For me, one of the most stressful parts of the college application and job hunting experiences has always been the interview. Be it interviewing for a summer job, graduate school, or anything else, nailing your interview can really help get you where you want to be. In order to help you along, here are some tips and tricks that will help you succeed!
1. Take a deep breath and be yourself
It sounds cliché, but one of the most important things you can do to help yourself is to be yourself. By the time you get to an in-person interview, odds are the person at the other side of the desk has already looked at your grades and resume. Simply being there means they are at least a little interested in you, and now they want to see if you are going to fit in well with their organization. You should look at it in the same way.
2. Prepare for the most common questions beforehand
There are several questions that always seem to come up in interviews. What is your biggest weakness? Where do you see yourself in five years? Why do you want to be a part of this organization? I’m sure you can think of a dozen more. Have a prepared response to these questions so when asked you can provide a polished response. If you can, practice them with a friend beforehand in a simulated environment. Here is a Forbes list of the 40 most commonly asked questions to get you started.
3. Use the right body language
This one is hard, but can make a world of difference. This point could make up an article all to itself! How you present yourself non-verbally says a lot to the interviewer. Keep yourself engaged in the conversation. Good posture, shoulders back and head held high makes you look more confident. Hereand hereare some more great ideas on how to present yourself for an interview.
4. Do your research
Before you go into the interview, do some background research on the organization or the position. It’s going to be very awkward if you can’t discuss the very basics. Take a look at the organization’s website and have a decent understanding of who they are. This will also help save you some time by letting you ask more pointed questions during the interview and will inevitable show your interviewer that you care.
5. Be polite
This one should be a given, but is always worth repeating. Be polite to the interviewer, the receptionist, and anyone else you meet there. Odds are you will run into them again, and a negative first impression will only hurt your chances. This also extends to people outside the room. Don’t badmouth former employers or co-workers either. If asked, “Why did you leave your last job/position/school?” be truthful, but don’t blame it on your terrible boss or miserable teacher. Instead, mention why you left, but highlight what you learned from it and why you are a great fit here.
6. Have a conversation
Try and avoid “reading from a script,” it will make you sound robotic. Look at the interview as a chance to have a one-on-one conversation with your interviewers. Prepare questions that you can ask as well. It will help keep the interviewer engaged in the conversation as well and demonstrates your interest in the organization.
Interviews can be stressful, but hopefully these tips help get you started on a path to success. Remember, practice makes perfect, so the more effort you put into preparing for an interview, in the form of mock interviews or research, the better you will do.
Good luck, I believe in you!