Interviewing for a job can be a challenging process, but you can avoid the stress and worry by preparing beforehand. College students ready to join the job market can use the tips below to successfully complete an interview.
Interview Preparation Tips
You're ready to wrap up your final semester of college and head out into the job market or maybe you just want a summer job to prepare for your future and make some extra money. Either way, you'll probably need to participate in a job interview to land that position.
Before you head out for that first interview, you'll need to prepare. Here are some basic tips to help you with interviews.
Make your college's career services center the first stop when you start preparing for job interviews. In this office, you'll find advisors who can give you tips on what to wear to an interview, what kinds of questions might be asked and how to prepare. These centers often offer mock interview sessions so you can practice answering questions and get a feel for how your interview will progress.
Extra tip: Career services centers can also provide interview etiquette tips and suggestions for how to end an interview and follow up with the company.
Do Your Research
Before you go into the interview, you'll need to do some research on the company and job. Find out about the company's major products or services and learn how the company is structured. Determine how many employees it has and learn about its history and future objectives. Most of this information can be easily found on the Internet, but you can also seek out alumni who work for the company or look for information through business databases and print media.
Extra tip: Your college career services center can help you with research or may be able to set you up with former students who have experience with the company.
Prepare for Possible Questions
While many interviewers will ask specific questions that relate directly to the job, you'll likely also be asked some general questions that apply to many different situations. Here are some common interview questions you might be
- How has your college experience prepared you for the job market?
- What are your career goals?
- Why did you choose your selected major?
- What are your strengths/weaknesses?
By formulating answers to common questions beforehand, you can show potential employers that you're serious about the interview and job. Plus, preparing for these questions can help you learn to organize your thoughts better and make your responses complete and easy to understand.
Extra tip: College career services centers have lists of questions that you might be asked in interviews. You can also find sample questions online.
During the interview, ask questions. Try to ask good questions that indicate you have done your research about the company and the job. You can also ask general questions about training, continuing education or responsibilities of the job. By asking questions, you're showing the interviewer that you're able to take initiative in a situation, and you're interested in the position.
Extra tip: Formulate some questions beforehand, so you're not struggling to come up with ideas during your interview. Get ideas from online resources or talk to a career counselor at your school.
Confidence can help you win over the interviewer and potentially get you a job. When you walk into the room, you want to look like you feel comfortable in the situation. Start by giving interviewers a firm handshake and be sure to maintain eye contact and speak confidently throughout the interview.
Extra tip: Practice these steps with your roommate or drop in to your career services center to participate in a mock interview.
Before you leave the interview, get business cards or contact info from the interviewers. Follow up right away with a thank you e-mail or letter. You can reaffirm your interest in the position and mention some of the qualities you have that make you a good fit for the job. This is also a good time to ask any questions that you might not have thought of during the interview.
Extra tip: Ask your career counselor for samples of follow-up letters to help you write yours.