It’s that time of year when LinkedIn and Handshake become your best friends and when all the networking you’ve done at PRSSA events pays off. Internship season is upon us, and that brings interviews, are you ready?
You haven’t had an interview since high school, last year, month, or maybe had a bad experience at one? No worries! We’re going to give you tips & tricks on how to be you and ace that interview. Interviews are like media pitches and research proposals, it’s all about knowing your client (future employer) and the presentation (the interview).
Step one: the first thing to do after receiving an invitation to interview is to research the organization you’d be meeting with. Find the history, dress style, employees, mission statement and projects underway.
If you’ve researched before the interview, the organization will see you’re serious about their company. Show genuine interest and knowledge of the rich history the company has. Be the potential employee that admires where they work and wants to be part of the team.
Step two: search for “common interview questions” and practice in front of a mirror. I’ve had five interviews so far, and four out of five had the same questions from Google.
You’ll be nervous and anxious during the interview, but it's only natural! That’s why looking up questions and practicing responses helps. Rehearsed memory will take over instead of nerves, and you’ll be able to shoot a quick answer without drawing a blank or stuttering something on the spot.
Step three: pick an outfit carefully. The way you present yourself has the power to end the interview for better or for worse. Wear something professional but try to ditch all black or grey. Whether bright pink pumps, sparkling stud earrings or a casual, bright tie, the goal is to stand out. Color will help the interviewer's memory, remember John with the green tie or Sue with the pink dress.
Also, don’t forget to clean your shoes. If you take the time to put yourself together and look great, then make sure your shoes are clean as well. If you don’t have the right wardrobe, shop for a free outfit at KSU’s Career Closet located at the Women's Center, Business Building and Career Exploration & Development Office. Open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., there's a wide variety of professional clothing waiting to help you dress to impress.
The final tip to help you ace interviews is to be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. Think of it this way. Do you want the internship because you’d like to gain experiences and newfound knowledge, or do you want it just to check a box off your list of credits for college?
Be honest about the good and the bad. Internships aim to help inexperienced students develop skills and learn organically in the field. Be upfront about what you don’t know! They will see the trust you have in the position to help your skills grow.
The worst-case scenario is you don’t get the position. Then, you intern somewhere else that’s a better fit for you.
The bottom line when it comes to interviews is to be prepared and trust yourself, so go and conquer the interview! Apply for any opportunity that wiggles its way into your LinkedIn or Handshake feed this internship season. Best of luck to you!