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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Co-Op Interviews

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Drexel chapter.

The Co-op Program is one of the things that make Drexel unique. But how do you navigate through a job interview when you may have little to no relevant work experience? As helpful as the Co-op 101 class is, there are some lessons I learned that weren’t taught to me in a classroom. Here are five things I wish I had known before I went to my first interview.


1. Co-ops are supposed to be mutually beneficial for yourself and the employer.

While this point may seem obvious, as a young adult it’s easy to doubt yourself and what you bring to the table. A lack of confidence shouldn’t prevent you from communicating to the interviewer what you’re looking to get out of this experience. If your goal is to sit in on meetings or attend company-sponsored professional development events, then that should be a part of the conversation with the employer early on. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and look elsewhere if the company you’re interviewing with is unable to provide it.


2. Prepare your answers ahead of time.

Keep a list of common interview questions saved on your computer. The night before any interview, go through the list and think about what you’re going to say if you get asked one of the questions. This doesn’t mean that you have to memorize your answers but if you get asked about a time when you had to resolve a conflict in a group, thinking about what story you’re going to tell ahead of time reduces nerves and makes you sound more confident when speaking.  It also gives you the opportunity to analyze the job description so your story relates to some of the qualities they’re looking for in an employee.


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3. Personality tests are a great reference.

Thanks to Co-op 101, Drexel students already have an idea of what some of the most common interview questions are. Coming up with answers to those questions when you don’t have relevant work experience, however, can be challenging. If you’re having trouble trying to figure out what you’re greatest strengths and weaknesses are, personality tests can help give you a list of adjectives that describe you. Reading articles about your Myers-Briggs personality type, your Enneagram results, and even your zodiac sign, can give you a starting point when trying to think of answers to common questions.


4. Show your personality in interviews.

Employers aren’t just hiring you because you know how well you can work Excel or do work in a chemistry lab. They want to hire someone who they’d actually enjoy spending time around. How well a candidate fits into the company culture is something hiring managers look at. If the office loves to joke around and you seem humorless during your interview that could send a signal to your interviewer that you’ll have trouble fitting in. The more outwardly nervous you are the harder it’ll be to display your personality. Luckily, the more practice you have doing interviews, the easier it’ll be to act naturally. Check out this TED Talk by Amy Cuddy for some tips on how to use your body language to your advantage.


5. Thank you emails aren’t actually required… but it doesn’t hurt to send one anyway.

Most Drexel faculty will emphasize to you the importance of sending a thank you email within 24-hours of your interview. To be honest, I’ve received job offers from companies that I didn’t send a thank you email to BUT that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t send them ever. For some hiring managers, when making the choice between two qualified candidates with comparable experiences little things like a thank you email can be the difference between getting the co-op of your dreams and the co-op of your nightmares.


Your interviewing skills are something that get better with time and as you progress through your careers. You’ll find that preparing for them gets easier, so try not to stress out about them! For every ten people who aren’t willing to hire you there will be one person who is. Best of luck Collegiates!

Sarah is a Marketing and Technology & Innovation Management major from Brooklyn, NY. In her free time she enjoys reading lifestyle/fashion/beauty blogs and literature, trying to get her life together, watching Netflix, and spending an unhealthy amount of time on social media. 
Her Campus Drexel contributor.