Going into a job or internship interview is almost always a nerve-wrecking thing to do. It is stressful, a lot is riding on it, and your nerves aren’t helping anything.
Preparing as much as possible ahead of time is such an important key to feeling good about an interview. It helps calm your nerves and gives you more confidence going into the interview. Hopefully, some of these tips will help you like they’ve helped me.
1. Always dress up.
Regardless of what the day-to-day environment of the office is, you should be dressing up for your interview. Regardless of if they wear jeans every day or business casual, you should probably be in a suit, or at least dress pants and a dress shirt or blouse. This shows everyone that sees you that this is important to you.
2. Always be early.
Plan to get to the office about thirty minutes early to account for unexpected traffic, wrecks, a plane landing on the interstate, et cetera. With this in mind, plan be at the office ten minutes early. If you encounter no issues on your way there, use that extra twenty minutes to sit in your car and prepare a little more, and walk in ten minutes early.
3. Going off that… you never know who will be watching you.
When you’re waiting for the interviewer to get you from the waiting area, be conscious of what you’re doing. If you’re talking on your cell phone, or even sitting there on Twitter, these may be things the receptionist is watching and reporting. A good rule of thumb is to graze over the literature they have laid out in the waiting area.
4. Never lie about anything.
Do not lie about qualifications, things from your past if they are brought up, social media behavior, anything you can think of – don’t lie about it. If you are confronted about something that you are less than proud of, they may be willing to move past it if you’re honest with them about it when confronted.
5. Research the company and those interviewing you.
Search them on Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Google. Browse their website. Look at any other recent content about them on the internet. And if you know who you’re interviewing with, look them up on LinkedIn or maybe even Facebook to know a little bit about them (just like they likely do for you).
6. Be enthusiastic.
You likely would want to work with people who are happy, enthusiastic, and trustworthy – so its safe to assume other people want to work around that as well. Demonstrate that as best as you can (without it being forced) in your interview. Be upbeat, enthusiastic about potential employment there, and smile. Sometimes it doesn’t feel natural to smile in an interview when you’re having a nervous conversation with someone, but make a conscious effort to smile.
7. Be prepared to answer your strengths and weaknesses.
This question is never fun to get asked and have to answer, but from an employers side of things its a great one to ask – which is why everyone asks it. Have two to three strengths ready, and one to two weaknesses, along with a sentence or two about each. Make a conscious effort to not ramble on these answers.
8. You should be asking questions too.
Its easy to forget in an interview process that you want the good fit to be both ways. Often times we get wrapped up in needing an internship or job, and we get bent up on selling ourselves and we forget that the company may not be a good fit for us personally. And at the end of the interview, its always acceptable to ask what the next step in the hiring process is, when you should expect to hear back from them, and if you will hear back either way (meaning if its a “yes” or a “no” from them).
No one knows you better than yourself, remember that and utilize it as the upper hand that it is in an interview!