The lost art of the interview

interviewThis week has been a full one for me. On top of midterms, papers and work I’ve been interviewing for co-op jobs.

This is the time of the year I find most stressful because finding a job will determine where I end up in the summer. I’ve already blabbed on about how important I think co-op is, so I won’t bore you guys again by reiterating my article, A Night for Networking. However, I thought I’d give some tips I’ve found useful in the past for acing the interview and getting the job.

schoolboy with open book on white background. Isolated 3D image1. Do the research

Before any interview, whether it’s a volunteer position or full-time job, I research the organization’s history and current practices.

Even if they go with the STAR approach (Situation, Task, Action and Result), it looks impressive if you know relevant information about the company you could slip into the responses.

keywords2. Review the posting

Look at the position before the interview and pull out keywords that you can use in response to questions.

If there is a research element to a position, write down your past research experience from class or a recent position, and make sure you mention the word research in your response.

getlotsofsleep3. Get a good night’s sleep

The night before an interview, after researching the company, put all your notes away and go to bed!

Getting a good night sleep will help with having a clear head. You’ll be able to answer questions easily if you aren’t sleep deprived and red-eyed from staying up late staring at a computer screen.

makeeyecontact4. Shake hands and make eye contact

Everyone gets nervous during interviews. If you are one of the rare people on earth who doesn’t then could you please share your secret with me? The truth is, the majority of people are nervous during interviews.

Interviewers know that people get nervous, so it’s important to keep that in mind when your face is going red, or you start to stutter a response. Take a deep breath and keep going. Don’t let your nerves get the best of you.

When you walk into an interview, or if it’s over Skype, be sure to have good eye contact with the interviewers. Shake their hand confidently, and appear as calm as you can. It’s okay to be nervous, but keep it at a level that you can control. I find making small jokes with the interviews helps relax me, and the atmosphere doesn’t feel as heavy afterwards.

starapproach5. Respond to questions using the STAR approach: Situation, Task, Action and Result

Interviewers love hearing how you basically saved the company by seeing the problem, completing tasks to fix the problem with the result of the company being saved! YAY you. As corny as I’m making it sound, it looks awesome to have the complete response to a question.

With these 5 tips, I’m sure you’ll kill your interviews. The Coop and Career Services website has great interview resources, I’ve also found it helpful to attend interview and resume seminars, which take place in the McPherson Library almost every day.

Happy interviewing! Don’t be nervous!

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2 Responses

  1. Ariel says:

    Wow! So glad to have some great tips, it certainly relieves some stress!