By: Sabrina Antcliff (@sabrina_mayre)
Interviewing is stressful, follow these ten tips to find success while starting your next journey:
Dress for success.
Depending on the company, this may look slightly different. However, speaking for our APR world, dress business formal when walking into an interview. Don’t be afraid to express yourself in your style, but keep it professional.
Know the mission, vision, and values.
Make sure to research the mission, vision, and values of the company you’re applying for. It doesn’t matter the size, location or clientele, they will want you to know what the pillars of their company are. Usually, these are posted directly on the companies website and should not take long to review.
While you’re Googling….
Look up interview questions that have been asked for your position. Oftentimes, your position isn’t going to be the only position in the world like it. While you’re already digging for information before your interview, see if you can find the questions you might be asked! Healthcare, nonprofit, agency, corporation…. they all are going to have a different angle on what they will ask you. It helps immensely if you can prepare by having an idea of what’s already being asked by interviewers out there.
Know your plan.
No matter the interview, it seems hard to escape the question about “five years from now….” So know what you want in the future, tailor it to the company if it’s fitting and appropriate, and nail down what you’re going to say for this.
Have questions prepared.
Do not leave an interviewer high and dry; come to the interview with forethought questions. They will ask if you have questions for them, and you should be ready. There isn’t a magical number of questions to ask. Judge that on how the conversation is going. You could ask about the culture of the workplace, if they feel that others are supportive, if you need to bring your own laptop, or deeper inquiries that are of significance to you. This could be the place that you spend most of your time in the very near future; ensure that you want to be there by asking the right questions.
Look over your resume.
Take a thorough look over your resume before walking into an interview. Make sure you know it like the back of your hand. Also, be sure to include and exclude things that may be relevant to the particular position you’re applying for. Experience in customer service, working with children, and volunteer opportunities are all examples of things you can tailor for each application.
Have samples of your work on-hand.
Whether they ask for it or not, do not walk into your interview without samples of your work in hard copy and on a flash drive. If they ask to see more of your portfolio, then you will be prepared. And if you can pull out your portfolio and integrate it into the conversation, well, your interviewers will be impressed.
Find someone you trust who you consider an expert interviewee and practice what you would say during the real interview with them. This is where everything comes together. Work in the mission and vision from tip two in your answers, have a well-thought-out answer to where you want to be five years from now, make the most of your portfolio, and have your questions pulled up from tip three. Treat your practice like the real thing…it’s okay to stumble through this one. Integrating all of these elements can be awkward at first, but that’s why you need to practice–and practice with someone who is good at interviewing/has done it a lot/ interviews others.
Be 15 minutes early.
Aim to show up 15 minutes before your set interview time. This allows for things to go wrong and you not to be late, or things to go right and gives you a chance to breathe. Also, this ensures that the interviewer is not waiting for you to start if they are ahead of schedule and provides a good example of your time management.
Treat everyone at the workplace with respect.
If you’re not doing this already, we need to talk. However, this is still a valuable tip. Be extra nice to every single person at the workplace, from the doorman to the receptionist to your interviewer. This is not suggesting that you put on a show or be fake, just a reminder that no matter how nervous/excited/frazzled you are, as an interviewee, you are being watched.
Bonus: Mapping the ETA of the location is great, but it’s even better if you can drive by to familiarize yourself prior to the interview. Physically drive to the interview location around the same time your interview will be. Traffic is always unpredictable so allot more time even still. If you’re extra early, you can sit in your car and look over your information, do breathing exercises, or check your hair. You can work with early, you can’t take back being late.
These tips are here to ultimately ease your worries and set you up for success while interviewing. Following the ten tips will hopefully provide some peace and confidence when walking into an interview. Remember your worth and let your personality shine!
Sabrina is in year six of six for her undergraduate education. The last four years have been wonderfully spent here at Grand Valley State University where she will graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Sabrina is majoring in Graphic design and minoring in Advertising and Public Relations. She has been the Vice President of PRSSA and CEO of GrandPR since 2016. Sabrina is a natural leader, people pleaser and friend to all. You can find her, alongside every other millennial, bouncing from coffee shop to coffee shop while working on homework, freelance work, and PRSSA and GrandPR work.