While I’m only 22 years old, I’ve had my fair share of successful interviews through the years of interning and landing my first full time job post grad. Throughout college I interviewed with 5 different companies for engineering internships, 3 of which I worked for over the course of 4 summers, but I had offers from all 5. Now I may not have the most experience of anyone out there, but I have had much success which is why I’d like to share my top 5 most important interviewing tips since summer internships and full time jobs are only a few months away.
1) Have Confidence
This is ALWAYS the first advice I give to anyone going into an interview. Having a strong mental state before going in is crucial to showing the employer your best self. The thoughts going through your head those few minutes before they pull you into the interview room could make or break you. Which is why you must remind yourself how incredible you are. Even if you’re lacking experience, or your grades may not be the best, focus on what you’re great at. Then think of all of the amazing work you could do for this company and the value they would gain from you. You are valuable to them. You will make a difference for their company. THEY would be lucky to have you. Pull your shoulders back, and feel comfortable; there’s no need to have nerves as long as you can feel good about who you are and what you have to offer and you’re not afraid to show it. THESE are the thoughts that should be going through your head those few minutes before. Pep talk yourself. Feed your confidence. Listen to your favorite pump up song on the way there. Whatever it is that fuels you, that’s what you should be thinking about before you go kill that interview.
2) Prepare Scenarios
Although I’ve only interviewed for engineering positions, by comparing my interview experiences with others I’ve found we all run into the same problem. Time and time again we are asked the dreadful, “Tell me a time when… you worked well with a team… you helped solve a conflict… you voiced the unpopular opinion…” the list goes on and on. You will almost for certain be asked questions where you need to reference your experiences. This is where preparation comes into play. When preparing scenarios, I think back on my past job and school experiences and try to highlight critical points. Like a school project where I had to deal with team members not filling their part. Or the time I had to work with members of my sorority to make decisions about our chapter. Or the time I executed a successful project at an internship from start to finish. These are the things you should be adding to your list. Critical experiences you could reference in an interview. I also highly suggest looking up a list of interview questions and preparing answers. This doesn’t mean writing down word for word what to say and memorizing it, but practicing the ability to be asked a question and quickly come up with a good answer or experience to reference. This takes time and practice. If you’ve never interviewed, the first one might hit you out of left field or maybe you’ll hit it out of the ball park. It’s a skill that needs to be practiced, but one you can be far better at when you prepare.
3) Review Your Resume
Of course you know how crucial a good resume is because yours was good enough to land the interview! But, sometimes we tend to forget about our resume once we’ve perfected it and are in the interviewing phase. Make SURE you know your resume backwards and forwards. This isn’t something you need to stress about, just take the time to review it. As you’ve been building your resume, the things you did one, two, or three years ago aren’t as fresh in your mind. It’s important to remind yourself what it is you did at your first summer job or whatever it may be. The night before your interview I recommend reading your resume from top to bottom because you just might read over something and have that “oh I forgot about that!” moment. I say this because this has happened to me. In an interview I was asked about a project I had COMPLETELY forgotten about and couldn’t even think about the details or which job it was that I worked on this project. Luckily I was able to think on my feet and make something up, but refreshing myself on my resume would have been a much easier solution.
4) Know the Company
Now you may be interviewing for your dream company and know everything you possibly could about it, but many of you are probably just trying to get a job and may not know the first thing about the company you’re interviewing for. This is where you can try and set yourself apart from all the other interviewees by taking the time to research the basics about this company beforehand. Learn what they do, where their locations are, if they own any other companies. Knowing some of these details will add to your hand and allow you to play your cards better come game time. It will also help you come up with questions. NEVER go into an interview without at least three questions prepared. You can use something generic like “what’s your company culture like?”, but it’s possible these questions may be answered during the interview. This is why specific questions about the company are good to have in the back of your head as well. ALWAYS ask questions. It shows you’re interested, did your research, and you’re hungry to learn.
5) Be Yourself
Showing your personality is so important when you’re interviewing. By doing so, you’re showing the company who you are so they can see if you’re the right “fit”. You don’t want to be working somewhere that doesn’t see you as the right fit; you don’t want them if they don’t want you. By showing who you are and expressing your personality throughout the interview, it’s more likely you’ll end up with a job that works for who you are so you can have a company culture that blends with your personality. Also, showing your personality may make a company more likely to hire you. By cracking a joke or two (when appropriate) or having a touch of personal conversation you can really draw a connection with people and the stronger that connection, the better your chances of making a good impression and landing the job. Being yourself will also help you feel at ease and answer questions more smoothly. There’s no need to overthink anything, just be sure of who you are and make sure the company can see that too.
Get out there and show em what you’ve got!
GOOD LUCK! ❤
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