I think it’s fair for me to assume that everyone gets nervous when it comes to interviews. Even if it’s not for a Senior Executive or high-level position, interviews are definitely intimidating. I also believe that when it comes to an internship – something most students need to graduate – the level of nervousness can skyrocket.
There’s no cure-all for your nervous jitters pre-interview, but there are some things that you can do to prepare for your interview.
- Research the company you’re interviewing with. Don’t walk into that interview with no prior knowledge of the company that you’re striving to work for. It’s unprofessional and it will come out if certain questions are asked. I’m not saying you have to conduct extensive research for days on end – I’m just saying to know what the company does when it was established, what it does and who it services. Kind of a “who, what, when, where, why?” scenario.
- Look up the people who will be interviewing you. Building off tip number one, research is key. If you know the names of the people who will be interviewing you prior to the interview, look them up. Research them on LinkedIn. Get a feel for who they are as a person. Are they someone you think you would work well with? I did this prior to my last interview and my interviewers were very impressed that I had a sense of their past work experience.
- Come prepared. Punctuality is crucial in this situation. It’s your first opportunity to make an in-person impression on your potential employers. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination and allow wiggle room for traffic. Additionally, make sure you have a copy (or multiple copies if you know there will be more than one person interviewing you) of your resume and cover letter. Also, bring a pen and a notebook. This conveys the message that you’re prepared and driven.
- Dress the part. I know some people say that your appearance doesn’t matter as long as they like your personality. Even if the interviewer isn’t directly focusing on your appearance, your clothing choices and personal hygiene do make a lasting impression on them.
- Be yourself. Perhaps the most important advice that I can ever give – never pretend to be someone you’re not. Even if it’s only a semester long internship that you’re attempting to secure, being genuine is paramount to the success of your job/internship. Nobody wants to put on a façade to please their employers – it’s simply too much work.
I strongly believe that there’s no way to be 100 percent prepared for an interview. You never know what they might ask you. You have to think on your feet and be receptive to any information they throw your way. The bottom line? Don’t stress too much about it. The more you think about it, the more nervous you’ll be when it comes time for the actual interview.
Take a deep breath. Go in. Be yourself, and you’ll do great.
Courtney Schultz is a Senior majoring in Public Relations. Courtney serves as a member of EMU PRSSA and will be graduating in April. Contact Courtney on Twitter @cschulPR