Interviewing can be terrifying. From applying to a school organization to going through your first internship application process, chances are you can’t avoid the dreaded interview. Between the two of us, we have visited countless of offices and coffee shops in the hopes of getting our one shot. Sometimes successful, sometimes not, we think we’ve learned a thing or two about how to nail the interview process.
Research. From the founders, to the history, to current news, make sure you do an extensive Google search on the company (or organization) you’re applying for. You should be prepared to make comments that show the interviewer that you know about the company and what it does. Plus, it never hurts to slide in a comment such as “congratulations on being named such and such this year!” It shows that you’re interested and care about the company. If you know who will be interviewing you, you can do some research on the person as well. Make sure that anything you bring up is not stalker-ish, though!
Plan your answers. You always want to sound natural during an interview but you always want to be prepared. Most interviewers pull from a standard pool of generic questions. Preparing your answers beforehand will make you sound more eloquent and confident (plus improvising on a second language is not too fun!) These are the questions we always want to be prepared to answer:
- Tell me about yourself
- Why are you interested in this position/this company?
- What makes you the best candidate for this position?
- What are your top three strengths and weaknesses? (You always want to twist your weaknesses into positives like “my biggest weakness is being very impatient althought this helps me be proactive and get things done quickly”)
- Describe a scenario where you were creative/innovative
- Describe a scenario where you took initiative
Ask questions. Never be the person who says “no” when the interviewer asks you if you have any questions. Our favorite go-to is a simple “where do you see the company going in the next few years.” Here are some others:
- What is your favorite part about your job?
- Describe the qualities of your best interns
- What does the day to day look like at the office?
Follow up. A day or two after the interview always send a quick email thanking the interviewer for their time. You can send a handwritten thank you note if it feels natural too. Here’s a classic:
Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me yesterday. I really enjoyed learning more about the company and how my experience could meet the qualifications for the position. Again, thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you.
So there you have it. Some quick simple tools to be prepared, confident and ready to nail any interview. Remember to always be yourself and let your personality shine. Not every interview will go well and you won’t always click with your interviewer. Make sure the opportunity is a good fit for you (but don’t forget to decline opportunities that are not with gratefulness and a very well written email).Go get ’em!!