As college students, we are always on the hunt for jobs, and we apply for club positions and internship opportunities regularly. A resumé may prove you're a qualified candidate on paper, but the interview phase determines if you would truly make a good fit in a company, regardless of what your qualifications are. Because interviews can make or break a hiring decision, it can be very easy for an applicant to crash and burn.
1. Write your own questions.
Prepare a few questions prior to the interview, and jot a few more down as the conversation develops. This also shows that you're actively listening. Bringing your own questions to the table shows that you're not there just to 'make it through' the interview, but that you really are interested in becoming a part of the team. Two of my favorite questions to ask during an interview is "What would a typical day be like for someone in this position?" and "What are some upcoming projects (if they haven't mentioned it already)?"
2. Do your research ahead of time.
I can't stress this enough! It's no coincidence that the worst interview of my college career was the one that I didn't prepare well enough for. Nothing is more humiliating than not being able to discuss something about the company you're trying to get a job with. The better you understand the company, the better you will understand the company culture and the context of the interview questions.
3. Practice common interview questions.
"Why do you want to work with us? Why should we hire you? What are your weaknesses?" According to Monster.com, these are three of the most common interview questions you could be asked. Practicing basic questions such as these will give you just the right amount of confidence that interviewers like to see (yes, too much confidence can sink you) and, of course, make you feel less nervous.
4. Dress for success.
Did you know your interviewer judges your appearance in a matter of 7 seconds? There's the generic advice to 'dress for success' in business casual attire, but realistically, there can be different 'dress codes' depending on what kind of job you are trying to get. Use your brain. If you're trying to get a business/analytical/clerical job, keep the suit and tie. If you're hoping for something in a more creative field like advertising or communications, you may be safe to dress it down a bit, but maybe keep the blazer. This is where researching the company's culture would also come in handy!
5. Stay authentic.
Your resumé is what got you the interview, but this is your chance to show that you're so much more than a piece of paper. You could be well-qualified for a position but still get passed over if you come off as too robotic. Just relax and be yourself to show your interviewer what you'd really be like in a work setting.
6. Be careful of what you post on social media! (Yes, they check)
In today's day and age, does it really shock you to know that 93% of employers check your social media before making a final decision? Time (Money) says that some of the '7 deadly sins' of social media includes posting about your political opinions or referencing to sex or drugs. Those are pretty obvious, but they also take spelling/grammar into account as well. If you're worried about your social media presence or don't want to have to filter everything you do, I would recommend keeping an eye on your privacy settings. Set things to private if you think they may be NSFW.
Also consider making duplicate social accounts - this way, you can keep your personal account while also having a page that reflects your 'professional self'. I would especially recommend this for Twitter and Facebook since they are easy to find and manage. For example, I discuss ad campaigns or social trends on my 'professional' Twitter page and directly interact with companies, while there are plenty of puppy videos and wine-fueled live tweets of the VMA's on my personal page.
I hope these job interview tips help of you in the future, or as you're frantically scrambling to prepare for one the night before. Either way, good luck and I wish you the best.