Interviews are an important part of life, and of course, job hunting. I’ve been through my fair share of interviews (at least for my age) — I’ve had some amazing ones that I knew would work out, and some (specifically one terrifying one) that demolished my interview-confidence. So, here are a few tips that will hopefully help you avoid an interview-catastrophe.
- Prior company research.
This is so important because companies will often ask what you know about them to ensure you did your “homework”. You should also take a look at company pictures or blogs to get a sense of the tone of the company—very strict, more laid back, etc.
- Know what job you want, but also what other departments you could lend a hand.
Knowing your position is important, but when deadlines are fast approaching and tension is high in the office, having some background knowledge to help others can set you apart from other candidates or employees. Knowing that you take interest in all aspects of the office is important, especially if you’re a student at an internship or first job.
- Plan ahead for tricky or obscure questions.
Some interviewers ask strange questions such as “what ice cream flavor would you be” or “which brick would you be in a wall”. These often catch interviewees off guard and can throw off a great interview. While this might be the intention—to catch you off guard—it’s often smart to think ahead so you have some clever answers prepared. Make sure you come up with these on your own though, interviewers can tell when you’re repeating things you read online. If they hear the same answer often they know it didn’t come from you which won’t look good.
- Come up with questions to ask them.
At the end of an interview the employer usually asks if you have any questions. HAVE QUESTIONS. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is to be prepared with one or two relevant questions. Never ask if they have casual Friday’s or about vacation days. This makes it look like you don’t care about the job, just the extras. Questions I asked in the past at internship interviews are things like “what do your interns do on a day-to-day basis”, “what kind of projects will I work on” or “what can I sit in on or observe?”
My last tip is to make sure you dress the part. Take a peek at any company photos to see how the office dresses. Take it up one notch if possible, but not more than that. If it’s a casual office where people are in jeans, you don’t need a suit and tie or pant suit, something a tad more casual but still business appropriate. You don’t want to look incredibly out of place, aim to fit in while still looking appropriate for an interview.
I hope these tips help, good luck in your interviews!