by Ally Gozum
Do you have interviews for summer jobs or internships coming up? Interviews can be both nerve-racking and exciting, but there are ways to overcome these feelings and put your best foot forward in front of the interviewers.
The excitement of working with your dream employer can sometimes be overwhelming when you realize that you must interview with them first to get the job. On average, about 118 people apply for a single job posting. Luckily, interviews will help you demonstrate why you stand out and what makes you unique from the other applicants. They are a great way to establish who you are and what you have to offer to the employer.
Before an Interview
To establish a strong connection with the interviewer, it is important to research the company and understand their key values as well as their goals. By having a great understanding about the company, you can discover how your background and previous experiences can make you a great fit for the position with them.
Next, reread the job description for the position you are interviewing for. Take note of specific skills and required qualifications that the employer is looking for in their candidates. Try aligning your own experiences, accomplishments, and strengths with these skills and requirements that are listed in the description and practice your responses to common questions. When practicing, focus on emphasizing your experiences that match the job description.
During an Interview
The STAR method can be a helpful technique when answering interview questions. This method offers a straightforward and effective format for your responses to common behavioral questions. Common behavioral questions usually start off with:
- “Give me an example of…”
- “Tell me about a time when you…”
- “Have you ever…” Remembering to use the STAR method for your response can allow you to compellingly share your story. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Situation: When responding to a situational question, paint a clear image in the interviewer’s head of the situation that you are conveying. This is the perfect time to set the scene.
Task: At this part in your response, provide the specific responsibilities, goals, and objectives of your experience. Demonstrate to the interviewer where you can fit in.
Action: At this point, the interviewer has a strong feel for what your role was in your story, but now it’s important to explain the steps you took or what you did to solve the problem, reach your goal, or maintain objectives. Establish your contribution to the solution or goal and be specific about the actions you took.
Result: It’s important to share how your actions created a positive outcome. This can be considered your time to shine and share the results with your interviewer. The result of the story you share should have a positive outcome, even if you are talking about a time when you failed or faced hardships, end the story on a high note by explaining new things you learned from the experience or steps you took to grow as an individual.
Towards the end of the interview, there may be enough time for you to ask questions. Always have 3-5 great questions in mind to ask the interviewer at the end. Asking questions is a great opportunity to form a strong connection with the employer by getting to learn more about them. It is also a way to inform yourself about the position and how you may fit in the work culture and environment.
After an Interview
About 91% of employers like receiving follow-up emails after the interview. Send a thank you email to the people who interviewed with you. This can help refresh your name in the mind of the interviewers. Sending a thank you email can also demonstrate that you are truly interested in the position and feel enthusiastic about it.
Interviews can sometimes feel nerve-racking, overwhelming, and exciting all at once but with practice, preparation, and time, you can land your dream job. We hope these tips can help you prepare for any upcoming interviews.