Before Your Interview
All of your preparation and hard work has paid off. You’re landing interviews, and that in itself is a success. Understanding how an interview works and how to prepare for it can get some nerves out and enhance your performance on the big day:
- Do double-time research on your employer before the meeting. Reviewing the company website, careers page, and position description is a solid first step. Now dig into their media website, hunt for articles on new initiatives, products and services on LinkedIn.com, track their quarterly reports for current financials, and schedule informational interviews with staff already working there.
- Build your business professional interview attire: a suit in a dark color with a dress shirt or blouse in light color to frame your face and a matching leather shoe.
- Helpful items to have at your interview: quality pen, folio with several copies of resume, cover letter, job description, and reference sheets, and paper to take notes.
- Research driving directions, driving time, and parking options both online and onsite at least a day before.
- Inquire about the format of the interview (one-to-one, panel, presentation) and names of company employees who will be participating.
- Study the position description and develop a list of your top skills and experiences that match the job qualifications.
During Your Interview
After all of your internship and job search planning, your interview meetings may be rolling in. These tips will help you to make a great professional impression:
- Arrive early and greet all staff with courtesy and respect. Hiring managers often ask front desk staff for feedback on interviewees.
- Prepare a response for the question “Tell me about yourself.” This is usually a variation of your pitch focused on academic and work strengths that will benefit your employer.
- When presented with other interview questions, provide evidence of your abilities by using the STAR technique:
- Situation: Explain the situation you were in
- Task: Describe the task (or problem) that you were responsible for
- Action: Describe the specific action you took
- Results: Explain the results of your action
- At the end of the interview, employers might ask, “Do you have any questions for us?” Prepare a list of 3 well-researched relationship-building questions to ask. Avoid questions about salary and benefits.
- Request business cards from all of the interviewers so you can easily remember their names and communicate with them afterwards. Inquire about the best way and time to follow-up.
- Send a thank you card or email within 24 hours and mention a particular part of the interview conversation you enjoyed and how your abilities can help them achieve their goals.