Ace Your Interview!

If you haven't landed that dream job or internship yet, don't sweat it! Thinking about what to say during an interview is scary enough, but figuring out what to wear, the nonverbal cues you’re sending, and your overall interview etiquette can be straight-up overwhelming. Read on to learn how to brush up on some basic interview do's and don'ts to make the most of your next opportunity! 

Before your interview try to prepare answers that are standard in most interviews. Some of the questions could be...

  • Why do you want this position? 
  • What do you bring to this position that others don't?
  • In your words, what does this organization do, and what does our mission mean to you?  
  • How have you overcome significant challenges encountered with your previous work? 

They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so when you first walk in the door, let your clothes and confidant smile do the talking. 

When going to an interview be sure to keep your clothing modest; you don't want your clothes to distract from what you're saying. The safest things to wear to an interview are a nice blouse with a pencil skirt or trousers (all clean and wrinkle free of course!) with close toed shoes. 

Let your nonverbal cues speak for themselves. As psychology researcher, Amy Cuddy says in her TED talk, body language affects how others see us and how we feel about ourselves. The way you present yourself when you walk into the interview and during it speak volumes about the type of person you are and how you handle stressful situations (such as interviews).

  • Start with a firm handshake
  • Keep eye contact with whoever you're talking to 
  • Spit out your gum! Interviewers don't want to hear chomping and gum snapping while trying to determine if you could be a good fit for their office
  • Try not to fidget, as it comes off as nervousness. Keep your head held high and maintain good posture. Showcasing your confidence will only give more credibility to your already outstanding qualifications!

Don't forget that interviews aren't just for the employer; you have a stake in this too! Remember to prepare questions to ask your interviewer, not only because it'll help you seem more engaged and prepared, but because it'll give you a better sense of the position and environment you may be committing to. 

  • Research the company/organization and the person you'll be interviewing with. Doing this shows commitment and a proactive nature, not to mention it will help you develop more informed questions. While researching, take note of the things you like about the company and how you could be a good fit for the position and in their environment. 

If after doing your research you're still stumped, here are some sample questions to help you out. 

  • What's the workplace culture like? 
  • How would you describe the team dynamic at your company?
  • Can you tell me about some of the biggest challenges of working at X company?
  • What projects is the company working on that you're particularly excited about? 
  • Is there opportunity for growth in this position? If so, where does it lead? 

Now that you've nailed the interview don't forget to send thank-you notes! Be sure to e-mail your interviewer immediately after, covering highlights of the interview, and expressing your thanks for the time and opportunity they've given you. A few days later, follow-up your e-mail with a handwritten thank-you note. You can never express too much thanks! 

Camels, don't forget that you have the upper hand with the CELS office on your side! Take advantage of the wonderful counselors available to run through mock interviews before the big day and help fine tune your resumes and cover letters to make them shine!