Whether you’re a recent college grad, or a fresh-eyed internship seeker, these tips will help you succeed at any job interview, and set you apart from other candidates.
Do your research before you get there.
This cannot be stressed enough. Investigating what the company is all about as well as what the job description requires is crucial to your success, and can really set you apart from other candidates.
Since someone told me this tip, I’ve abided by it faithfully, and gotten all four of the jobs I’ve applied to since then. It really works. At one of the jobs, the interviewer asked me what I thought the goals and purpose of the company should be. Based on my research, I explained what the purpose of the company was (in my thoughts) and what they strive to do. She smiled and said “I think you could have written our mission statement better than we did!” It pays to do your legwork and come into the interview prepared.
Show, don’t tell
You’ve probably heard this one from your writing professor, but it applies here as well. When you’re applying for a job, most people probably have similar qualifications. And anyone could say “I have experience with Photoshop” or whatever the case may be.
You should go above and beyond by getting specific. Instead of saying “I have experience with Photoshop,” say “My internship at Company Z helped me learn the ins and outs of Photoshop, and eventually I was put in charge of designing the brochures for the end-of-summer fundraising gala.” If you can bring examples of your work, (in this case, the brochure) then that’s an even better way to make yourself stand out.
I find it especially helpful to write down the requirements or qualifications that they’re seeking in one column, and a detailed explanation of why you fulfill that requirement in another column. If the interviewer allows it, you can even bring these notes with you.
Have some questions prepared
At the end of the interview, when the employee asks if you have any questions, do your best to have one or two. Ask about what the company culture is like, how others in your position have succeeded, or even what your interviewer likes best about working there. It demonstrates a genuine interest in the position and shows that you aren’t afraid to ask questions. Be sure that you don’t ask something that was clearly covered in the interview (but if you have clarifying questions about a previous topic, then now is the time to ask them!) If the interview was so in-depth that you truly don’t have any questions, then tell them so by saying “I had a few questions about the use of Excel as it relates to the position, but you were very clear in your explanation. Thank you.”
This seems like an obvious one, but sometimes there is confusion over what’s appropriate. You should wear something you’re comfortable in that looks appropriate for the business world. When in doubt, wear something slightly nicer than what you think is necessary. Even if it’s a relatively casual company, it’s still important to put your best foot forward in the interview and show that you’re willing to put in the effort.