Tell me about yourself. What are three words that describe you? Why do you want to work here? Ugh! Interviews can be tough. Toss around some ideas on how to get through it!
All these comments have been very helpful-thanks!
I have found that having a mock interview can help you as well. Make sure that whoever is interviewing you whether it is a friend or someone at career services is taping the interview with a camera.
After the interview watch the video together and listen to the comments given.Watching yourself during an interview can give you useful pointers about yourself- like body language , the way you answer your questions and hand motions that you frequently use.
Also,it is important to keep telling yourself that you will do the best you can and remember that practise makes perfect!
There have been a lot of great responses so far. Preparation is key, and part of preparing is knowing what not to do. For instance:
* Don't badmouth your previous employer, no matter the circumstances of your previous job's end. Have a polite, professional sounding answer in case your interviewer asks why you left your last job.
* Don't monopolize the interview. Sometimes when you're nervous it's easy to let yourself ramble or to speak excitedly over your interviewer. Be assertive and make your statements clear, but remember that you're the one being interviewed.
* Don't let your interviewer do all the asking! Having some appropriate questions for your interviewer shows that you have a real interest in the job and the company.
* Don't let your nerves get the best of you. Remember that essentially, an interview is a conversation. Go in thinking about all that you have to offer, so that instead of trying to show how great you are, you will simply wxude those qualities.
drea- That's smart. I just read something about how when you are bragging (in the good sense of the word), it's best to turn it into an anecdote that makes it more entertaining for the listener. I've got to work on mine!
I honestly think the key to a great interview is when you show that you are someone that the other person would *personally* like to work with. The way I often do that is to practice my "story" beforehand. My story is honestly just a 1-2 minute blurb about who I am, how I got to where I am in my life, and why I'm excited about the job I'm interviewing for.
I try to craft the "story" in a way that will be appealling and interesting to the interviewer. I usually start with something less expected "I went to college as a piano performance major" then continue to explain how I ended up in my current field (which is law) "I realized that I was not the kind of person who could be happy couped up in a 10x10 practice room with a grand piano for 4 hours a day .. I joined debate on a whim because I was always interested in politics .. in a lot of ways it was the opposite of my experience with music because with debate, I worked hard at becoming good because I loved it, whereas with music I think I only loved it because for as long as I can remember, it was something I was good at .. and I asked myself, how can I turn this something I love into a career?" Once someone hears your "story" they become invested and are looking for a reason to give you the job over another.
To me, having a story that sounds natural (because you know where you're going with it) and sounds genuine (because it is true, just carefully constructed) is the key to a great interview. Everything else they might need to know is on your resume, anyway.
EDIT: One other thing I always do... THANK the person for taking the time to interview you as you say goodbye. It is a great way to make sure the last impression is positive and keeps you from making the goodbye awkward out of nervousness.
One good thing to try-- find out the name of the person you will be interviewing with and google them beforehand. See if you have any common interests and bring it up while you're still in the 'casual talk' point of the interview!
May I also add how important it is to look professional. I recenlty went on an interview and I was quite apparent to me how significant personal presentation is. I don't believe a future employer will care if your suit is gucci but I do think one should be wearing something clean and he/she should pay close attention to their hygene.
Kate, I think that the best tactic in this case would be to play up all of your assets as much as you possibly can. Have career services help you to develop your resume and objectively analayze what you have done so far, and where there is room for leverage. For instance if work for the school newspaper like I did, perhaps take on some more responsibilities in editing. If you have a leadership position in any organized student activity - work that. Yes, employers may be looking for specific talents and abilities but they are also looking for individuals who are multifaceted and well-rounded. Having strong relationships with professors and/or employers is important because you will need their glowing reccommendations come job application time - they will serve as indicators of your work ethic.
It's likely that you will find yourself at the bottom of the totem pole at first - but that's ok. Remind yourself that it's only temporary, and that you are laying the groundwork for your future success. Stay optimistic and keep an eye out for any opportunities that might come out of the woodwork.
Next year, I wil be graduating from college and will be entering the work world. Although I have done very well in high school and college, I obviously lack work experience. I want to convey to my prospective employers that I am hard-working and dedicated, but I fear he or she will hire someone with perhaps a few more years of experience. Does anyone have any advice on how I should approach the interview process and how I can accentuate my work ethic and get the job, despite my lack of experience?
Alex- one thing that works for me is preparing days ahead of time. If I start the day of the interview as I normally would with my normal routine, I have less of the anxiety build-up; whereas if I focus my day completely around the interview, making last minute preparations, I become overwhelmed. Try to plan activities on interview day, up to the time of the interview, that get your mind off the interview- not neccessarily relaxing time alone, because then your thoughts will just fester on the interview. Take part in engaging conversation or read a book.
Those tips are great Alessa! I try to prepare myself for interviews as best I can, but it seems that, for me, anticipatory anxiety is unavoidable. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can relax before an interview? I try to listen to music or enjoy a favorite television program the night before, but I still cannot shake that anxious feeling. I am usually well-prepared and have much to say once the interview begins, but the anxiety I feel prior to he interview is extremely unpleasant. Does anyone have any advice? I would really appreciate it.
A few tips to take into account when preparing yourself for an interview:
1. Try and figure out what questions your interviewer is likely to ask, and formulate good responses to them
2. Memorize the responses so that you will be able to access them easily when those inevitable questions pop up during the interview
3. Practice different ways of saying them. Which ones make you appear most dynamic?
4. Try and relax before the interview. You have already prepared yourself, so there is nothing to worry about. Take a run, or read the newspaper to remind yourself that there are more important things going on in the world.
5. Be yourself!
I like to ask them, "What do you know about the company?" If they haven't done thorough research, it's over. Know how the company compares to it's competitors, it's philosophy, why the position you are applying for is open, any reports about the company you can find...
Last night I read somewhere that impressions are formed within the first three seconds of meeting someone! This just reinforces how crucial the first few seconds are in an interview (and how I really should have trusted my instincts with my ex-boyfriends!)
Very good advice, Emily! When I conduct interviews I particularly take note of what questions the interviewee asks me. This tends to be a very good predictor of how interested they are in the job and how much research they did about the company. One question I would recommend all to ask when they go in for an interview is "What would make me successful in this position?" This shows that the person is evaluating his or her own strengths to see whether they will fit the demands of the job, and that they are determined to be good at what they do. You might also get a feel for the managing style, depending on how they answer the question. If they say they want someone who shows initiative, this might mean that they don't plan on hovering over your shoulder and guiding you step-by-step.
In my experience, the best teaching tool on becoming a good interviewee, was being an interviewer. It was only when I had moved up in the ranks a bit to a position in which I was responsible for hiring entry-level employees when I was really able to see for myself what is effective in an interview. From watching the mistakes of others (no eye contact, unenthusiasm, not doing research about the company, etc), I felt more prepared when I went into my own interviews. Perhaps women just starting out and interviewing for their first jobs should practice interviewing a friend to see what they would do better.
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