As the summer draws to a close, a new semester approaches with new opportunities. Whether you’re starting your professional career, searching for an internship or gaining a leadership position, you’ll want to nail every interview you walk into. After a year of practicing myself, below are the best tips I have picked up for interviewing.
Before the interview:
Schedule a mock interview.
Whether it’s through a program at your school, with an adviser or with a PR mentor you trust, planning a mock interview will help relieve some of your pre-interview worries.
Research the company.
Knowing about the company you are interviewing with is a great way to start a conversation at an interview. Research the company’s recent initiatives and campaigns to learn more about its values and understand the work it does.
Network, network, network.
Getting to know people within the organization you are interviewing for can help you gauge the organization’s environment and work style. Reach out to current employees on LinkedIn or at job fairs.
Prepare your best samples.
It’s always a good idea to keep your portfolio updated with your best work samples. Make sure you have three to five of your best samples prepared to share with your interviewers.
During the interview:
Turn off your notifications.
It’s best to keep your digital distractions to a minimum. If the interview is in-person, turn off your phone. If it’s online, open your computer’s notification settings and silence all email and chat notifications.
If the company you’re interviewing with wanted to hire a robot, they would build it themselves. Your interviewers are interested in you, make an effort to form a genuine human connection by talking about your involvements and hobbies when appropriate.
Take your time.
If you get asked a question and you’re not sure how to answer, ask for a moment to collect your thoughts. Taking a minute to breathe or asking the interviewer to repeat the question demonstrates you are placing value in your answer.
After the interview:
Write a thank you note.
Sending a handwritten thank you note shows your interviewers that you are grateful for their time and consideration. If the role you are interviewing for is remote or there is no physical location to mail a note to, consider using canva to design a fun thank you graphic or write a thoughtful email.
If over two weeks have passed since your interview, it may be helpful to reach out to your interviewers and ask if their hiring timeline has changed. Following up will show them that you are still interested in the position, and it can relieve your own worries as well.
Using these tips, you can put a plan in place to rock your next interview. Just remember to prepare for the interview, remain present throughout and say thank you afterwards.
Rachel Bednarz is a senior studying integrative public relations and Spanish at Central Michigan University. She is president of CMU’s PRSSA Chapter and involved with the on-campus firm PR Central. In her free time, she enjoys drinking coffee and crocheting. Connect with Rachel on LinkedIn.