Lauren Williams/ ASAS Communications
Congratulations, you have just received word that you have been granted an interview for an internship or a full-time job! But you are not quite sure how to prepare for it. Relax, if you take the time to do your research and practice interviewing, you will have no trouble landing the position. So what do you need to know to ace that interview?
First and foremost, research the position and the company. Research the position you are interviewing for and the responsibilities of that position. Relate to the position, and what skills you have that would benefit the company and the job. This will also determine if you are a good fit for the job and company. Nothing is more embarrassing than being asked a question about the company and staring blankly at the interviewers. Go on the company website and research projects that the company is working on. Look for things that interest you and that you would be able to discuss in-depth. If there is anything that you do not understand, look it up just in case. Research the company in news articles to see what they have done most recently.
Dress to Impress! When you go to your job interview, make sure that you are in professional dress. Men should wear dark slacks with a nice shirt, tie and suit coat. For women: dark slacks or skirt with a nice top and dark shoe with a low heel are appropriate. Check with the employer about the company’s standards of dress and base your outfit on the description. Remember: it is better to be overdressed than underdressed.
Go to the career office on your campus and set up an appointment to discuss with the interview and how best to prepare. They may be able to go through interview questions with you. They may have the resources to tape a mock interview for you to review together. This will help to point out nervous habits such as cracking knuckles or saying “umm” or “like.” It will also get you prepared for interview questions and gives you time to think of answers before your actual interview. Practice makes perfect.
Be prepared for questions that not only deal with your studies or work experience, but also questions such as the elusive, “Tell me about yourself”, “What are your strengths and weaknesses” or Where do you see yourself in ten years?” Always present yourself in a positive light. Even if you are talking about a weakness, acknowledge that it is a weakness, but you are working on it. Provide concrete examples and do not be afraid to reference your resume or cover letter.
Make sure that you clean up your social media. You never know who may be looking at your Facebook page or other social media sites. So clean up any unsightly pictures of yourself and check your security settings. You don’t want to leave a bad impression with anyone who might be interviewing you. Also, make sure that your voicemail on your cell phone is professional. A company representative might call your phone with information only to get an inappropriate message and then share this information with a potential interviewer.
If you are interviewing over the phone, it is still appropriate to wear professional clothing, as it can help put you in the right frame of mind for a professional conversation. Find a quiet room so you will not be distracted or get interrupted. It would be best to use a landline because there is less risk of lost service. Only use your cell phone if there is no other option or if you are sure that you will have full service. Smile: the interviewer cannot see you, but your positive attitude will be conveyed in your voice.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the interviewers. Questions like. “What would a typical week or day be like with the company?”, not only show your interest in the company, but can also help give you a better understanding of the position you will be filling, should you get the job.
Look at what you wrote in your cover letter and resume, so you can answer any questions the interviewer might have on your education or past employment. Also update any information on your resume that might have changed since you submitted it to the company. Bring a copy of your resume and cover letter to the interview just in case the company misplaced yours or so you can cite it as you go.
After the interview, send a letter or email of appreciation to the interviewer. This helps to further demonstrate your professionalism and your commitment to the job.
Good luck on your interview!