How to shine at your next interview
1. Research the job – Know the in’s and out’s of the job description and read through the company’s website. Get to know what they’ve done in the past, what they support as a company or what the company’s goals are for the future. The more you know about the company, the less you’ll be surprised about job details during the interview.
2. Have a story ready – Every interviewer will ask you to tell a story. This story could be of a time when you had to fix a problem or when you had to prioritize tasks to make a tight deadline. Brainstorm some ideas so the story descriptions are fresh in your mind. Use the acronym S.T.A.R. to help you think of a complete story. This stands for situation, role, action and results. Also, when telling your story show enthusiasm and speak up.
3. Know your traits – Know 3 words to describe you, 3 of your strengths and 3 of your weaknesses. Although an interviewer may not ask you all of these, they will ask at least one. So, have your descriptions ready and make sure they are appropriate. Moreover, make sure your traits are tailored to the job and that they are helpful to the company.
4. Hold a mock interview – Use your available resources and set up a time to have a mock interview. You can usually sign up for a mock interview within your school’s career center. If you’re in a time crunch, ask a mentor or a friend to ask you interview questions. This could be over coffee, on the way to class or even via Skype.
5. Always dress to par – Always make sure you’re dressed at least business casual. Have your hair and makeup looking fresh and have your garments ironed. When it comes to nails, they should be trimmed and with a neutral polish, if not French. Though jewelry accents are nice, don’t be too over the top- this isn’t a time to wear everything you own.
6. Bring an extra resume- Even though the interviewer may already have a copy of your resume, always bring an extra. If you have an extra resume on hand, it shows you came prepared. Moreover, I like to bring the resume in a nice folder so it not only looks good, but the paper stays printer fresh!
7. Pay attention to detail – Within all aspects of the interview, you have to pay attention to detail. These details include shaking their hand firmly, making eye contact, smiling and understanding what the interviewer is saying. You don’t want to ask the interviewer a question about something that they just told you… embarrassing!
8. Finish strong – Make sure that you show your enthusiasm for this job not only throughout the interview, but especially at the end. Be confident and make a good, lasting impression. After the interview, follow up with a letter to thank the interviewer for their time.