We know that this can be the most anxiety-inducing part of the whole process - and that is why there are books and books and books written on how to do it well. Below are the top 3 tips that the Second Day team has found to be most beneficial to remember when going into an interview:
Do your research
People loooove to talk about themselves. Organizations want to know what it is about them that makes you want to be there - so show them that you took the time to read their mission statement, research their team, understand their projects - learn just enough to make you want to know more.
(Sneaky pro-tip: the more you can get an interviewer talking about themselves, the less time you have to talk, and thanks to the way our brains work, the interviewer is just as likely to come away thinking the interview was positive)
Be thoughtful and honest
Take the time to think about an answer if you need to before jumping in and rambling your way through it
Play up your accomplishments, yes, but don’t be afraid to recognize truthfully the challenges you’ve met with that have helped you learn and grow
Remember - at the end of the day, this is a conversation - and they have to sell you on the job as much as you are selling them on your abilities.
The point of all of this is for the employer to get to know you - so try to show your genuine self. If you feel like you’re just saying all the right things but don’t believe what you’re saying, then the job probably isn’t a good fit.
Other helpful reminders:
Be ready to answer the question, “why are you interested in our organization, and in this position in particular?” It will likely be the first thing you get asked.
Have questions ready for when they ask, “Great, so, do you have any questions for us?” And tailor these to the company or organization - this is your chance to show off the research you’ve done. Not having questions implies disinterest. Having standard questions you ask everyone implies laziness. Having specified and thoughtful questions enables you to not only show off how well-informed you are but also show that you are a discerning job-seeker - which is a great way to turn the tables and have the interviewer sell their organization to you
Walk through a few situational interview questions (you know, the “tell me about a time when” ones - helpful list here). Think about how you can represent your resume as broadly as possible as you answer these - try not to pull only from one job or internship if you can avoid it.
Think of these as an opportunity to tell a story - if you’re talking about a time when you had to manage an unexpected change in plans, you can use a story from your internship where you had to scrap all the research you’d been doing because the meeting got changed, or you could talk about the club fundraiser you planned that got delayed by a snowstorm. You could even talk about your car breaking down - but if you explain in a genuine and human way the things that you learned from the experience, you will have nailed the question.
And, of course, the classics:
Err on the side of being conservatively dressed and over-dressed
Bring copies of your resume and cover letter, just in case
Aim to be 5-10 minutes early
Email a thank-you to the interviewer within a day of the meeting
Hungry for more tips? Here are 30 more. Good luck out there, team!
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