Do you want to start your interview process with a bang? Do you want to end your interview in perfect harmony? It is crucial that you walk into your interview feeling confident and leave with a plan for your next steps. You may not realize all of the preparation needed to walk into your interview ready to impress. We spoke with Mia Weiss from Arcadia University’s Career Education office and Nancy Dudak from Villanova University’s Career Center for some tips and tricks on the process.
Before the Interview
Stressed out? If you’re getting ready for the big day and don’t know what to do, we have your back! When preparing for an interview make sure that each step leading up to your appointment is planned out. From packing your bag and getting your outfit ready the night before to knowing exactly how much time it will take you to get to the interview location the day of, you don’t want to be adding extra stress in places it can be prevented! Follow these tips to guarantee the smoothest introduction to your interview!
Research the organization: It is essential to know the organization or company you are interviewing with before sitting down with them. You don’t want to go in only knowing the name of the organization and the title of the position you’re applying for. Mia notes, “I would suggest that an interviewee do their “homework” regarding the company and its culture. Employers want to know that a candidate has researched the company thoroughly and knows about industry trends or company news.” You want to be able to express how you will fit in with their mission and values in order to demonstrate that you will be a valuable member of their team. Research, research research! Mia further explains, “It’s important for candidates to research a company’s profile (size, locations, industry,organizational structure etc…) but it’s also very important to delve deeper and learn about its culture and values. For example, I visited Google’s New York office over the summer, and while I learned about Google’s products and locations it was most interesting to learn about the hallmarks of the Google experience. Collaboration, teamwork and diversity are all extremely important to Google; without knowledge of these values and how this is infused throughout the company, I do not think that a person could have a successful interview there.” Don’t just look at the “About Us” page on their website, look further and dive deeper. See what events they have been hosting, what initiatives they recently started, or how they engage with the community. If you show that your goals and experiences align with what they are currently doing, they will see how you will successfully fit in the open position.
Choose your outfit the night before: Do you dress in full out business attire? Or is business casual appropriate? And what exactly is business casual? If all of these thoughts are racing through your mind, don’t worry. It’s always safer to be a little overdressed, rather than to show up looking too casual. If you are really unsure, ask! There is no harm of adding a line to your interview confirmation email or phone call asking what the appropriate attire for their company is. Nancy suggests having your wardrobe picked out the night before, she says, “Don’t scramble the morning of to find something or try to get the wrinkles out.”
Know what to bring with you: The night before you should also have your bag packed and ready to go. Mia suggests, “I would say that candidates should have copies of their resumes printed on resume paper as well as business cards packed. It’s helpful to also have any questions you have for the hiring manager written down in your portfolio. ”
Transportation: How are you getting to the interview location? If you are driving, make sure to have directions figured out at least one day in advance. Also make sure to give yourself more than enough travel time. If you are taking public transportation, make sure to double check the available times for the day of your interview and take into consideration possible delays that may occur the day of. Try to aim for your transportation arriving to the location about 20 minutes before your appointment, that way you have time to prepare yourself before heading in!
What to do when you arrive: Get to your interview location a little early (10-15 minutes) to allow time to gather yourself. Nancy suggests to, “Use these few minutes to check the place out (get your head out of your phone!). Does this look like an organization you would like to work for? Do people seem to enjoy their jobs or do they appear to be tense and overworked? Is the environment pleasant and modern, or is it dated and out of touch?” Yes the interview on the surface is about an organization reviewing you, but take some time to review them and see if they are a good fit for your goals!
After the Interview
So you made it to the interview on time, dressed to impress, survived all the questions the organization threw your way, and wowed them with your well thought-out follow up questions. But you’re not done yet! Follow these tips to ensure you make the finale of your interview process one to be remembered!
Ask about next steps: Don’t be afraid to ask about how their hiring process works at the end of the interview. This will save you hours or days of being stressed if you know the timeline of when they will be contacting you next.
Send a Thank You: Try to send a thank you message to each person who interviewed you. You want to end your interview process showing that you truly valued the time the organization spent to meet with you. Mia advises, “Right after the interview try to jot down a few notes about things that you discussed. That way when you are writing a thank you note you can mention some of the topics you spoke about. This shows an employer that you really took the time to reflect on your conversation and interview day and that you are thoughtful enough to write a tailored thank you note.”
Practicing each of these notes will lead to a harmonious interview process. You should have no problem impressing your audience and scoring the internship of your dreams!