Like many other college students, recent graduates, and interns around the country, Sam, Minette, and I are developing perhaps the most important set of skills we need as young people new to the professional world: The ability to interview well for a job.
One’s ability to interview well is crucial for his or her success in job placement. Everyone has the time to design a resume that looks impressive and highlights his or her qualifications for a job, but an interview is your opportunity to make a personal connection with your interviewer and convince him that he or she would enjoy working with you.
For a lot of people, interviewing well is a skill that doesn’t come automatically. Often times, the best way to become good at it is by practicing. I can tell you from my own personal experience that it took a few bad interviews to finally feel like I knew what I was doing. But once you practice and develop these skills, your first good interview will feel refreshing and will only improve your confidence going forward.
We’ve asked Bravo employees for their advice and below are our tips for successful interviewing:
Topper Ray, President, Communications: Be honest, be direct, and try to communicate what you truly believe to be your personal value proposition for the job/organization succinctly, and without over-playing your experience.
Bill Miller, Senior Director: Don’t assume that the people interviewing you will have a copy of your resume. Bring copies of your resume, references, and writing samples.
Danielle Gross, Senior Account Executive: says to always follow-up with some form of thank-you to the interviewer and be unique in doing so: A Harrisburg public relations professional told me that when she’s interviewing for a job, she keeps a stack of blank emails in her car. So when the interview’s over, she can write out a Thank You note while the experience is still fresh in her memory. And here’s the genius part: When she’s done writing it, she brings the thank you note back in to the office to hand-deliver it to the receptionist.
Anna Idler, Account Coordinator: Always come with several questions prepared, whether they are questions regarding the company itself, or what the interviewer likes best about his/her job, etc. The interviewer wants to see that the person they are speaking with is engaged in the process and was interested enough in the position to come with detailed, thoughtful questions for discussion during the interview.
Rhett Hintze, COO & Technology and Procurement Practice Lead: 1) Have good posture and avoid awkward physical ticks (e.g., nail biting, hair-playing, etc.); 2) Have thought through some business-related questions for the interviewer if they provide an opportunity to ask (e.g., what is expected in the first 2-3 months; what business/operational objectives is the manager focuses on and how do they envision you involved in that effort; how does the company evaluate employees). These will also help you determine if their culture is a fit and will be enjoyable for you; 3) Understand how to discuss what has been difficult to do and what you learned from that; 4) Be likeable and have some good stories to explain what is listed on your resume. Stories and impressions stick, not resume text; 5) Do not be negative about anyone or anything that’s brought up—Turn those experiences into positive/growing stories;6) Research the company and proactively think through how your strengths and experience could be of value; 7) Follow up with a hand-written thank you note that is genuine in its content.
Jennifer Riley, Senior Director: Bring copies of your resume. Do your homework: Do some research and craft some questions to ask about the firm and their work.
Chris Getman, Director: Take your time when responding to questions and avoid “filling dead air” in responses with um, like, and similar words. It can give the perception of lack of interest and preparation for an interview.
Lauren Manelius, Account Executive: Relax, and don’t be afraid to take the time to think about your answers. Silence is better than a bunch of “ums” and “uhs.” While the silence may seem like a long time to you, for the interviewer it will just be a thoughtful pause.
Sam Arcieri, Wayne Intern: I always try to know my resume like the back of my hand. It’s easier to talk about your experiences (and sound natural) without having to stare at the piece of paper. I also always try to get to the point when I’m talking about past internships or work experiences, etc.
Will Dodds, Pittsburgh Intern: You not only want to memorize your resume so that you can talk about your previous employment experiences, but you also want to think of specific instances that occurred during your previous employment from which you benefited or overcame an obstacle. A lot of companies use behavioral interview techniques, where an interviewer will ask you to talk about a time during which you disagreed with a co-worker, for example, and how you overcame this obstacle, so that he or she can use your answer to predict how you might behave with their organization.
Minette Wilson, Harrisburg Intern: 1) Make sure you research the company and look up some of the key players on LinkedIn to see where their skill sets lie. It’ll help you find a commonality among members of the company; 2) Bring napkin in case your palms sweat; 3) Go to the bathroom beforehand, take a few deep breaths, and say some self-affirmation quotes to yourself in the mirror. It’ll calm your nerves and distract your mind.
Picture Credit: http://www.thegradstudentway.com