Job Interview Prep Tips: College Edition

in General

Whether you’re interviewing for an internship or your first post-graduation job, prep work is key if you want to stand out from the candidate pack. It’s especially critical considering that 33 percent of bosses say they know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether they will hire the candidate.

Use these interview prep tips to help make a hire-me impression.

Do your homework.

Get the inside scoop by researching the company for which you’re interviewing. Start by scoping out its website, LinkedIn page, and Glassdoor profile, as well as related news articles. Visiting social platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, is also an effective way to learn more about the employer’s culture and how it interacts with clients.

If the business is in a competitive space, like technology, you may want to get up-to-date on industry news and what the company’s competitors are doing.

Prepare an elevator speech.

This is a 30-second pitch that you would theoretically give if you stepped into an elevator with a company bigwig and he or she asked who you were. Typically, an elevator pitch is used during networking events, but it can be a powerful tool for interviews, too. Use it to answer opening questions like “Tell us about yourself.”

In an article for Forbes, career coach Nancy Collamer wrote that an effective elevator pitch answers three questions:

  1. Who you are
  2. What you do
  3. Why you’re the ideal candidate

Practice interview answers.

This is one of the most important interview prep tips. You don’t want to sound like a robot spitting out canned answers during the job interview, but practicing your answers to common interview questions will help you remember key points and help you sound (and feel!) more confident.

The best way to practice is to enlist a friend, family member, or classmate to conduct a mock interview. If possible, partner with someone who has experience interviewing job candidates or a person with experience in the industry in which you’re interviewing.

Plan to take extra resumes and portfolio samples.

You’ve likely already submitted a resume, but it’s wise to take extra copies to the interview. Plan to bring one for each interviewer, plus at least one or two additional copies in case there are more interviewers than you’d expected.

When you’re interviewing for a creative position, like writing or design, take extra copies of your best portfolio pieces, too, even if you submitted them digitally during the application process.

Do extra prep if the interview will be held over the phone or web.

Print a copy of your resume as well as notes about key points you’d like to convey. This prevents you from wasting time by digging or clicking for documents to find information during the interview.

Part of prepping for a web-based interview includes understanding the platform (such as Skype) you’ll be using. If you’re not familiar with it, do a test call beforehand so you’re not fumbling with buttons or web cams while the interview is in progress.

Set yourself up for success.

Interview prep tips aren’t the only way to set yourself up for a successful college or post-college career. If you need a way to pay for your education, apply for an interest-free loan. Lancaster Dollars for Higher Learning helps county residents attend accredited colleges and technical schools across the country (and even some in Canada) by providing zero-interest student loans. Get the facts about this uncommon opportunity here.