Are you a college student preparing to interview for internships or jobs? If so, this blog post is the perfect place to start! We will go over 10 interview tips that are guaranteed to help you land your dream job. If you want an edge in the interview process, read on!
We’ve all heard the standard interview tips: show up on time, dress appropriately, put your phone away. But these aren't the pieces of advice that will get you the job. Instead, we've compiled interview tips that will make you stand out from all the other job applicants.
1. Research the company
You can expect the interview question “what do you know about our company?” or “why do you want to work for our company?” to come up. Not only should you know what the company does before your interview, but you should also understand what the company’s culture is like.
Make sure you know as much as possible about the company before the interview. To get a better sense of the tone and culture at an organization, it’s important to visit its website and look at Glassdoor to see what other employees and interviews have said. It’s also helpful to watch how the company interacts on social media--pay attention specifically when they respond to comments or talk about their products. A great way to gain insight into the inner workings of the company.
2. Learn about your interviewer(s)
When you walk into an interview, having familiarity with the person interviewing you can make for a deeper discussion and better results.
Obtaining information on who you will be meeting with for an interview is an important step in preparing. Will it be the HR Representative or will you be speaking directly to the CEO? You can get this information by visiting their LinkedIn profile and reading through their career history.
3. Practice answering the most common interview questions
When interviewing, it’s best to sound like yourself and give concrete answers. However, some interview questions tend to be repeated more than others. Try practicing with these that are likely to come up:
- "Tell me about yourself."
- "What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?"
- "What about this position interests you?"
- "Tell me about your most recent job/internship"
- "Where do you see yourself in five years?"
- "What questions do you have for me?"
Practice answering using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to formulate coherent answers that incorporate relevant experience and are easy for interviewers to understand.
4. Plan ahead
The last thing you'll want to do is add more stress on the day of your interview.
Prepare for your interview by preparing your clothes and materials before the interview, and setting a plan for before and after the interview. Read through the job description one last time, and have a plan ready to illustrate how you align with the position's requirements. When you’ve done the preliminary work of preparing for an interview, you can focus on what matters most: how you perform.
5. Show your personality
Presenting yourself as a professional is crucial, but that’s not enough to land you the position. Interviewers are swayed by your personality and are more likely to hire someone who can be seen as an integral part of their team. They already know that you have the qualifications for this job, so now is your chance to show off what a great fit you’d be.
6. Ask questions throughout the interview
We all know how interviewers like to end by asking if you have any questions. But by waiting until the last moment, you may be missing out on valuable information or opportunities for follow-up questions.
During a job interview, you want to be engaged in the conversation instead of participating in an interrogation. Mix your questions into conversations naturally and strategically so they can unfold organically and reveal themselves before there’s ever a chance for them to be asked. Additionally, taking the initiative to ask questions during an interview will create a sense of ease and confidence.
7. Schedule a convenient interview time
What time you interview might seem like an arbitrary decision, but it's really important. Be sure to choose a time that suits your interviewer just as well as it does you. Some helpful tips to consider:
- Avoid being the first or last interview of the day
- Avoid pre-lunch and post-lunch interviews
- Avoid scheduling right before or after a holiday/long weekend
Avoiding times like these will ensure that the interviewer has their attention solely focused on you. Based on this information, the best time for an interview is most likely mid-morning on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays. Many interviewees do not take the time to ask about the person’s schedule. Resist this temptation and find out what time would be convenient for them. Showing genuine consideration is always a smart move, which will earn you major points.
8. Give yourself a pep talk before the interview
I know, it sounds silly. But reminding yourself of your awesome qualities before an interview is a powerful way to boost your confidence.
To feel more confident, try power poses for interviews (e.g., “The Executive” feet up on desk and hands behind head or “The Wonder Woman” standing with legs spread and arms akimbo). Just like smiling can make you happier, standing in more powerful and confident poses can make you feel more confident.
9. Make a genuine connection with the interviewer
To demonstrate your value to an employer and to make a connection, one-sided conversations are not enough.
Communicate with your interviewer like you would with any other acquaintance -- build rapport. Instead of conventional small talk, ask the interviewer about themselves; they will likely appreciate the personal touch. Don't forget to share information about yourself as well.
10. Send a follow-up email after the interview
Last, following up is an essential step to securing a potential job opportunity. So, thank the interviewer in writing.
Ideally you should send a thank you 24 hours after the interview. Thank them for their time and reiterate your continued interest in the position. Sending a thoughtful and personalized thank you note is one of the best ways to show how dedicated prospective employees are.
You’ve got the knowledge and skills to land that internship or job. Now it's time to make sure you have all of the right tools in place for your next interview. We've given 10 tips here, but we know there are plenty more out there!
If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to landing an internship, check out our PathMatch Internship Search Accelerator and PathMatch Job Search Accelerator to get a step-by-step guide to approaching your search.
Want loads more tips on how to ace your interviews, along with other great resources to help you find the perfect career? Download our PathMatch app today!