You walk into an interview room thinking you’re ready.
Then, things start not going your way.
Interviewers start firing questions at you so much that you become nervous and stumble. Or even worse? They don’t seem interested in what you’re saying at all.
Then, your nerve and anxiety overshadow your skills and abilities, and eventually, you come off as inexperienced, confused and not right for them.
Many well-qualified candidates lose out on the offer they could’ve pursued just because they’re not well-prepared.
Although there is no way to predict what your upcoming interview is going to look like, you can be prepared to the best of your ability.
This way, you will feel less anxious and more confident to positively present yourself. So, we’ve gathered 9 interview tips for you that you need to know before going to your first interview.
You probably don’t want to ruin your interview just because you have forgotten to bring important documents.
There’s a checklist for that. Also, don’t forget to bring a copy of your resume and other references in case you may be asked for!
Some companies may also ask you to fill out their application forms or require a formal picture of you.
Even if it is a video-call interview, it is good to have all the needed documents beside you.
If you have those on your laptop, you should organize them in the same folder so you know where they are and won’t spend time searching through your hundred files while you’re having the interview.
Most importantly, you may also want to get these 8 points below checked, too!
You should always do research on the company so you won’t show up not knowing anything about them.
Go through the company’s website, learn more about what they do and their position in the industry as well as follow them on social media to see what they are currently working on.
This will give you not only a glimpse of the company culture but also what to highlight in your answers.
You can always read the company’s “About Us” section to find out about their goals and visions.
Likewise, you can also learn from your network by talking to someone who works for the company or knows about it.
The more you show that you’ve made an effort to know the company better and put in the research, the more impressive and outstanding you will seem.
You interviewers will see how serious you are about the job and they like a person like that.
It is also helpful for you to know the company’s flaws and their competitors.
No companies are perfect; in fact, every company has to constantly develop in order to rise to the top of the competitive market.
The development includes problem-solving.
So, if you can point out the areas that the company needs to improve and come up with the solutions, this will put you in a perspective of the company and allow the interviewer to picture you working there already.
At the same time, you should know who the company’s competitors are.
After you’ve done the research on the company you’re applying for, spare little time to know the company’s competitors as well as their strengths and weaknesses.
By making a comparison with other companies, you will be able to see the position of the company in the industry, and this will help generate ideas on what the company should work on or improve.
Additionally, it is better to prepare a proper presentation because it will show not only your professionalism but also how determined you are to work for the company.
Your role in the interview is to convince the interviewer why you are pitch-perfect for this job.
So, think about a few key selling points in mind, such as skills that can help develop your career or your previous accomplishments that are related to the work.
Then, elaborate more on each of your selling points with specific examples.
This means that you will be able to spend the first 10-15 minutes of the interview to “sell” yourself as the right intern for the job.
Also, don’t forget to show your interest in that job you want.
It doesn’t matter how good you are. If the interviewer thinks you’re not really interested in the job, he or she won't give you an offer!
Most interviews start with a question, “Tell me a little bit about yourself.”
This question may sound simple, yet many people fail to answer it properly.
So, how should you respond? First of all, you need to know that the interviewer isn’t asking what your favorite ice-cream is or how many dogs you have at home although those are about yourself.
In fact, the interviewer is trying to learn about you and know what kind of intern you will be.
Are you an adaptable person? Are you enthusiastic or are you likeable? Here comes the chance for you to show that you are the right fit for the position.
You can also check out Kathryn’s Present-Past-Future formula for answering “Tell me about yourself” question.
Be prepared for questions like “Why should we hire you?” “Where do you see yourself in five years?” or “What do you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses?”
There is no such a fixed response as there are different approaches to these questions.
Yet, it is better if you can get comfortable with these common interview questions beforehand so you won’t end up being too nervous and blow the interview.
In addition, support your answer with some specific examples that highlight your successes and uniqueness as well as avoid telling your flaws.
Instead, you should tell how you can overcome them.
Read more on Most Commonly Asked Interview Questions and answers.
Apart from those common interview questions, it’s also possible that the interviewer might ask you some tricky questions to trip you up and see how you would respond.
Don’t be intimidated. The interviewer just wants to get a better idea of your background and personality, your communication skills as well as an accurate sense of your candidacy.
Check out an overview of the most popular tricky interview questions and suggestions on how to respond to them as well as what you should never say in a job interview.
A well-prepared interviewee sees these questions as an opportunity to present him or herself in a certain way.
So, equip yourself with tactics for answers and turn the challenge into your best advantage.
When the interview comes to a close, the interviewer might ask if you have any questions.
Or, even if he or she doesn’t, don’t be hesitant to ask them questions so that you won’t miss the chance to find out valuable information.
Remember that your questions should demonstrate your knowledge and interest in the company or job.
This way, the interviewer will know that you are really interested in working there, and it also helps you decide whether or not this company is right for you.
Although it is important not to sound too scripted for an interview, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to make a preparation for it.
The way you respond to questions is as important as what your answers are.
Well, imagine answering the same thing but you make it sound in a more confident and convincing way.
Here, Sarah Landrum provides some tips to sound confident that would be very helpful for an interview.
So, after you go over those critical points mentioned above, now it’s time rehearse.
You may also want to focus on your body language because most interviewers usually pay attention to your gesture and eye contact as well.
In other words, you want to present yourself as a self-assured person.
The best way to practice this is perhaps to conduct a mock interview.
Get your friends to act as interviewers and ask for feedback.
Likewise, many people find it helpful to record themselves or to practice in front of the mirror.
Then, study your posture and gesture as well as focus on avoiding filler words like “um” and “ah.”
The more you practice, the more comfortable you will become with the interview.
However, remember that you don’t want to sound overly rehearsed for the job interview; you’re not there to test your memorization skill.
Instead, try to go with the flow while focusing on your selling points.
At the same time, keep in mind that no matter how well you’ve prepared yourself for the interview, difficulties and unexpected things could possibly strike you at any time.
Yet, the point of knowing these interview tips and making a preparation is for you to get the idea of what your own interview may be like so that you know how to handle the unexpected intelligently and professionally.
Last but not least, remember that even if you get rejected, it doesn’t always mean that you aren’t good enough.
There are many other factors that are out of your control.
Perhaps, the interviewer might think you wouldn’t fit their corporate culture even though you’re academically overqualified.
Or, it’s just not the right time for you yet.
Whatever the reasons are, make sure that you do your best in what you can so you have no regret looking back. Well, good luck with your interview!