5 Interview Essentials to Get That Job

Hey, collegiettes. It's me, Melissa, a soon-to-be college graduate who is just as scared as you are about getting a job. The job market these days is so brutal that it’s difficult for anyone to get a job. Whether you’re an engineering major, science major, ag major, or, like me, a humanities major, no one major is guaranteed jobs after college.

The good news is that you can prepare yourself to get a job after college. How? Experience through jobs and/or internships is your best bet. But, first, you have to land the interview. That's where I come in. Over my four years here at UCD, I have interviewed for jobs and interviews, and have actually even conducted interviews myself at my current job. So, while I am not all-knowing by any means, I have acquired some do's and don'ts. Read on to hear some of the interviewing tips that I’ve learned alone the way.

1. Be confident.

I can't stress enough how important this is. As an interviewee, having confidence in yourself, your abilities, and your answers is key. This can be extremely difficult for people to learn, too, because interviews are scary. What I've learned, though, is that if I go into an interview not caring about the position (or at least convincing myself that I don't care), I feel so much more relaxed and at ease. And when you're at ease in an interview, you look and feel confident. Just remind yourself that if you don't get the position, it's not the end of the world; or, find something, anything about the job or company that you'd be less-than-thrilled about.

2. Anticipate interview questions beforehand.

Laziness is one of the most off-putting aspects of a person, especially to an interviewer. While it's impossible to know exactly what they'll ask, at least go over in your head some basic interview questions to help prepare yourself ("What has been my biggest influence?" "Can I describe how my past experience has prepared me for this job?" etc.). This also helps you seem confident and put-together. If you know how to answer questions without a lot of "umm" and "uhh" sounds, it'll be so much easier on you and your interviewer. 

3. Remind yourself that the company needs you as much as you need them.

Although it doesn't seem like it when you're a college student struggling for a job or internship, getting a job is not a one-way street in terms of needing the other person. Always remember that you are an asset to the company just like the job would be an asset to you. So, when answering questions for the interviewer, be proud of your accomplishments and show the interviewer how much of an asset you are (because you are accomplished!). Brag a bit. And, when asking the interviewer questions at the end of the interview, be sure to ask questions that you’re genuinely interested in for your own sake (i.e. "What's your favorite part of working for ____?"). You might as well figure out why you'd love to work for them in the meantime. 

4. Remember these logistical points.

Always bring in a copy of your resume (in my experience, they've always asked me for one and, when I first didn't know that this was common practice, it was a bit awkward). Also, always write your interviewer a thank-you email thanking them for the interview and reiterating the skills that you have. I actually didn't know that this was commonplace until this year, so learn this skill sooner rather than later. 

5. Always dress well.

While every company is different, it's always a good idea to dress business casual (for women, slacks or a knee-length skirt, a nice shirt, and perhaps a blazer) for interviews. And, if you end up being a bit overdressed, don't worry about it. It's never wrong to overdress for an interview. What is wrong is coming to an interview in a jacket and sweatpants (which I, for one, have actually seen and found it extremely off-putting). Don't do that. Ever. No matter what the company culture is on a daily basis, your interview is about you making a great first impression. 

Good luck on any and all interviews that you have!

Cover image source: Pexels, Tim Gouw