Whether you’re graduating soon or planning on interning this summer, chances are you have some type of job interview in the near future. And it’s no little secret that job interviews can be stressful, complicated, hair-pulling experiences.
But they don’t have to be. This isn’t to say that you’ll begin loving going on interviews, but by being prepared and knowing what you’re getting yourself into you can rest assured knowing that you’re going to give it your best shot.
In case you aren’t exactly an interview guru yet, read on and you’ll learn some value tips to take you from nervous newbie to confident collegiette!
Make sure you do your research
You land an interview, now what? Research, research and research! It’s incredibly important that you make the time to research three things prior to the interview: the industry/career field, the organization and the interviewer.
Overall, knowing the organization is probably the most important, as you can bet you’ll be faced with a “Why do you want to work here?” question. You should be prepared to answer questions about the organization’s products, services or clients—as well as more general knowledge such as when the company was founded, who the president/CEO is, etc. Boston College has a great checklist of sites you should visit when researching an organization.
“I always start my research by visiting the organization’s website and social media,” says Courtney, a senior at the University of Southern California. “I also Google them to see if they have recently been in the news. Looking into these channels allows you to see the sort of public image the organization has versus what they project, and it will give you an idea of the kinds of questions to ask when you go in.”
Next, you should do some general research about the industry or career field. For example, you shouldn’t walk into an interview with an advertising agency without knowing as much as you can about the advertising industry as a whole! To do this, you should Google trade publications, find industry leaders on Twitter or LinkedIn and refer to business publications (such as the Wall Street Journal or AdAge) for the latest news.
When researching your interviewer (if you know who he or she is prior to the interview—which you should), your best bet is to look at LinkedIn or Google the person’s name. The most important things to discover about the interviewer include:
- Their current position at the company and how long they have been there
- Any companies they might have worked at before
- Where they attended college and when
- Their social media profiles (Twitter, LinkedIn, personal blogs, etc.)
Knowing these simple facts can help you build a relationship with your interviewer. Maybe you went to the same school, were in the same sorority or grew up in the same city. This helps to make you appear more prepared and memorable and to make a connection.
How to dress
Besides being uninformed, one of the worst things you can do in an interview is be dressed inappropriately. In most instances—unless you specifically know for certain that a company would want you to dress in a different way—be as conservative as possible! The “Thursday night out dress” should notmake an appearance in the Tuesday morning interview!
So how should you dress? Alison Doyle from About.com suggests the following guidelines for interview attire:
- Solid color, conservative suit
- Coordinated blouse
- Moderate shoes
- Limited jewelry
- Neat, professional hairstyle
- Tan or light hosiery
- Sparse make-up & perfume
- Manicured nails
Seem a little stiff? It might be. And it certainly does not apply to every industry. If you’re interviewing for a clothing company or magazine, it might be better to take some risks (such as noticeable heels or a bright, stylish blazer). But—even in the corporate world—there are certainly some ways you can make the look younger.
Preparing for an interview might require some shopping if you don’t already have an appropriate outfit, but it will be worth it when you land the job!