So you’ve submitted your resume, your application, and maybe even your transcript. You’ve waited to hear back from your dream company and suddenly you get an email or a phone call from a number you’ve never seen before. Congratulations, you’ve officially made it to the interview phase! Nowadays there are phone interviews, video calls and even one-way computer interviews. Sounds a bit overwhelming, but don’t worry– Her Campus NYU has got you covered with our top tips on how to prepare for your next interview.
#1 Do your research
This is the most important thing you can do no matter what type of interview you’re going into. Look at the company’s website and their social media. If you know who’s interviewing you, take a look at their Linkedin, too. When you go into the interview you should show that you’re interested in working with the company, so you definitely want to know as much about it as possible. Your research will also give you the opportunity to find connections between yourself and the company or the interviewer, which is important for the next step in interview prep.
#2 Interview Yourself
Look up the most common interview questions and then do a google search to see what questions they usually ask candidates. You can use your research from step one to construct answers that flaunt your knowledge of the company and the skills you can bring to the position you’re applying for. It’s like having the answers to a test before you take it and you’ll feel much more confident going into the interview!
#3 Connect with the job description
Building off of step two, try taking a look at the job description again. Look for keywords and skills that the company is seeking and think about how you can connect any of your prior experiences. This is a great way to help you decide what experiences you want to highlight when your interviewer asks the inevitable “tell me about yourself”.
#4 Comfort is Key
Unfortunately, most companies won’t appreciate you walking into an interview wearing sweatpants and a school tee. However, it’s important that you feel comfortable in your outfit. Just like when you’re preparing for a networking event, try to go out for a few hours in your intended interview outfit to see how you feel in it. If you know someone at the company, ask them what people typically wear around the office to get an idea of how formal to be.
#5 Have Questions Ready to Ask
For most of the interview you’ll be answering questions, but at the end there will usually be an opportunity to ask questions as well. Have at least five questions prepared beforehand. You may not get to all of them, but you always want to ask at least one or two to further show your interest in the company. Here are a few examples of questions that you can ask at almost any interview.
With all of that being said, let’s break down the different types of interviews.
This can be one of the most nerve-wracking, but since you’ve done your research beforehand, you’ll be great! Be sure to arrive 10-15 minutes before your interview and bring a copy of your resume, transcript, and other relevant documents like recommendation letters. Make sure to be polite to everyone you meet. You never know who they are or who they know within the company. Also, send a thank you email to your interviewer (this applies to phone and video interviews as well). Wait at least a few hours after the interview to send it, but make sure it’s done within 24 hours of the interview.
Over the Phone
Phone interviews are probably the easiest of the four because you don’t really have to get dressed up and you can look at your notes. To prepare make sure you’re in a place that is relatively quiet and has a good signal. If you do choose to use notes make sure they are just key points you want to touch on in your answers and not a script, because your interviewer may be able to tell if you’re reading instead of speaking in a genuine way.
These interviews are sort of a combination between in-person and phone interviews. Make sure you look polished at least from the waist up (wear pajama pants if you want to just please don’t stand up in front of the camera). Similarly to phone interviews you can use notes, but you have to be a little more strategic about it. Write them down on post-its and stick them onto your laptop screen so you can glance at them without having to look down. Again, make sure you’re not reading because it would be even more obvious with video, but definitely have the notes there if you need them.
Pre-recorded one-way computer interviews are not as common, but more companies are starting to incorporate them into the hiring process. They’re also a bit harder to gauge since you’re pre-recording your answers and you’re not connecting with an actual person. To prepare, find a place with good lighting and test the system before you start the interview to make sure you can be heard. Sometimes there is a time limit with these systems, so be mindful of this when answering the interview questions. It may be better not to use your notes for these since there’s already a lot to manage. Make sure you’re looking into the camera and not at yourself, answer confidently, and be mindful of all instructions as you go through the system.
We hope these tips will help you score your next gig!