As you might know, I’ve been looking for an internship recently. Of course, that means that I had to go through a lot of interviews (16 y’all!!!). Writing a killer resumé will help you get noticed, but the interview is where you make it or break it. That’s when you take the matter into your own hands and try to convince the employer that they should hire you. After going through so many interviews in such a short period of time, I’ve developed these 10 interview tips that will help you ace just about any interview!
1. Shake the interviewer’s hand confidently.
If you’ve done interviews before, you know that the handshake is one of the most crucial parts of the interview. Why? Because it’s the first impression your future employer is going to get of you! So, when you enter the room, shake the interviewer’s hand confidently, and smile! Make sure your hand is dry (there’s nothing worse than a moist hand), especially if your hands tend to become moist when you’re nervous. Don’t crush the interviewer’s hand, but don’t be too soft either. You want to show that you’re confident without overpowering the person who’s interviewing you. You should also shake their hand once the interview is over.
I’ve mentioned it before, but try to smile throughout the interview. Don’t have a fake smile plastered onto your face throughout the entire interview; be authentic. Smile when you introduce yourself, and smile when you leave. Smiling will make you sound more happy and motivated, which are great qualities to show off! One of my interviewers told me that they liked my energy, and that’s because I smiled a lot! If you have a phone interview, try to smile when you’re talking, even if your employer cannot see you.
3. Don’t hesitate to take your time to answer the question.
It’s okay not to answer a question right away. If you’re asked something tricky and you need a few seconds to think about it, don’t be afraid to take them. I tend to be very quick when I answer questions, and sometimes I don’t even know where I’m headed when I start talking! That makes you look nervous, so don’t hesitate to take a small break to think about it! Also, if you need to pause while you’re talking, do it! It’s better to take a few seconds to think about your answer than just blurt out some nonsense. This makes you seem more thoughtful, and you’ll be more in control of the situation! Your answers will also be more complete and coherent.
4. Sit up straight.
Like it or not, the way you look can influence the interview. Having great posture will make you seem more confident and energetic, so make sure to sit up straight! Even when you have a phone interview, try to sit as if the interviewer was sitting right in front of you. Body language can tell a lot about you, so try to control it as much as you can!
5. Prepare beforehand.
I wrote an entire post about the interview preparation process, so I’m going to go straight to the point. Research the company and the interviewer (if possible) before you head to the interview. Take a look at their website, research what they do, and find out what they’re looking for in an employee. Reread the job or internship offer and try to think of any relevant experience you have (use specific examples!) regarding their requirements in case it comes up in the interview. Try to think of possible questions they could ask, and how you could answer them.
6. Ask questions at the end.
You should also prepare potential questions you can ask the interviewer at the end. They will always ask you if you have any questions for them, so if you have anything to ask, use that time! Asking questions shows that you care. You might think you’re being annoying, but really, it’s only showing that your interested in this position. Here are a few examples of typical questions that work for about any interview:
- What’s a typical day/week at work like?
- Would I be working in a big team or a smaller one?
- Would I be working mostly on my own or in collaboration with other people?
Sometimes the interviewer will cover that kind of information during the interview, so don’t make them repeat that if you don’t have any other questions! Just be truthful and let them know that they covered every question you had. Don’t make the interviewer repeat something for the sake of asking a question!
7. Don’t sell yourself short.
Most interviewers will ask you the dreaded “What are your weaknesses?“ question. That’s a question that we all hate answering, but that you will probably be asked no matter where you apply. In that instance, be honest, but don’t sell yourself short! Show that you know what your weaknesses are (and give an example), but tell them that you are working on it and that you’re trying to become better. No matter what you end up saying, please prettypleasewithacherryontop do not say that you are a perfectionist! I know it’s tempting to use that one because it can also be seen as a positive quality, but, frankly, it’s been overused and employers are used to getting that answer.
8. Don’t lie.
Honestly, that’s a given. But while you don’t want to sell yourself short, you also don’t want to pretend to be someone you’re not. If there’s a question you just don’t know how to answer, or that you simply do not know the answer to, just be honest. The interviewer will appreciate your honesty. Do not exaggerate anything about yourself either. You do not want to seem self-centered and overly confident. Just breathe, and be yourself! Remember that if they called you in for an interview, it’s because they’re already interested!
9. Arrive early.
Try to arrive a bit earlier than your scheduled time, especially if you’re not sure where you’re going, or if there might be traffic. There’s nothing that makes you seem less organized, disoriented, and untrustworthy than arriving late at an interview! Instead, leave a little bit early so you can get there a bit before your interview. Arriving early will also allow you to sit down, breathe, and reread your notes if need be. I’d say 15 minutes is the optimal time. That way, you’re not too early, which can show that you’re nervous and can be a bit awkward, but you’re not too late either. It’s also a good idea to arrive early in case the interviewer is ready to receive you earlier than expected.
10. Thank the interviewer for their time.
That’s probably one of the most important parts! No matter if you have a phone, webcam, or in-person interview, make sure you thank the interviewer for their time before you leave. That shows them that you appreciate the fact that they took some time to meet you and talk to you. Some people also like to send a short thank-you note to the interviewer after the interview. I’ve never done that, but it can be a nice gesture!
Do you have any interview tips to share?