One thing we aren’t prepared for during or after college is the big interviews. We practiced interviews at my high school for a week in eighth grade, but that knowledge didn’t stick with me into adulthood. So, when I found myself at 20 and about to do my first-ever interview for an internship, it was overwhelming. I did research and was stressed for days. So, I gathered what I found to be the top four tips for preparing for an interview. This is what I struggled with, which I would do better with next time.
1. Do Research
One question you may experience during an interview is, “Why did you choose our company?” This is where research comes in handy, and research is something important to be fully prepared for an interview, especially for a bigger company. Not only will you feel prepared, but the interviewer will also notice how you are prepared, and it is a good sign. The research will also help you understand the type of company that you are applying for and help you decide if it is somewhere you want to work.
Research can help you learn the values and beliefs of the company and the culture of that company. It is important to understand if the culture is more causal versus traditional professionalism. And lastly, doing your research will prepare you for your own questions.
2. Prepare Answers
When I did my own research for my internship interview, I saw the same questions listed throughout articles and YouTube videos. This helped me prepare for the questions and helped me be unphased when they were asked during the interview.
- Tell me about yourself.
- This question is more related to your education and work career than your personal life. When I was younger, I thought you were supposed to talk about where you grew up and family life, but now I go through my educational career that can relate to the job. You can discuss your current job and the achievements you have received throughout.
- Why should we hire you?
- This question is where you can sell yourself and your talents for the job. This question will showcase your skills and why you’re perfect for the job.
- What are your greatest strengths?
- For this question, you will pick a few qualities you can relate to the position and use examples to support these qualities. Using examples helps the qualities stick and show you aren’t making up qualities. This, along with the previous question, can really sell you to the interviewer and show why you are perfect for the job.
- What do you consider to be your weakness?
- This is an intimidating question, and it can be hard to admit any faults, but being self-aware and honest is important during your interview. Go through your weaknesses and pick something that you are working to improve, like improving your leadership skills or your public speaking.
- Tell me about the time you made a mistake.
- This is the question that I got stuck on during my interview – and it’s another intimidating one. Like the previous question, it’s hard to admit faults, especially when you make a mistake, but it can help show growth and honesty. When discussing the mistake, describe what you learned and how you improved.
- Do you have any questions for us?
- Your research will come in handy for this question, and you can use that knowledge or some questions you thought of before to make some questions to ask your interviewers. Try creating questions to help you learn more about the position and its roles. You can look through the resume and highlight anything you are confused about.
Preparing your answers beforehand will ensure you know your answers, which will, in turn, help you sound more confident during your interview. To prepare your answers, try practicing answering off the top of your head or create a script to read from.
3. Plan Your Outfit
Having your outfit picked out beforehand can make a huge difference and help you feel prepared for the interview. It also helps if you are running late or want to preserve time practicing your answers.
Planning your outfit is always a great moment to make sure the clothes are giving off the impression you want them to and make sure the clothes you are wearing fit comfortably. I bought a new shirt for my interview but already had a professional-style skirt to wear.
If this is your first big job interview, you can spoil yourself by buying new clothes that make you feel like a professional.
Practicing is something I did a lot before my interview. There are several ways to do this whenever you are ready to practice. You can use a mirror, sit quietly, or ask a friend for help.
If you are using a mirror to practice, you can observe how you speak, move your hands, and the facial expressions you make. When you have noticed these different characteristics, you can use the mirror to practice all of these things.
If you are practicing with a friend, give them some questions to ask you to practice answering to a real person rather than yourself in a mirror. When you practice with someone, they can also give you feedback on what you should work on for your interview. You can also practice eye contact, which is important during an interview.
Now that you’ve done your research, prepared your answers, and practiced – you are ready to go! So, the biggest tip I have for you: breath! Take it one step at a time and breathe. Being nervous will affect your body language, tone of voice, and how well you answer your questions. Just take a moment, and believe in yourself. You will do great.
Whether this is an interview for an internship or a job, these tips will help you prepare for either!
Did any of these tips help you? Let us know in the comments below!