Interviews can be awkward and nerve racking. You never really know who is going to be sitting on the other side of you, what tone they will have, what shoes they will be wearing, what they will think of you. I always feel like I could be the most prepared person in the world but if they just don’t like me, then they JUST DON”T LIKE ME. I put together the following list to help prepare you as best I can for an Internship or Job Interview. This is for the “In-Person” interview situation. Good luck !
How To Nail A Job or Internship Interview
- Know the Mission. An internship or job is not school but you still have homework to do. Go to the company website and look up their mission statement. Memorize this information. This gives you a clear look inside a company’s goals and mindset. This is their statement to the world about what they want to achieve and how they want to achieve it. Take this statement very seriously and into consideration when answering questions.
- Be Familiar. When you are surfing around a company’s website, the important information is again the Mission Statement, the clients, the current news, and the employees. Try to have an idea of who runs the company. If a name is dropped during the interview and it is the name of the CEO - you should be aware of that and able to follow along. You should know everything that is currently going on with the company as well as any major bumps they’ve had in the road. You don’t want to speak about a company that they’ve recently battled with legally or suggest they work with a client that they already cover.
- Dress the Part. Not sure what to wear or how to wear it ? Scroll down on this blog and check out my HOW TO DRESS FOR AN INTERVIEW Blog. I suggest always sticking to a pants suit. This is for Men and Women. Look clean, tucked in, and polished. Remember combed hair, manicured fingers, no sandals.
- What to Bring. I suggest bringing a folder or portfolio with your Cover Letter, Resume, and any Letters of Rec that you might have. If you are an artist/actor/writer/etc than bring your necessary clips/materials. Always bring two pens with you and a small notepad. I also suggest bringing your Drivers License and Social Security Card. Also, bring mints so you are at your freshest ! Don’t forget to check your mirror for food in your teeth before you go inside.
- On Time. Punctuality is a rule that never goes out of style. Plan to arrive at your interview 30 minutes early. This allows for getting lost and figuring out where to park. Always ask where to park ahead of time so that you aren’t lost and calling the employer franticly at the last minute. Arriving early shows that you are organized and on top of your game. Check in with the receptionist and wait patiently. Interviews are rarely ontime so expect to wait. Don’t plan anything important right after the interview.
- The Walk In. Once you park and enter the building, EVERYONE is looking at you. Even if they aren’t, you need to think that way. Your attitude should be sincere and polite with everyone from the doorman to the receptionist. Make sure to not get frustrated with any of the employees at the building. You never know who the employer communicates with on a day to day basis. Stand up straight and walk with confidence. You are going to land the position.
- The Greeting. When you are taken into the employer’s office make sure to wear your confidence and appear pleasant and happy. Take a deep breathe to calm your nerves and avoid speaking to quickly. Give the employer a FIRM handshake. Girls, you cannot give whimpy handshakes. You can greet the employer by saying, “Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with me. I really do appreciate it.” If the employer starts to small-talk than follow their lead. Otherwise, let them get down to business. You don’t want to take up too much of their time.
- Q & A. Now it’s time for the real interview to begin. Check out my recent blog on PRACTICE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS and review these before the big day. Answer everything clearly and in detail. Try to avoid simple “Yes” or “No” answers to questions. This is your time to shine. You want to seem confident in your abilities, excited about the opportunity, and truly passionate about the field. Make sure your answers to the questions reflect this.
- Ask Questions. Don’t be afraid to shoot the employer some questions as well. I usually ask what my daily responsibiities would be and what they believe the biggest challenge of the job will be. This leaves no room for surprises once the job/internship starts. Make sure you are clear about the time commitment they are asking for as well.
- Speak Positive Thoughts. Whatever you do, do not bad mouth any previous experiences/employers. If you do, an employer might think that you will one day speak poorly about them. Take the good qualities out of each experience and don’t bring up the bad.
- Conclusion. When the interview is done, you can thank the employer again for their time and let them know that you will be following up.
- Thank You Note. Try to get a HandWritten thank you note over the the office the next day. Try to reference part of your conversation in the note. If you don’t hear anything back, a Follow Up Call is appropriate one week after the interview.
Want more INTERVIEW Advice ? Here is what my friend’s on Twitter had to say:
“Dress fashionably and professionally and be yourself, but be your prepared self. Do your homework. Maintain eye contact.” @ckc411, Award-Winning Communications/Advertising Firm.
“To impress interviewers, research firm, competitors & your interviewer on web! ” @TriumphCIO, Mark Cummuta, IT VP/Entrepreneurial CIO.
“Don’t rush your answers and be careful about babbling and too many vocal tics - take the time to answer clearly and consisely! Be relevant and sell yourself by promoting the skills that you have that could really benefit the company.” @campuscompare, http://www.campuscompare.com.
“Always overdress, better to look the best you can than risk underdressing. Guys: get a nice business suit with a subtle tie.” @tombetti, Tom Betti, PR guy, http://www.tombetti.com/public/Welcome.html.
“Emphasize your past achievements & how you would bring that same value to their team. Also, ask great questions & be passionate.” @heatherhuhman, Heather Huhman, Generation Y Author, Columnist, and Speaker, http://heatherhuhman.com/.
“Have an abbreviated portfolio folder you can leave behind with your best work. Include a DVD of video/Web work if appropriate.” @evanspatrick, Patrick Evans, http://flacker.net/.
“Having ideas is always a good thing, too. If not during the interview itself, maybe include some in a follow-up email.” @Unigo,http://www.unigo.com/.
“Understand my business, my company, my clients. Look/speak professional. How can you help me, not vice versa.” @SDSU_NewsTeam, http://sdsu.edu/.
Other Helpful Links
Mark Cummuta on Interview Advice:
Allison Doyle on Interview Questions and Advice:
Vault.com on Interview Advice: