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Top Tips for a Good Interview

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The office doorbell rang, and I answered the door. It was a young college student (aren’t they all young?) applying for a summer website internship position. He introduced himself in a calm matter and I offered him a seat while I informed my boss of his arrival. I admired him for his calmness and for the many meetings he will have in the future. Being interviewed can be scary and if you are unaware of what to do or not to do…read on.

Our company hired this great applicant but some of the others who didn’t make the cut made the mistake of making these DON’T statements:

  1. I don’t handle stress well.
  2. I don’t really want to do web development; I want to develop apps.
  3. I don’t know what I want to do after graduation.
  4. I don’t multi-task well and I procrastinate.

These applicants forgot the simple fact that an internship is still an investment of time for the employer, not just the employee and you work for them, not them for you. An employer wants someone who will do what it takes to get the job done with a smile.

As scary as an interview maybe it is also an opportunity to see if it may be suitable for you. Are the employer and employees a right fit for you or your personality? Is the position what you were expecting? Will it give you a chance to grow? My first interview out of college gave me insight when it began like this:

 “Okay,” the interviewer began. He turned off the lights and turned on a spotlight above me. “Don’t feel nervous,” he said with a bit of seriousness, “We are just going to ask you a few questions.” Then he chuckled a little, turned on the lights and said, “Just kidding. We are trying to lighten the mood a little. You’re fine.” Talk about terrifying.

In later years I’ve become a part of the interviewer side and became more aware of the DOs and DON’Ts required to help land a position. These would be:

  1. Don’t talk negatively about your current employer. It gives the impression that you will easily find fault in others and makes one wonder if you will be happy anywhere?
  2. Do come prepared. Do your research on the company beforehand. Check out their website thoroughly.
  3. Do show up on time or even a little early in a presentable matter. Dress nicely. The image you project has great impact on the interviewer’s decision.
  4. Don’t sit until you are asked to and when you do, try to sit comfortably, and do not fidget.
  5. Do answer questions well. Take in what they are saying and ask questions. Asking questions shows interest.
  6. Do offer them a second resume at the end of the interview, thank them for their time and follow up later to show you are interested in the position and working there soon.

As our agency went through this recent internship hire, it was obvious who had interview experience (or had at least done role-playing), and who hadn’t.

Before you meet for an interview remember the 4 Bs of interviewing: Be prepared. Be patient. Be calm. Be ready!

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