Recruiting season for college juniors and seniors is in full swing. So how can you be successful and make a good impression during information sessions and interviews to ultimately land that internship or full-time offer? Getting the interview is the first step in the door. Here is a simple five-step process that will ensure you make a good first impression and are successful during the interview process.
Step 1: Before the interview research the company and position.
When you are offered an interview after submitting your application, you should research the company in depth, as well as the position you are interested in. It is important to be prepared to answer and ask questions about the company’s mission, leadership, history, goals, and core operations. Showing that you have taken time to research the company will definitely impress the interviewer.
Step 2: Dress for the job you want.
You should ALWAYS dress business professional. Sometimes college students might think they will be overdressed if they are applying for a casual company, such as a public relations firm or a technology company. Although these industries can sometimes be more casual, it is important to show the interviewer that you are serious and ready for business. Typical business professional attire for a female includes a skirt or pantsuit with a white blouse or button-down and low to medium closed-toe black pumps. It is important that you stick to neutral colors for business professional, such as black and white. If you choose to wear a dress, you should include a blazer as well and wear neutral pantyhose to complete your professional look. Always avoid excessive jewelry or too much perfume.
Step 3: Know how to expand your resume and prepare for situational questions.
In most interviews, the interviewer will start with “Tell me something about you.” In this case, you should be able to summarize your resume and highlight several important experiences that relate to the position you have applied for. It is also important to be able to share new information that is not included on your resume so that the employer learns something new about you. In addition to resume questions, you must prepare for situational interview questions. These are most common in first-round interviews because the employer wants to get a sense of how you work with others and how you react to being placed in uncomfortable situations. Here is a great source for some common situational questions during interviews.
Step 4: Ask 4-5 questions about the company or position.
It is critical to ask at least four questions during your interview. Prepare several questions prior to being interviewed. When the employer asks if you have any questions, it is appropriate to pull out your list of questions as a reference. If you do not ask questions, the interviewer may assume you are not very interested in the position or that you did not do your research.
Step 5: Follow up with a thank you note or email.
After you finish the interview, always say “thank you for your time” and follow up with a handwritten thank you note or an email. Make sure you ask for interviewer’s card so you have the proper contact information. A note that is handwritten is more personal and increases the chances the employer will remember you, since the note is tangible.
Finally, remember to smile, be confident, and be yourself.