As an upcoming freshman at UNC-Chapel Hill, it may seem as if I have the least experience with the outside world. I’ve just turned 18, been branded an adult, and am leaving the comfort of home for the first time to "adult". But, through the several college, scholarship, and job interviews I’ve been through, I’ve definitely learned how to KILL that interview (aka learned what I could improve on).
I’ve learned to see the interview as a medium for the committee/person considering you to see you in action. They want to see how you handle the stress of being in front of them and how well you’d actually fit with the position. All, in all an interview is to show that you aren’t just good on paper but have an edge in person.
Therefore, I have compiled a list of aspects you should pay attention to when going in for your next interview:
- This might’ve been the greatest tip that I’ve ever learned: the HANDSHAKE matters. It has increased my confidence and made the interview itself seem more at ease. A handshake should be firm and short. Please no sweaty palms. IN ADDITION, during the handshake you MUST make eye contact. When I was working with a project leader at General Mills, he told me, “I immediately do not trust a person who shakes my hand without giving a genuine smile and making eye contact.” So, hey that might mean something.
- It may seem vain, but appearances do matter. Not that you have to look like a celebrity or like someone you are not but you HAVE to look put together. When you look good, you feel good and that CONFIDENCE shows.
- Check out this link for ideas: Better-looking interviews
- Be enthusiastic and involved
- Similar to the handshake, your demeanor during the interview is important. Check yourself during the interview to make sure your posture is appropriate, you're making eye contact when being spoken to and aren’t fiddling with your fingers/shaking your legs. Actively listen and take time to form appropriate answers. Neither the interviewer nor you will benefit from a rushed, unformulated response. Take a few seconds after each question to think of how you want to answer then speak. That little time you take makes a complete difference in how you sound and the words you choose.
- Prepare questions/know what you are applying
- One mistake many people make is that when they are offered time to ask questions, they decline the offer. In all honesty, you may not have any questions but having question prepared beforehand show that you have researched what you are applying to and why you may be a good fit. You understand the responsibilities and are genuinely interested in what is going on.
- Finally, remember to practice. You may want to wing an interview to be able to show your true self. But, what if you are asked a question and you forget to mention certain things about yourself or what you’ve done that would’ve shown a different view of you that even you didn't realize. The more you practice, the more comfortable you get with answering questions. You can be better prepared for “curveball” questions that you don’t expect coming from this interview.
Here are some typical interview questions that'd be good to start from:
- Tell me about yourself
- Tell me about a time that you overcame an adversity
- Know a brief explanation for everything on your resume. You want to be able to explain why you became interested and what you gained out of it.
- How will you benefit if you are selected?
- Why should you be selected?
- Strengths/Weaknesses (Always end a weakness on a positive note. “I’m poor at managing my time, however I’m working on it by ________________.”
- In addition, try to think up of questions that may be asked dealing with the specific position you are applying to and have answers that show why you are a good fit.
But, it’s always humbling to remember. There will always be someone better than you. This isn’t meant to bring you down but it’s just helpful to realize that a bad outcome from an interview does not mean that you weren’t good enough. There was just someone else that they were looking for and you should always pick yourself up and try again for the next opportunity that comes your way. Try your best and be your best and you will come out with the satisfaction that you did all that you could possibly have done.
Good luck!! Hope to see you kill your next interview!