Tips and Tricks for a Successful Interview

As a senior in college, I have exactly four months left before I graduate. And I’ve got a lot to do in four months. I have to start thinking about my future, apply for jobs, and, of course, do a lot of interviews.

Having had multiple jobs throughout high school and college, and having to apply to get different positions in my sorority and other campus clubs, I’ve done my fair share of interviews. Here are my favorite tips and tricks that I’ve collected along the way to prepare for any interview.

One of the first things that I recommend is making sure you confirm what format the interview will be presented in. For example, people performing the interview could say things as vague as, “I’ll call you,” “that time sounds perfect, talk to you then,” “does an interview at 2:00 p.m. sounds good to you?”

When phrases such as those present themselves the next step you would want to take is asking questions such as, “Will it be over the phone or over FaceTime?” Taking this extra step will eliminate the possibility of confusion, and help you figure out exactly what you need to wear. Obviously, if the interview is over FaceTime, you will want to dress up from head to toe in proper attire (paying more attention to your torso and up). However, I do recommend dressing up even if the interview is just over the phone. I feel that adding that extra step of dressing up helps make the interview feel more real and helps boost my confidence. Dress for success.

When researching, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration. The second tip that I live by, is to not only do research on the company that’s interviewing you, but if possible, do research on the individual who’s interviewing you as well. You should also pay attention to any recent accomplishments that the company has had. For example, if you’re interviewing for a journalism position at a newspaper and that newspaper received an award for one of their stories, mention that.

Another thing to take note of are keywords that are mentioned on the company's website and in their mission statement. If the company has words such as, “hard worker,” “fast learner,” and “independent” used on their website and in their mission statement, those are words that you should repeat back to the person who is interviewing you. Chances are, the fact that those words are mentioned twice is not a coincidence. They’re probably key qualities that the company wants their employees to have. By doing your research and finding out what those keys words are and reciting them back to the interviewer, it will set you apart from other candidates who are vying for the same job.

Lastly, my most crucial tip is to perform a mock interview. Get a friend, parent, roommate, or a significant other to help you with this. To get the most out of this practice, you need to treat this mock interview as though it’s the real deal. Actually get the person who is helping you to call you and go through the entire interview from the moment you pick up the phone to the moment you hang it up. Furthermore, to get a feel for how serious the actual interview will be, if you mess up on the mock interview don’t giggle, laugh or tell the person helping you to stop. You won’t be able to laugh or stop during the real interview, so keep going. By making the mock interview just as hard and serious as the real interview is sure to be, you will be much more prepared. If possible, have the person who’s helping you with the mock interview ask you random questions. The point of this is that you won’t know what questions to expect or what order they’ll come in. By practicing and preparing for random and unexpected questions, you’ll be as prepared as possible for your job interview.

With a little hard work and preparation, you’ll interview will run smoothly. If by chance, things don’t go as well as you hoped, don’t get discouraged. It’s just one job out of many, and every interview you have will help prepare you for the next. Good luck!