Interviewing; hear from an expert

The idea of interviewing typically carries a heavy and dreadful weight on the shoulders of people everywhere--especially for college students who are competing with not only their own classmates, but adults from all over the country and in some cases even from around the globe for the same jobs.

So wouldn't it be nice if you could know the key to land any position you will ever interview for? There isn’t one-- every job is different in one way or another, but luckily, there are some tips that you can apply to any interview to ensure the elevation of your resume in their pile, and hopefully a call back as well.

Eric Minor, a networking, internship, and job specialist at West Virginia Universities Reed College of Media sat down with me on Tuesday to share some of his best interviewing tips and hacks. He states that the most common interview mistake he sees is a lack of preparation. This preparation can come in may forms: first, you need to start your interview on your own time and do research on the company/organization and job description you are applying for. You do not want to be sitting in your interview barely knowing what you will be doing if you do get hired.

Second, Minor says that you should always be ready to answer questions illustrated towards your top three stories. By this he means to have at least three stories ready to tell of times where you had a problem, you developed a plan and took action, and how the issue was resolved. If you can, try to tie these back into your top strengths--or even to your weaknesses as long as you do not come off in a negative manner. Minor also says it is important to “nerd out,” simply meaning to have depth in your conversations and show that you are passionate about the job and the company you are applying for.

In terms of appearing professional in a place that you may not feel all that pro at anything, Minor says to try and dress maturely. Know the workplace you are competing to get into and how the people there dress, so when you go into your interview you can dress accordingly. If the women in the office are strictly wearing skirt or pant suits, then wearing khakis or jeans will probably reflect poorly on your first impression.

No matter what you are applying for or how nervous you may be, you have to be confident in your own abilities. Minor says to demonstrate your education and your in-depth understanding of the subjects you have studied and the job you are applying for. He says you need to show that you are serious about the position and prove to the company that you belong there. You are trying to show the people conducting your interview that you are not only the right person for the job but could somehow make the company better itself and grow even further.

Finally, know what makes you unique from other people and focus on highlighting your positive aspects and greatest strengths. Do not be afraid to tell (appropriate) stories during your interview even if they are not monumental; draw a relation between these stories and the job you are up for. Also make sure to take the time to plan a route to the interview location, see how long it will take, and add twenty minutes as a safety net in case of traffic or an emergency. Above all else, Eric Minor says one of the worst things you can do to yourself is try to be someone you are not. Do not lose yourself in trying to be the perfect ‘interviewee.’ The night before your interview, lay out all the information you have prepared and make sure you are composed enough that you will not be sitting there without an answer to a question. You got this!