5 Tips For A Great Interview

Think interviews are just for job seekers?  Think again!  The amount of interviews you have to make in college may astound you depending on what you wish to be a part of.  Don’t let this stop you from getting involved though!  Read on for some helpful interviewing tips!

My college career has already been filled with many interviews: for an honors fraternity, jobs, and organizations.  Did I mention I had never interviewed for anything before in my life?!  Now, after successfully taking part in 7 interviews, I am happy to share my interviewing secrets with students like you.

Not only are interview skills important for formal interviewing, but they also may help you better present yourself when meeting with a professor or other professional. Interviews can be the most intimidating part of an application process, but not to fear.  I’ve compiled some tips to help you rock out on interview day!

1. Come early!

  • Arriving early has SO many benefits.  First of all, it gives you plenty of time to make sure you know where you are supposed to be, and possibly meet with other applicants who are just as nervous as you!  Make small talk, and get your mind off of what you really came here for, even just for a few minutes.  This is guaranteed to relax you, and give you time to visit the facilities just in case nerves take you there!
  • Oh, and did I mention how awesome it looks to your interviewers if you come early, proving to them how serious you are taking the opportunity?!

2. Have a resume ready

  • Do you get all of your information in lecture simply from listening to the teacher talk?  No!  We are visual and oral learners. A resume backs up what you are saying to your interviewer, and also serves as a reminder of your credentials later in the process, when your interviewers are trying to remember who you are and why they liked you!
  •  Have several copies with you, and if at all possible, keep your resume to 1 page.  Also, strengthen your resume by sitting down with a counselor or your school’s career center.

3. Remember that they’re nervous too!

  • Sure, you’re the one in the hot seat having to do all of the impressing, but your interviewer(s) have the huge responsibility of selecting its newest members/employees.  So don’t walk into the interview room with any intimidation.  Instead, remain confident, but sincere the entire time.  To show that you care about the stressful situation they are in too, wish them luck in their decision-making process as you leave.

4. Begin and end on a positive note.

  • Enter the room with a smile and have your hand out, ready to introduce yourself and meet your interviewers!  It is absolutely crucial at this point to be 100% genuine, despite your nerves.
  • A lot of people develop an automatic “customer service voice” when dealing with professionals.  This can be beneficial, but if you sound way too excited and cheerful, your interviewers may not buy it.  Just remember these key components to making a great impression:

• Keep eye contact
• Make firm handshakes
• Remember your interviewers’ names and include that in your goodbye (Example: “Thank you for your time today, ____.”)
• Make sure you enter and leave with a smile! J

5. Know what you could be asked.

  • You will rarely know what questions you’ll be asked before stepping foot into an interview.  But here is a compilation of typical interview questions:

• Information in regards to the company or organization’s motto or objectives
• Information from your resume
• Basic ice breaker questions:

    • Name your strengths/weaknesses.
    • Name a challenge you’ve overcome and describe how you overcame it.
    • How do you stand out among the other applicants?
    • Define a good leader.

Whether you have an upcoming interview or are still scratching your head at the thought, keep these things in mind when it’s your turn to be in the hot seat!

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Kaitlyn Taylor

Kaitlyn Taylor

Kaitlyn Taylor is a freshman at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, pursuing a degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in Spanish. She comes from a small farm town of 1,000 in West-Central Illinois, making the transition to a large campus challenging. At school Kaitlyn is involved with the University’s Women Glee Choir, and also sings in her Church choir and is involved with her residence hall’s Resident Board. She enjoys writing, biking, and volunteering.
Kaitlyn Taylor

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