Interviewing is a crucial part of the job or internship search. The good news is that by the time you get to an interview, the employer has already decided you meet the minimum qualifications for the position.
An interview is an opportunity for both you and the employer to evaluate whether you’d be a good fit for the position and company culture. It is your chance to highlight your experiences, personality and potential. Here are some tips to help you prepare and feel confident, whether your interview is in-person or virtual.
Do your research
Employers want to know that potential employees have taken the time to get to know their company. They may even ask a few specific questions about the company or position to ensure you’ve done your research. Here are a few ways you can prepare before the interview.
Prepare questions and responses
It’s impossible to know exactly what questions will be asked, but you can develop responses to commonly asked interview questions.
Incorporating stories into your answers is also great for demonstrating your strengths. For example, rather than saying you are very organized, you could share how you helped your student group organize an event and the positive results. To do this, try explaining your responses using the START method.
After you’ve prepared responses and START stories, try practicing them out loud. Whether you practice by yourself in front of a mirror, with a friend or with a career development advisor, this is a great way to feel more confident and prepared before your interview.
You can also use online interview preparation tools like Interview Prep. This mock interview tool can record your responses to interview questions. Only you can see your responses unless you share them with others to ask for feedback.
Be prepared to ask questions
An interview is a two-way street. Just as they are asking questions to learn about you, you should ask questions to ensure this is the right job for you. If you don’t come prepared with questions, the interviewer might assume you haven’t done your research or you’re not interested.
You can ask about the day-to-day responsibilities of the job, the company culture or important qualities needed to excel in the position. Use your research to develop detailed questions.
If you have a virtual interview, become familiar with the platform used for the interview (Zoom, Google Meet, etc.) to avoid technical issues. Test your camera and microphone. Find a quiet location where you won’t be interrupted, and make sure there’s nothing distracting in your background.
If the interview is in-person, plan to arrive early. Arrive 10 to 15 minutes before the interview’s scheduled start time. Leave time to navigate traffic delays or parking challenges. You also want to ensure you know how to find the specific interview location and the name of your contact person.
Bring along any necessary additional materials. For example, your list of questions, paper, a pen, copies of your resume, transcripts, references, additional samples of your work or any other information you were asked to provide.
Present yourself professionally
Different employers have different expectations for interview attire. Make sure your clothes reflect your identity and align with the job you’re seeking. If you aren’t sure how professionals dress in the field, consider asking people in your network for informational interviews. You can also look at photos on the organization’s website to see how employees dress.
Even with a virtual interview, it’s best to dress with confidence from head to toe. You never know if you’ll need to stand up during your conversation. Plus, how you dress can boost your confidence and help you get in the right frame of mind for the interview.
Resources for interviewing
For more tips to help you with your job or internship search, check out programs and workshops from Career Services or schedule an appointment to meet with a peer career advisor.