The interview is the final step between you and that prized opportunity this summer. You’ve worked hard with good grades, extracurriculars, and a finely polished resume to earn this interview. So what must you do to reach your goal? Well, there’s a whole science to the interview process. Whether it’s your first go-around with real interviewing or you’ve interviewed more times than you can count, there’s always room to grow your interviewing skills. They say interviewing is like dating because you’re always looking for a match. If that’s true, be sure to be level headed, polite and prepared, just as you would on a date!
1. Dress the part-Dressing appropriately for an interview is what first impressions are all about—gentleman, a suit and tie never hurt anybody. After all, you rather be the sharpest dressed man for an interview than to arrive under dressed. Ladies should make sure they are dressed to impress, too, with a blouse or suit that is fitting. Vastly different than your dating attire, remember, you’re going to an interview, not a date, so be sure to wear business appropriate clothing! If you’re unsure whether you’re under dressed or inappropriately dressed, then you probably are, so ruled of thumb: if anything, overdress the part and dress conservatively.
2. Know the company inside and out-Pretend you’re an investigator. Give the company a full audit, a background check in and out to determine what you know about the enterprise and what you want to know. Moreover, your knowledge of the company can impress interviewers on both your initiative skills and interest in the firm. If it’s a sales company or consulting firm, check their client list to ask more about their customers; if it’s a supply chain company, ask them about what metrics they’re using and how those serve to improve processes; if it’s an engineering company, look up some of their newer products and what kind of products they forecast in the near future.
3. Be creative; be memorable-Share your experiences, your creativity and your stories that separate you from other applicants and interviewees. Have some work to show them? A blog? Some research? Standing out from the others and being “different” can separate you from the final batch of applicants. You know yourself the best and you must be your own marketing department to sell your “brand” and get the job!
4. Always have question prepared at close-Showing the interviewer that you’re actively interested about the position and its duties is imperative in the interviewing process. Nearly every interview concludes with, “so do you have any questions about the position or company?” Be sure that you have some questions that the interviewer did not mention during the interview. What do you look for in candidates for the position? What has made interns successful in the past? What are the best aspects about working for the company? These are all viable and appropriate questions to conclude the interview with that will suggest you’re interested and active in the interview.
5. Follow up with a thank you note-Thank you notes are the ultimate cherry on the cake. If we’re still paralleling dating to interviewing, consider the thank you note as the follow-up text an hour after the date. It’s ensuring that the meeting was both appreciated and exciting. Thank you notes do not need to be elaborate—simply writing a few lines about your experience, thoughts and appreciation for their time is plenty. Keep it short and sweet, and most importantly, be sure to get that thank you note out and in the mail within a day or two of your interview!
6. Go the extra mile-Prove to the company that you’re dedicated and prioritize their company. Do research on the company and come with tangible documents or information on them. If they are visiting your college, or even a college within travel distance to you, make the effort to get out there and network with them. During the interviewing process, you can allude to your networking experience with someone in the company, bring their business card and mention their name to prove that you are proactively seeking ways to make it into the company. You don’t want to come off as just another college kid looking for a summer internship because
“you have to.” Working hard and proving that is essential in the science of interviewing and getting a job.