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Interviewing Tips

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September 24, 2009

Want to ace your next interview? By following the interviewing tips and strategies below, you will be prepared to put your best foot forward and convince the interviewer that you are the best person for the internship.


Do your research.
The Internet has made it easy to research companies and find out more about the organization and its culture. Use this information wisely and illustrate your understanding of the company by asking relevant questions during the interview.

Prepare a list of questions for the interview.
This shows the employer that you are prepared, have done your research, and are interested in the company. It's OK to jot down notes during the interview but only write down key points and keep your focus on the interviewer.

Dress appropriately.
If you are not sure, ask the interviewer or Human Resources Department what attire is appropriate for the interview. Suits for men and women are generally appropriate business attire for positions in a corporate environment.

Be prompt.
Make sure you are familiar with the location of the interview and allow ample time for unexpected traffic delays.

Be yourself!
Don't try to be someone you're not. The interview is as much about you finding out about the organization and the position as it is about them finding out about you. The interview will help you decide if the organization is the right match for you.

Know your interviewer's name.
Communications and interpersonal skills are two of the basic skills employers look for in job candidates. Take the initiative to know the interviewer's name and be sure to use it during the interview.

Bring a copy of your resume to the interview.
If the interviewer does not have a copy of your resume on hand, you will be prepared and able to provide one at the interview.

Take the first few minutes to develop rapport.
The first several minutes of the interview can be used to develop rapport which will set the stage for a more comfortable and relaxing interview.

Making a good first impression is a key element to a successful interview.
Your nonverbal behavior says a lot about you. Be sure to offer the interviewer a firm handshake and maintain eye contact when speaking. You will want to appear poised, yet comfortable and relaxed during the interview.

Emphasize your skills and accomplishments.
Focus on your skills and accomplishments, including; high school/college coursework, volunteer and co-curricular activities. Previous internships and/or work experiences are important as well describing your transferable skills: communication, interpersonal, strong analytical and problem solving, etc..

Provide the interviewer with relevant examples of previous experiences.
One form of interviewing that is popular today is called Behavioral Interviewing. The interviewer will provide you with a scenario and ask how you would handle a specific situation. Preparing for these types of questions beforehand will provide quick reference to relevant experiences. (Example: Describe a situation when you were able to think on your feet and come to an immediate decision to get a project completed on time?)

Don't try to be humorous.
Your purpose at the interview is to put your best foot forward and persuade the interviewer that you have the interests and skills required to do the job. You also want to convince the interviewer that your personality is a good fit for the organization. With no prior knowledge of the interviewer's personality, humor can derail an otherwise good interview.

Be sure you understand the question before answering.
It's OK to ask the interviewer to repeat the question or ask for clarification.

Don't exaggerate your accomplishments.
This can create a problem once you get the job and are unable to perform the required duties.

Nervousness is expected.
By practicing prior to the interview, you will feel more confident and better prepared. There may be a point when you feel you did not answer a question to the satisfaction of the interviewer, just go on. You may be able to clarify your answer later in the interview or let the interviewer know that you would like to return to that topic.

Follow the interviewer's lead during the interview.
Don't spend too much time on any one question but make sure you have answered the entire question.

Emphasize the positive.
You may be asked in the interview to give a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Focus on the positive! When referring to weaknesses, recognize them and quickly shift to actions you've taken to improve in this area. Specific examples can be helpful to illustrate your progress.

Watch your grammar.
Interviewers want to know how you are going to represent the company and fit into the organization. Be sure to slow down and think before you speak.

Don't interrupt the interviewer.
Let the interviewer complete the question before answering. It is OK to use silence while you gather your thoughts.

Bring samples of your work.
If you are in a field such as graphic design, photography, education, or communications where a sample of your work would be helpful, bring it with you to the interview.

Don't accept a job/internship on the spot.
Give yourself ample time to weigh the pro's and con's of the position. If they do offer you a position at the interview, give yourself time to make sure the position is the right one for you.

Close the interview with confidence.
Thank the interviewer for his/her time and ask when you may expect to hear back. The first and last impression you make is critical to the interviewing process.

Follow up the interview with a thank you note.
Take this opportunity to clarify a topic discussed in the interview and to reaffirm your interest in the organization and the job or internship.