If you’re trying to get an internship or job, you know that a critical part of the hiring process is the job interview.
Here are three tips for success for job interviews from Nadene Reynolds, Senior Assistant Director for Professional Development and Experience in the University of Florida’s Career Resource Center.
Tip # 1 – Prepare for the interview
Know about the organization. Doing your homework to research the organization is very important, Reynolds said.
One of the first questions that employers often ask is: “What do you know about our organization?” or “Why do you want to work for our business?” If you don’t have an answer that shows that you have actually research the company, you may be eliminated from consideration even if your other answers are good because it’s clear that you aren’t especially interested in this organization.
What experiences prepare you for this position? Ask yourself this question and mentally prepare for providing evidence for why/how you’re qualified for the position.
“There’s no way that a piece of paper can tell me all that you have to offer as a candidate,” Reynolds said. You need to consider how to sell yourself. Don’t just restate what your résumé includes. Apply past job experiences and skills to the job you want.
Take into account the value of what you are learning in the classes you are taking.
“Students underestimate the practical experience they get in class.” Reynolds recommends journaling after each class you take. You can review what skills or experiences you gained from the class. What did you learn? Be critical. What was a challenge? How did you overcome it?
Tip #2 – Practice for the interview
You can’t anticipate every question you’ll be asked, but you can anticipate many of the standard questions.
- Tell me about yourself.
- What experiences have you had that help prepare you for this job?
- Tell me about a time you’ve worked with a team to accomplish a goal.
- What is a strength you have as a potential employee?
- How do you handle conflict or rejection?
Develop answers to those standard questions. Remember to provide specifics to back up generalizations. If you manage your time well, give an example. If you are creative, be able to provide at least one example that you can translate to a job setting.
You can rehearse your answers with the mirror or a friend. Career centers, like UF’s Career Resource Center, provide the opportunity to have a mock interview.
Tip #3 – Be confident
Part of that confidence comes from being prepared to answer questions about yourself. Confidence also comes across in other ways.
“Do not leave an interview without asking questions,” Reynolds said. You should have at lest one question to pose to the recruiter or hiring manager. Otherwise, you don’t seem as interested in the job or confident in terms of seeing yourself in the job.
Make sure questions are appropriate. For example, if the recruiter points out a weakness in your résumé, you could ask about what you could do to make it better. You can ask about the next steps in the interviewing process. But for a first interview, don’t ask about salary or benefits. That topic will come up in a next-level interview.
Reynolds said that the type of questions asked it important, as the types of questions people ask in their interviews can tell her about their values.
Be confident in your responses during the interview and don’t base your responses on the hiring manager’s body language or tone of voice. Reynolds said that she has seen students interview poorly when the interviewer isn’t nodding or providing affirmation. She said that people are different in how they interview. You need to have the confidence not to be dependent on affirmative body language.
Reynolds provided advice on how to answer difficult questions, which will be the topic of a separate blog post.
This blog post is based on a presentation made by Nadene Reynolds in Multimedia Writing (JOU3109) at the University of Florida. Thanks to Nicki Karimipour, a doctoral student and lecture assistant for the course, for compiling notes from the class presentation for this blog post. She’s on Twitter @future_dr_k Thanks also to Rachel Dugard and Gabriella Nicholas for providing photos for this post. Rachel’s photo is the header on the front page of the blog.
You can learn more about UF’s Career Resource Center on Twitter @UFCRC