nerves get the best of you, though. Whatever it may be—an internship, job or scholarship—you have to be confident in yourself that you will nail that interview. I will share a few tips you should think about prior to waiting for that interview date in order to prepare and be as ready as you’ll ever be.
Know your facts.
Make sure you do your research on the organization or position you are interviewing with. One time, I went in the interview, and the first question was “Tell me what you know about us?” That’s going to be extremely awkward if you don’t have an answer to this question. It will only take 10 minutes or so to read or polish up on the people you are interviewing with and the job or qualification requirements. Not only does it show you know your stuff, conducting research helps you answer questions along the lines of what the interviewer is looking for. Google is your best friend!
Review common interview questions.
The weirdest question I have ever gotten in an interview was, “If you could be any fruit, what would you be?” (I answered a guava, and I don’t know why. It was the first thing that came to mind, LOL!) I think it’s safe to say that you probably won’t get a question like that 99 percent of the time. Some common questions to review would be tell me a little bit about yourself, or what are your strengths and weaknesses? They may even come right out and ask, why should I hire you/give you this scholarship? In any case, you should be prepared to give your answer confidently and to the best of your ability. When you are in the interview, it is okay to take a pause to think and take a breath before answering the question that is being asked. Career Counseling and Support Services has a ton of interviewing tips and cover letter/résumé writing assistance.
Look AND dress the part.
It’s true! You only get one chance to make a first impression. This is why you want to make that first impression a good one. This tip is pretty simple. Make sure you adhere to the dress code that was given to you by the interviewer or employer. Body language is also an important part as well. You want to exude confidence and maintain proper posture the entire interview. Basically, you want to look like you want to be there AND dress to impress.
Sell yourself, not sell yourself short.
Now, you don’t have to go over the top with selling yourself. Keep in mind that to get to that point you must have shown them you are worth their time. Therefore, make sure you use that time effectively to show them who you really are and that you ARE, indeed, worth their time. Be elaborate with your skill set and accomplishments. Interviewers are truly interested in getting to know in such a short amount of time, so they need you to shine right away. C’mon! Name another time when you get to talk about yourself in detail for 20-30 minutes.
Ask questions, thank them, and follow up.
The last and final tip I deem to be important is asking questions. The worst thing is when they finish the interview, ask you if you have any questions, and you don’t say anything. Always inquire about something afterwards. It can be as simple as, “What can I expect the timeline to be following this interview?” This just lets the person know that you are really interested in hearing back from them, and you are serious about getting that internship, job, or scholarship. Then, you should thank them when you are done as a common courtesy practice. Now, following up can be done a few different ways. For instance, I have a friend who always sends thank-you notes to his interviewers no matter what. That’s just his method. You can send an email or call if it is necessary to even follow up. Be sure to give the interviewers time to make a decision, though, before doing this step. In some cases, it won’t be needed.
I really hope I’ve helped. Good luck! I am sure you will be great. (: