The resume crafting is done and you’ve nailed the job application now it’s time to prepare for the interview. Whether you are a few months from graduating or a freshman in college now is the prefect time to start crafting interview objectives, materials, and questions. This is the one moment in college where just ‘winging it’ isn’t the best outcome, save that for next week’s exam.
Prior to any pitch for a new client or product there is a series of essential research, the same goes for an interview. Before the interview spend time researching the company you are applying for. Search key products, services, competitors, culture and values of the company to help frame your answers to fit the vibe of the company. Finding a common ground or interest with the interviewee is a great segway into conversation. We are all guilty of creeping people on social media so this shouldn’t be too difficult; just don’t come off as a complete stalker. It will show you took the initiative to get to know the company and the people that work there.
Research a few key challenges or problems the company has faced. Identify these problems and show how you can solve it. By investing time in discovering these issues and providing solutions, it shows what you can do for the company. Don’t be hesitant to share your thoughts and ideas. Employers are looking for motivated self-starters that are confident in their field of expertise.
While you are researching articles and posts from the company, start jotting down questions you have for the company. These questions could be about ideas for the future, company history, or the workplace environment. During an interview it can be overwhelming getting asked question after question therefore by asking a question in return not only gives your brain a breather but also shows you’re fully engaged in where the conversation is going.
Everyone has an elevator speech or a story behind his or her career choice it’s called passion. Take a few moments to develop your story with the company in mind. Use key words from job description and find outlets that connect your story with the company. Keep the story short, sweet and authentic. Don’t spend time memorizing your story word for word but be prepared to drop key words and phrases that define you.
Be yourself. Aside from the nitty gitty facts about the company, remember the goal of the interview is to decide whether there is a match between you and the company. Don’t throw those silly easy questions to the side, ‘What do you do in your spare time?’ Answer honestly to reveal your personality and creative attributes in and outside the company.
Girls – take a look at your nails, is last week’s nail polish now chipping away? And guys – is no shave November taking over 2015? You may hold all the answers but you need to back it up with your physical appearance. The night before make sure your clothes are clean, free of new clothes tags and stickers and that you’ve showered. Throughout the interview, try to be aware of your body language. Does your body language look engaged or bored? And are you smiling or have an accidental death stare? These are simple body gestures you would be surprised are constantly overlooked when nerves kick in.
Bring your Brand
You’ve spent hours perfecting your resume, business cards, and portfolio so do not forget them. Along with these items bring a notepad and pen to jot down notes or questions that come up during the interview.
Check the weather and your car. You just never know when your car door decides to freeze shut. Be prepared for traffic, GPS malfunction, spilling coffee on your clothes, anything is possible! So give yourself enough time to fix any complications with ease.
After the interview send out two thank you notes, one in email and a hand-written note. The email will arrive instant to keep you fresh in their mind. Then follow up with a hand-written note a week after as a sincere thanks. To keep the two different, include an article of something you talked about in the interview, a UP card of information about yourself, or a photograph you took. This speaks volume about the time and effort you took into gathering material for a letter of thanks.
The outcome of the job is now out of your hands, so what are you waiting for? Celebrate! You’ve showcased your best skills and value you can contribute to the company while maintaining to hide the clammy hands and sweaty pits. Enough said you deserve to treat yourself.
Interviews are a learning process that will have its ups and downs throughout your career. After each interview analyze your actions and answers as a learning tool for the next interview. Practice makes perfect for one-on-one interviews. The best advice is to try mock interviews, attend more networking events, and always be yourself.
Best of luck on your next interview!
Lindsey VanDenBoom, Account Associate | Lindsey is a senior at Grand Valley State University graduating with a major in Communication Studies and minor in Ad & PR and Art. She has a passion for seeking beauty in the simplest of things. Aside from the hustle and bustle of classes, intern and work, you can find her dancing, exploring new places, or enjoying a PB&J.