Interviewing can be the most nerve-wracking part of the job/internship search.
Here are 5 tips to help you increase your confidence and do your best:
- Do your research. You should know quite a bit about the company you are interviewing with – not just the mission statement on their website. Dig deeper! Do you have any connections at the company? Ask them for their insight. Follow the company on LinkedIn where it is likely they will post their latest updates. Understand who the company is, and then have a good reason why you want to work for them. They will want to know that you’ve done your homework.
- Know how to answer “Tell me about yourself.” There are millions of questions that interviewers could ask you and it is impossible to prepare yourself for all of them. However, one question that you know is coming is “Tell me about yourself.” You should have a solid answer and it shouldn’t be regurgitating your resume or telling the interviewer your whole life story. One strategy is to introduce yourself and then tell the interviewer something that isn’t on your resume, but is still professional. Why did you choose your current field of interest? What motivates you professionally? You want to show a little personality without getting too personal. Speaking of…
- Don’t get too personal. The interviewer doesn’t need (or want) to know how many siblings you have, your dog’s name, or who you voted for in the last election. You only have so much time to shine in your interview, use that time wisely to talk about your skill set related to the position. It is okay to make small talk, but read the room.
- Be ready for behavioral interview questions and use the STAR method. Behavioral interviewing is a strategy used by interviewers to look at past behavior as a determinant of future behavior. Essentially, behavioral interview questions ask about a specific situation and start with phrases such as, “Tell me about a time…”, “Give me an example of…”, or “Describe a time when…” The STAR method stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. This method is a great when answering behavioral interview questions because it helps you keep your answers structured and it prevents rambling tangents. To use the STAR method, you want to first lay out the context of the situation and what you were tasked to do in the scenario. This is where candidates tend to offer up too much detail, so try to keep it concise. Next, describe the action that you took in the situation. This is arguably the most important piece of your answer because it shows the interviewer how you would likely respond in a future similar situation. It is also the part of your answer that shows off your skills. Last, tell them the result – what happened and what did you learn?
- Ask good questions. Asking questions at the end of your interview is so important. Too many candidates under prepare for this part of the interview. Thoughtful, prepared questions show your interviewer that you’ve done your research (see step 1!) and that you are eager to learn more about the position and the company. You never want to ask questions that you could easily find in the job description or on the company’s website. So what should you ask? Ask questions that incite good conversation. For example:
- Ask about a recent company project/expansion.
- Ask the interviewer what they find motivating in their role.
- Ask if you will be paired with a mentor.
Prepare 5-7 questions and ask at least 3. The worst thing you can do is say, “I don’t have any questions – you’ve answered them all.”
Come to an interview workshop exclusively tailored toward candidates interviewing for internships through the Fellows Program. Space is limited so be sure to RSVP to reserve your spot!
All workshops will be held at Action Greensboro (203 S. Church St., Greensboro, NC 27401).