Graduating college and preparing for a new chapter in your life is an anxious and nerve-wracking time. Around this time, most college students are worrying about what they can do to perfect a job interview.
A job interview is the first impression you make on a company’s recruiters and is the deciding factor in whether or not they want you on their team. A first impression means a great deal, and it leaves a lasting mark. During this first impression, your job is to convince recruiters that they need your knowledge and expertise in their company. The question is, how do you do that?
By following this simple, five-step plan for preparing for job interviews, you will be able to succeed in any job interview.
The first step of preparing for a job interview is to research the organization. This is important because it will help you answer questions to the best of your abilities, and it will help you stand out from other interviewees who are less prepared.
Another important element in preparing for a job interview is to elaborate on the skills you have that fit the job requirements. If interviewers see that you have skills the organization could use, they will be more likely to hire you. You should come prepared with examples of your previous work that fit the job description.
The next step would be to plan what to wear and what to bring. You do not want to be nervous and rushing right before the interview trying to figure out what to wear or what to bring. For planning what to wear, it is best to wear conservative business attire. Be sure your clothes have no stains or wrinkles and look professional and neat. For planning what to bring to an interview, two of the most important items to have are multiple copies of your résumé and a portfolio of some of your best work. It would also be wise to bring a notepad with a pen, a list of references and any information you may need to fill out applications.
In addition to these steps, another crucial addition to doing well in a job interview is to pay attention to your nonverbal communication. Look ready and prepared while waiting to go into your interview. Do not look bored or as if you are waiting around, because these behaviors will be monitored. You should look confident at all times. Confidence can be shown by smiling, using a firm handshake and establishing eye contact. Another very important aspect of projecting confidence is focusing on your posture during the interview. Do not slouch; sit up straight and look prepared.
Lastly, at the end of the interview, it is critical to have a few questions in mind to ask the interviewer. You should ask questions about information that was not discussed during the interview or ask for more clarification on a subject talked about previously. One thing you should avoid is asking questions that can be found on the company’s website. Remember, you did research on the organization so these questions should not need to be asked.
By following this five-step plan, you should be able to do your best in a job interview. Preparing for job interviews can be highly stressful, but by following this plan, you can reduce that stress level significantly.
By Emily Gay, Publications Committee Member