Internship Series Part 5: The Interview and Follow Up

Congratulations! We’ve made to the end of my internship series! If you’re just joining us and missed the previous posts click here for part 1, here for part 2, here for part 3, and here for part 4. If you’ve made it this far in your application process this means that the employer thought highly of your application, so the interview is where you get to show them who you are as a person and why you would be a good fit for the job. So in this post I am going to share how to prepare for the interview, questions to look out for (and how to answer them), and what to do after the interview. Keep reading for more!

Preparing for the interview:

  1. Research the company that you are interviewing at. They might ask you questions about the company, and you don’t want to be stumped. Even if they don’t ask you questions about the company, it’s still a wise idea to do your research because why would you want to work for a company that you don’t know anything about?

-What are the company’s values? Do they match yours?

-What does the company do?

-What trends or areas of growth are happening in the industry?

-Those are a few guiding questions to get you started

 

  1. Get directions to the interview location and print them out. You want to have a physical copy just in case something happens and you are not able to use your phone or GPS device for directions. Also, it might be a good idea to do a test run if you are not familiar with the area, and to make sure there are no road detours.
  2. Pick a professional outfit. Ladies: a navy or black skirt or pants suit with a small heel or flats, and white button down blouse is suitable. Choose minimal, natural looking makeup, and small pieces of jewelry. Men: A navy, or black suit with polished leather shoes, a white button down shirt, and a solid colored tie.
  3. Practice your answers to a few of the interview questions that I will discuss in the next section.

Sample Interview Questions:

  1. “Tell me about yourself” This is one of the most common interview questions that I get asked and it is sometimes the most hardest to answer because it seems so broad and there are a variety of answers you can give. To answer this you want to mention what you can offer the company and why you want to work for them. Something along the lines of this:

“I am a (year in school) majoring in (state major). From my experiences at (previous work experience that is relevant to this job) I have acquired (list skills relevant to the position), and during my time at (list another relevant work experience, but if you do not have another relevant one, stick to one), I (list other relevant work tasks or skills). Your company is looking for someone who (list some of the job description) and I feel that my experiences would make me a good match for your current needs.

Feel free to add on or tweak this to however you see fit.

  1. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? Take a look at the job description and think about which one of your strengths match up with something they are looking for. For example, your biggest strength could be producing music, but if you’re applying for a desk attendant position, that is not relevant. However if they are looking for someone who has good problem solving skills and that is one of your strengths, highlight that. For your weaknesses, you want to choose something that you are trying to make better. Like if you know you aren’t the most organized person, say “My organizational skills are something that I have been working on. I have made a conscious effort to start labeling items and putting things in the correct places”.
  2. “Why should we hire you?” Essentially, they are asking what makes you stand out from other candidates. Think of some unique talents you have, or something that will give you the edge over the other candidates and elaborate on that.
  3. Do you have any questions for me (or us)? This gets asked at the end of every interview and you HAVE to ask a question. Some sample questions to ask are:

-What are some typical tasks for a person in this position?

-What characteristics should one have to thrive at this organization/company?

-What are the next steps in the hiring process? Usually they mention this at the beginning or end of the interview, if not, ask them.

-Any questions that came to mind when you did you company research

Following Up:

*NOTE: The job description might say how/ when you are to follow up.  Some might not contact you unless they want to offer you the position so in that case do not email them asking when you will be notified if you made it.*

After the interview, you want to make sure you send the interviewer a thank you note, thanking them for taking the time to interview you, and mention something (good) that they said that stood out to you.

Shameless Plug: If you need more tips with interviewing and would like to have an over the phone interview with me, please contact me. We can have a 30 minute conversation during which we will have a mock interview, and then I will give you feedback afterwards. I am being trained through my school’s career center so I definitely can help.

 

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