Whether you’re looking for an internship or a job, developing your interview skills is an absolute must for any and all students.
It Takes Two to Tango
Walking into an interview, we mistakenly believe the other person to be the only one looking for the ideal candidate. After all, they are the one doing the searching. This mentality immediately puts the interviewee, that’s you, in a submissive position. The other person has something you want. This is where you are wrong.
In reality, both the interviewee and the interviewer play an active role in determining the best fit for the role. Yes they want to quiz you and see if you would be a good match for the job, but is the job a good match for you? Think about it, if you walk into an interview and your potential boss is extremely rude from the very beginning – would you really want to be his/her Executive Assistant? If you answered yes, yo you lying.
And if you want the job or the internship simply for the money, not that there’s anything wrong with that because facts, please remember that desperation can be smelled from a mile away. So tone down the flattery, be honest and respectful – and give it your best shot.
Do Some Research for Yourself
I’m not saying to memorize a bunch of intel on the organization and, when you see an opening, regurgitate all that info on the interviewer’s lap. Conducting your own research on the company culture, reading Glassdoor reviews from current or ex-employees, and looking up the average salary of someone in that role with similar credentials/experience as you will let you know what you’re walking into. This not only gives you a solid foundation that you can build upon during the interview, but it also helps determine if you would actually enjoy working in that environment.
Engaging in a Genuine Talk With the Interviewer
If you truly understand what the company stands for and what kind of people work there – you can have a legit, down to earth talk with the person in front of you. You will in turn be less shy, less afraid and less prone to fake your personality because of a magical thing called familiarity. In the article the Familiarity Principle of Attraction, the author confirms that:
“Studies have shown that we are all attracted to what is familiar to us, and that repeated exposure to certain people will increase our attraction toward them. This is a subconscious process that we’re not even aware of or have any awareness of making such a choice. We are attracted to familiar people because we consider them to be safe and unlikely to cause harm.”
Let’s link everything together! By doing the background research you engage in repeated exposure to the company and the feeling of possibly working there, thus making it more familiar. If it is familiar, you will more easily build a connection with the interviewer because you will feel safe and therefore be more at ease during the meeting.
Display Your Skills With Captivating Stories
What is your biggest strength? What is your greatest weakness? Tell me about yourself.
The style in which you answer these common interview questions matters tremendously. Don’t copy and paste what you’ve already written down in your CV or cover letter (they’ve been there and read that); and don’t start throwing around keywords you think the employer might want to hear because they’ve heard those a million times – doesn’t make you special.
What I want you to practice and truly master is the art of storytelling. Instead of saying that you are a pro at conflict management – give a short example of a situation you were in where you resolved an argument between colleagues. You can even use metaphors or help paint a picture by saying something along the lines of: my past employers would describe me as the super glue of the organization because I kept all the department together.
5. Charm & Engage
Excuse Me, Your Truth is Showing
Here’s the deal, if you get called for an interview – it usually means that you have all the hard skills (or close to all) required to do a good job. During an interview, what the interviewer is really looking for is to see if you’re a nice person to work with. The majority of the questions they throw at you are more so intended to see your reaction, your demeanor, and your natural state of being; as opposed to watching you blurt out the correct answer.
All I’m saying is that you should focus more on how you respond to questions instead of what you actually say. Look at it this way, if you practice selling your potential answers then even if you get nervous and blurt out something you shouldn’t have said – you can get away with small mistakes if you package them right. If you are charismatic, funny, respectful and honest you can even make laziness sound good.