Acing the Interview

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Job and internship interviews can be intimidating, but, with proper practice and preparation, they don’t have to be.  Here are a few tips to help you ace an interview.

Just like you would start studying a few nights before the actual exam, it’s a good idea to brush up on what you know about the company who is interviewing you.  This can be easily accomplished by going to the company’s website and reading through it, specifically the description of the position you are interviewing for. Jot down a few notes about the company and any potential questions you might have for the interviewer.  

Remember the basics: arrive 10-15 minutes early.  Any earlier than that can make you seem overeager or anxious about the interview. Be appropriately dressed and prepared, armed with a firm handshake and extra resumes neatly tucked inside a folder or portfolio. Please turn off your phone before you enter an interview. If it rings it will disrupt the interview.  Turning it off also means you are not as tempted to check it while the interview is going on.  

Demonstrate a professional yet friendly demeanor.  Remember to smile. During the interview be sure to make eye contact, as it makes you appear confident and self-assured. Sit with a straight, active posture, which allows you to lean in slightly and be engaged in the interview. Remember to remain positive during an interview, even when asked tough questions or if referencing a former or current employer. Provide answers which show how you take responsibility for your decisions and actions. You should appear confident, not cocky, so refrain from coming across too strong about your achievements or experiences. Showcase them only when appropriate.

Remember, an interview is a two-way conversation.  So, when the interviewer asks you a question, offer greater detail in your answer than just a simple yes or no; be specific. In response to a question, try to back up your answers with clear and concrete examples of your work and experience. It’s okay if you are asked a curveball question.  Take it in stride.  If the interviewer asks if you rather be a tiny rhino or a giant hamster, have an answer for them and support it.  It demonstrates not only your critical thinking and analysis skills but also your personality.  

Have a couple of questions prepared for the interviewer, whether it be about the company or the position. This demonstrates your interest and proves that you have done your “homework.” Stay away from asking questions related to perks of the job such as salary or benefits. Those questions can be saved for after the interview.  

Send a thank-you note to your interviewer promptly, a few hours after the interview is acceptable.  Not only is it polite, but it also shows that you are interested in the position.  

An interview is really about how you present yourself as a whole.  So take a deep breath, put your best foot forward and do the best you can. You can ace this interview!  If you feel worried about an upcoming interview or just want to refine your interviewing skills, stop by the Career Center and set up an appointment. The Career Center counselors will be happy to help you!

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