Interviews are scary and nerve-wracking and intimidating and awful.
They don’t have to be that way. There’s always going to be an element of nervousness (or even fear) when it comes to interviews, but these tips can help.
- Prepare prepare prepare – Research about the company. Find out what’s new with them. Look up what they’re about. (One time I had a phone interview and I thought the company was a fashion company when in reality they has NOTHING to do with fashion. Lol I’m still embarrassed about that one.) Look at the job posting and the details of the position. Write down any key points you should know so you can review them right before you head out to the interview, and practice what you’re going to say.
- Phone interviews – In some ways, phone interviews are tougher than in-person interviews because you’re relying solely on your voice to get you in the door. The good thing is that you can have your notes in front you, and you can look up info while doing the interview if you really have to (I’ve done this before, but I don’t recommend it). Just make sure you’re in a quiet place, with no distractions.
- Get there on time – I’ve been pretty good with time and interviews, but it’s partly due to the fact that I make it a point to get to the interview early, especially if it’s in an area that I’ve never been to before. It’s ok to go into an interview 10 minutes early, but if you’re earlier than that, hang out in the lobby or in a coffee shop nearby until the time comes.
- Breathe – I interviewed for a school once, and while I was talking, the interviewer interrupted me to ask if I was nervous. I admitted I was, and she told me she could tell due to my rushed answers and that fact that I hadn’t taken a breath. So this is my reminder to you: BREATHE! Try and get yourself into a more relaxed state before you enter the room. Take deep breathes, repeat a mantra to yourself, or drink a glass of water. Any place would be lucky to have you. Just remember that.
- Warm it up – As soon as you step foot into the building, try and radiate positivity. Be nice and courteous to everyone you speak to, from the janitor to the receptionist to the intern meeting you to take you to your interviewer. When you do meet your interviewer, greet them with a smile. Be as personable as you can. I’m not saying to be a fake version of yourself, just the most social version of yourself. A lot of people forget that a large part of being a company is working and getting along with others. Your interviewer wants to see your personality and how well you would potentially gel with everyone else.
- Humble bragging is key – This is super awkward but it must be done. You built the best robot in robotics class? Your posts reached the biggest audience? You passed the sales goals of everyone else on your team? Say that! Practice talking about yourself and your accomplishments. Your interviewer wants to know what you’re capable of.
- Ask a question – When I first started interviewing, I never asked any questions at the end of the interview because I really didn’t have any. Whenever I said I didn’t have any questions, the interviewer always looked slightly surprised, and I quickly realized that by asking no questions, it seemed like I wasn’t interested in the job or the conversation. Some sample questions you can ask:
- (if an internship) How long will the internship be for?
- (if an internship) Is there a chance to be hired full-time after the internship?
- Who will I be reporting to?
- Will there be anyone who reports to me?
- How big is the (ex. marketing, HR, accounting) team?
- Are there any goals you are looking to meet after the position is filled?
- How soon will I hear from you?
- Thank You – After the interview, thank your interviewer, and when you get home, send a thank you card or email. I always send emails rather than cards, mostly because I live in Jersey and would have to send all the way to NY. Just make sure to thank whoever interviewed you and mention something that you guys talked about during the interview.
- Follow up – These aren’t necessary if you’ve heard back from the company, but if you haven’t, you can follow up after a week or so to see if they need any more information from you, or if they’ve made a hiring decision.
I hope these tips help! As always, comment below if you have any questions or remarks.