You landed an interview for an awesome position, congrats! To get this far in any hiring process is a huge opportunity, and it shows you stood out compared to numerous applicants. So, what’s next? Preparation is an essential step before entering any interview. They’ve seen you on paper and clearly want to know about you, so take this opportunity of meeting face to face by truly selling yourself and showing why you deserve the position. These are the tips I have gained from mentors and my own experience that have helped me prepare for interviews.
Step 1: Research
Knowing the company for which you are interviewing is essential to your preparation process. Through understanding their mission values and objectives, you can see how you in turn will fit in and contribute to the company. Although research is an obvious step, the depth of research is what will set you apart from your competitors. This is something I learned from Professor Frank Blossom of the APR Department here at GVSU: “What is (the company's) goal? How will you help them achieve that”?
In addition, it is important to show you’ve done your research because it is common for the company to ask what you know about what they do. Do your research thoughtfully though; try to research the responsibilities of your specific position. If that includes social media, do some serious stalking on all platforms, like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube. It is always better to be over prepared than under, and it demonstrates how serious you are about taking the opportunity.
Step 2: Self-Analyzation
This step sounds a lot more profound than intended, but it is crucial nonetheless. Knowing information about the company is important for establishing credibility, but they are hiring you for you, not your ability to recite information back. This is where understanding yourself comes into play. It is important to know your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and experiences. When it comes to your experience, employers want to know what the goal was, how you accomplished it, any obstacles faced, how those were overcome, and how you learned from them. This shows employers your problem-solving process and your ability to overcome adversity.
Step 3: Write Down Questions
When preparing for an interview, remember they will eventually ask if you have questions. Make sure you have them. Frank Blossom also advised me to have ten questions written (or typed) out for an interview. Although you might not ask all the questions, and some may be answered throughout the interview process, having those questions shows again how serious you are about working there and that you would like to learn as much about the company as possible. These could be questions such as “What does a successful intern (or employee) look like while working here?” or something more specific to a recent company project, asking about objectives and outcomes.
Step 4: Plan your outfit
First impressions are everything, and how you dress leaves a significant impression. It is always best to play it safe with an interview scenario: business professional. While researching, feel free to look at company photos and see the culture and dress code. This is something many females must consider, because many older women are used to wearing stockings or tights under skirts and dresses. Therefore, it’s important to take that generational gap into account when deciding on an outfit. Although it is 2017, and Coachella style is all the rage, employers might deem something we find normal to be unprofessional and inappropriate.
Step 5: Have Thank-You cards handy
Writing a follow-up email is professional yet expected. Now physically writing a “Thank You” note and mailing will make you stand out. This is a tactic that takes time and will not go unnoticed. After the interview, write-up your “Thank You” note which should consist of thanking your interviewer for their time, specifics of what you enjoyed from the conversation and how you excited you are for the opportunity. Short, sweet, and memorable. This is listed as a prep step because you need those “Thank You” cards handy before the interview to make sure they are sent out in a timely fashion.
Now that you know my five interview prep tips, I hope you land your interviews and receive those job offers! Although all of this is important, remember the most crucial part is to be honest, transparent, and yourself.
Amandari Karaca is a senior originally from Kalamazoo, MI majoring in Advertising and Public Relations with a minor in Spanish. She is currently serving as a GrandPR Account Executive for the 2017-18 school year. She is also heavily involved in her sorority, Sigma Kappa. In her free time, Amandari enjoys cooking, cheering on her favorite NBA team, the Spurs, and following the hip hop music scene. This summer Amandari is working as a public relations intern at Gemini Publications in Grand Rapids.