Surviving the Interview

You worked hard on your resume, sent in many applications, and have finally landed an interview to a job or dream internship. Congratulations! However, your work is not done yet. You must survive the dreaded interview.

For many, it is very difficult to go through an interview. The questions are difficult and it is hard to make a good impression during such a short amount of time. Luckily, there are definitely ways to increase your chances in landing the position.

Presentation Tips:

  • Do not chew gum during the interview. It does not allow you to speak properly and makes you seem immature.
  • Do not wear inappropriate clothing. Make sure that you have all the parts covered and should not be too revealing. Skirts must follow the fingertip rule. If you put your hands down the sides of your thighs, your skirt should reach at least to the end of your fingertips. You should try to look as professional and responsible as possible. Transparent blouses and flip flops are also highly discouraged.
  • Along with appropriate clothing, do not wear wrinkled or dirty garments. Show up looking as clean cut as possible. Make sure that you have showered, smell nice and have your hair done neatly. This shows the interviewer that you take pride in your appearance, which in turn gives the idea that you probably take pride in your work.
  • If it is a phone interview, DO NOT take the call in a bathroom. It is completely unprofessional to hear a toilet flushing in the background. The same thing goes for music and friends. You want to make sure that the call is in a quiet area with minimal distractions.
Pre-Interview Tips:
  • Do not lie about your professional experience. Employers realize you are still a student and do not expect you to have a large amount of experience. Show them you have pride in your work but do not over exaggerate, because if you are hired they will realize that you do not know as much as you said you did during the interview.
  • Do your research.  Find out what exactly it is that the company or organization does. Interviewers frequently ask, “Why did you apply to this particular company? What about us appealed to you?” You want to be able to respond with an answer such as, “The mission of your company really speaks to me because I believe that…” or “The work that you are doing in _____  is amazing and I would love to be a part of the team that helps put that together.”
Interview Tips:
  • Do ask questions. Interviews always end with the interviewer asking if you have any questions. You should always ask questions. This shows that you did your research, you paid attention during the interview, and that you are truly interested in the position.
  • Do make eye contact. It is challenging to focus on what the other person is saying if you are nervous. If you are not making direct eye contact, the interviewer will feel that either you are not interested in the position or that you are thinking about other things and if hired, will not be able to concentrate on your work.
  • Do act confident. You want to use this opportunity to share your strengths, accomplishments and talents. You want to impress your interviewer with your positive personality traits. If you have previous work experience, share what you accomplished. If this is your first job, talk about your volunteer experience or dedication in your school work and extracurricular activities.
Post-Interview Tips:
  • Do give a good handshake, whether it is before or after an interview. This is a difficult skill to master, but practice makes perfect. Ask your parents or teachers to help you practice. There are various types of handshakes and it is important to know how to pick the right one. Look straight into the other person’s eyes, extend your arm out with your palm facing the opposite wall, and grasp firmly but not so firmly that you crush their hand. You do not want to extend your hand with the palm facing down because that indicates dominance. Other things to avoid: the “hug” handshake (you cusp the handshake with your other hand; this is only common with politicians), limp handshake (you grab their hand very softly; this indicates a lack of confidence), and the fingertip grasp (you grab just the fingertips of their hand; this is usually for a male to female interaction in which the male wants to impress the female and show that he admires her and finds her delicate.)
  • Do thank your interviewer before you leave. This is really important because they are taking time out of their busy day to sit down and see if they can provide you with an amazing opportunity. Thanking them also reveals a positive attitude which is always needed in an office environment. Sending a follow-up thank you card is also recommended.

Although it is a lot to keep in mind, with these tips you will have a much better chance of landing your dream internship or a job! Do keep a positive attitude and believe in yourself and you will go far!

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