Interview tips for landing an internship, job or college admission
Since interviews are an essential part of life, interview tips are especially significant for students.
You might have experience being interviewed, but learning new tips never hurts. As someone who has been interviewed many times for academic reasons or for my career, these are the steps that helped me achieve a successful interview.
I cannot stress enough that the most important part of the interview is preparation. You can always learn and improve during each aspect of the process. I will divide these interview tips into three categories: before the interview, during the interview and after the interview.
Before the Interview
Do your homework:
Whenever I prepare for an interview, whether for a college acceptance or to land an internship, I made sure to have as much information as possible on the position or the institution. With the help of the internet, it is really easy to look up the information on the college you would like to attend or the company you want to work for.
Start by looking at factual information about the college or company. Learn about the history of when the institution was founded, who founded it and for what reason. In the case of a college interview, learn about what distinguishes this college from the rest – in other words, why you would like to attend. If the interview is for an internship or job, make sure that you know the position very well. Presenting questions at the end of the interview is impressive. Just make sure that the information you are asking for was not already provided.
Practice, practice, practice!
Some people like to practice in front of a mirror. Personally, I like to hear myself pronounce the responses just to familiarize myself with what I am going to say. Even if you are simply jotting down an outline for answers to potential questions or points you want to communicate, a little practice will help your memory during the real interview. As you meet the interviewer, they will immediately notice your confidence. But that can only be attained by familiarizing yourself with the discussion topics. It also shows that you cared enough to take the time to prepare.
During the Interview
Just as the interviewer will detect preparation, they will also detect dishonesty. Make sure you express sincerity during the interview. This is important not only because it is the right thing to do but also because you will feel more comfortable honestly representing yourself. There is no better expert about you than yourself and highlighting you is what the interview process is about.
This step can be difficult to accomplish during the interview. But always remember to take a deep breath and think before answering questions. Do not be shy about correcting yourself or taking the time to explain an answer. This will demonstrate maturity on your part.
You could do this by saying, “Allow me to rephrase that…” or “I can give you an example.” From experience, I can tell you that interviewers love hearing examples or anecdotes, as long as they are relevant and appropriate. Most significantly, they will help you relax since you are discussing a topic on which you are the expert.
After the Interview
Patience is a virtue and must be exercised in moments such as these. At the end of the interview, feel free to politely ask the interviewer when you might hear back. But after that, the waiting begins, and all you can do is be patient. Nevertheless, if a few weeks have passed, then reach out and ask for an update on your application.
Say thank you:
A quick thank you note to your interviewers can make a great impression. Just make sure that the note is brief and your grammar and spelling are on point. Thank them for the opportunity and let them know that you were impressed by them. A hand-written note is best, but there’s nothing wrong with a well-written email.
After the interview, avoid playing over and over in your head the things you think you did wrong or wish you could do again. Instead, if things don’t go your way, ask for feedback from the interviewer, if possible. Ask what you could do to improve for your next interview. Most importantly, take their advice and self-assess your performance. Think about the questions you were asked and think of answering them in a different way. All experiences, whether good or bad, offer learning opportunities, and this is particularly the case for interviews.
These few steps have helped me land a couple of great internships, so I hope they help you too!
Blogger Maria Thurber graduated from SPC with an Associate of Arts degree and received the coveted Gates Millennium Scholarship. She was in the dual-enrollment program, which allowed her to take college classes while still in high school. She has since transferred to the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where she has also held internships including one with the Ecuadorian Embassy.