You’ve applied. You open the email from the company. You’ve been granted an interview!!! After you do your happy dance and call your mom, it’s time to get down to business and start prepping!
Let’s be honest, interviews can be one of the most nerve-wracking things in the world! We are all familiar with the jitters just thinking about it. However, it’s time we put a stop to the anxious willies and think about ways to slay your interview! I have constructed a tried-and-true list of my top tips on doing just that.
1. Be Yourself
By this point, the company already likes you enough to proceed with an interview. Being honest about who you are will help the company tremendously in seeing whether or not you will be a good fit. Being yourself will also boost your confidence in the interview. If you express a positive image of yourself, it will probably leave the employers with the same image as well.
Remember, confidence is key, so make sure to embrace it and you’ll go far!
2. Ask Questions
At the end of every interview, the interviewer will ask, “do you have any questions?”. Keep this in mind as you go into the process as it’ll give you time to think of a killer question. Asking a question or two will show that you’re invested in the company as well as letting them know you’ve been present throughout the interview. Employers really value candidates asking questions because it shows their interest.
Some examples of good interview questions are “How did you get started working for this company?” If you are feeling gutsy, go with “As of now, do you have any hesitations when it comes to hiring me?”
This offers the employer in giving you honest feedback, and if some of it is negative, it will give you the chance to redeem yourself before the interview is over (I used this one for my summer internship interview, and I landed the gig!). Make yourself stand out with questions!
3. Research The Company
Another way to impress the company is to know some basic information about them. Knowing the basics will show the employer that you took the time and initiative to learn about the organization.
It is also good to research the company regardless to see whether or not it is somewhere you would actually enjoy working. If your values and morals don’t match up with the company’s, why would you want to work there? Every company has a website, so take ten minutes or so before your next interview to brush up on some basic knowledge about the company.
4. Positive Body Language
Everyone wants to work with someone who is friendly and likeable. This is very important to convey through your interview because first impressions mean a lot. Portraying positive body language is simple and effective. Doing little things like smiling and sitting up will make them (and yourself) feel at ease during the interview. Eye contact is very important as well. Without scaring them off with crazy eyes, keeping casual eye contact throughout the interview will show that you are interested and invested in what they have to say.
It’s the little things like these that can go a LONG way in an interview!
5. Arrive Early
It honestly astounds me that some people still don’t know to arrive early for interviews! Being late is basically an automatic disqualification for the position, and it’s really embarrassing on your part. I would recommend arriving ten minutes early for your interview; this will give you time to settle in before the interview. It also won’t be too early that you’re waiting there for what seems like forever. If you arrive more than ten minutes early, I would just wait outside the office until ten minutes before.
In short, you’re an adult, so there is zero excuse to be late for something that is as important as an interview. Set those seven alarms, check the traffic report and get there on time!
6. Dress To Impress
In my opinion, it is always better to be overly dressed than underdressed. This especially applies to an interview. Appropriate business attire should be worn at interviews because it shows that you are professional and can take care of yourself.
I had an interview for a marketing internship at a very casual art studio, but I still wore a nice dress with tights and black heels. Even though my interviewer was in a hoodie and jeans, she appreciated that I dressed for the occasion and even complimented my dress!
If you are unsure of what qualifies as “business attire”, ask your friends or go onto Pinterest to find cute and professional gear for your next interview!
7. Do Practice Questions
I honestly won’t feel ready for an interview until I’ve done some practice questions the night before. This is a great way of setting yourself up for success in any interview because the majority of interviews consist of the same questions!
“What are your strengths/weaknesses?”, “Describe a time where you’ve handled conflict” and “What are your goals for the next five years?” are just a couple of the very common questions employers will ask. Just google “Top Questions Asked At Interviews”, and millions of search results will come up with lists of the most commonly asked questions!
Print these off, have a friend ask them to you and generate your answers! By doing this before the actual interview, you can feel confident that you have already pre-generated an answer so you aren’t caught off-guard.
8. Have An Elevator Pitch
Ah yes, the infamous elevator pitch. This ideal basically states that if you were in an elevator with your interviewer and only had that short time to introduce yourself and explain why they should hire you, what would you say?
The key to an outstanding elevator pitch is a.) telling them about yourself and b.) why you want to work at this company. Assuming they already have your resume, your elevator pitch should be more “you” focused- things like hobbies, your major, your personality type, etc.
This is also a great template for the “tell me about yourself” question. Keep this pitch short to about 3-4 sentences and always have it memorized and ready to go!
9. Update Your Resume
You should ideally be updating your resumé every time you are given a new position to make sure you’re prepared and not adding stuffs in the night before. It’s also important to update your GPA after every semester. Having a sloppy resumé can be a deal-breaker, make sure to keep only relevant experience on it (i.e. you should probably get rid of your middle school “babysitting” job).
Once you think you’re resume is updated and polished, I would print it out and have someone you trust look it over. This will ensure that you will have no errors. The last step is printing at least five copies and bringing it to your interview- you might be interviewed by multiple people, and you don’t want to have them sharing a copy. Having a killer resumé is always a great first step!
10. Follow Up With A Letter/Email
The last tip you should do is send the company a letter the following week. In the letter, you should re-thank them for the interview opportunity and ask them to reach out if they need any additional resources. By putting yourself out there one last time, the employer will be refreshed of your name and will likely fish your resumé from the stack of others applying for the same position.
Keeping your name relevant to them could be a simple thing that moves your resumé to the top of the pile. I would always recommend a hand-written letter- adding a personalized touch will show the extra effort that you have put in!
With these tips in your back pocket, go out there and NAIL that interview!