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Interview Tips, Tricks, & Secrets

Today is my big interview! I'm so excited about this opportunity, so please wish me luck! In honor of this, I thought I would share my best interview tips with you all. With three internships under my belt, I've done my fair share of interviews and I would like to think I have a decent grasp on how to handle them! (I don't want to jinx it though!!!) I can talk about myself all day long, so I'm really lucky that interviews don't stress me out too much. However, I know that not everyone feels this way, so I want to share some specific tips that genuinely make a difference for me when it comes down to having a great interview.

First things first when it comes to an interview: know what kind of interview you're having! There are a variety of different "methods" of interviewing that an employer takes to get to know a candidate, and being aware of what kind of interview you're getting into will help you best prepare for that interview!

For example, I have done phone, group, competency (the kind you probably think of), behavioral, case (IMO, the scariest kind!), and situational interviews. I've also been in interviews where I've had to take actual tests in the middle of them! Just being aware of what they might throw at you is an important first step and a key factor in how you go about preparing.

For the most part, first-round interviews aren't too "formatted." From my experience, usually the employer has a few pointed questions, but really just wants to get to know you and your experiences. Of course, there are exceptions to this, and you should always research the company and have a few prepared questions, but just be yourself!

Remember: the company chose to interview you. They're excited to have you, and they wouldn't be interviewing you if they didn't think you had potential!

Ok! Onto my tips!

Do Your Research

This sounds so cliche, but I can't tell you how important this is! Before any interview I've ever had, you can bet I've already scoured the company's entire website and read every news article about them that has been published within the last 6 months to a year. Simply knowing the basics about a company and what they've been up to recently makes such a difference in following along in the interview and asking smart questions at the end. A little trick: just google the company, click "news" and read every relevant article. Take notes, and then use some of this research casually in the interview when you can. 

Of course, you don't want to be spitting out facts during your interview, and you should really only include things that are relevant to make it as natural as possible. But, during an interview, there will usually be an opportunity to make connections between your experiences and something the company has worked on or been involved in, and making that connection really shows that you've done your research. Even just being familiar with the company mission/goals/values can help you in getting a better idea of what they're probably looking for in a candidate.

Refresh Your Memory

Read your own resume!!! Knowing what's on your resume sounds so dumb, but I swear it makes a difference. I didn't realize how important this was until I was in an interview once and I couldn't remember half the things I'd done and therefore couldn't think of good experiences to describe when asked some common questions. 

Going off of that, there are common interview questions that you should always be prepared for. You know, the "tell me about a time when..." or different scenario-based hypotheticals that are designed to catch you off guard. Before an interview, think about those experiences on your resume, and some situations or projects from each one that stood out to you or from which you learned something.

Specifically, here are some questions that I've gotten in the past, and if I hadn't prepared for them, probably would have struggled with:

"Tell me about a time when you were faced with something you could not accomplish on your own and how you went about accomplishing it"

"Tell me about a time when you messed up and how you resolved it, and what it taught you"

*something about describing your weaknesses*

If you're not the kind of person who can come up with responses off the top of your head, you might want to consider a few different questions and actually write down a few notes about your experiences that could help you answer those!

Prepare Questions

BIGGEST TIP: whatever you do, always ask a question at the end of an interview. You could have the best interview ever, but then when the interviewer asks, "do you have any questions for me?", and you say "no I don't think so," immediately your interview is ruined!!! Ok, maybe not ~ruined~, but it's a big red flag if you can't think of anything to ask your interviewer.

 Having a question, no matter how simple, shows that you care about the job, you're curious and interested, and you've been paying attention. 

There are a few questions that I always like to ask at the end of an interview. They're my go-to's, and they've saved me handfuls of times when I didn't really know what else to ask. Here they are:

"What's your favorite part about working at [company]?"

"What is the biggest challenge you've had in this position?" / "What's your favorite project you've gotten to work on?"

"What does the day-to-day look like?" / "What is the company culture like?"

A few more specific ones that I personally ask because they pertain to the jobs I am currently interested in:

"What is the balance like between individual / team-based work?"

"What do growth opportunities look like following this entry-level position?"

In addition to those, I usually prepare one or two questions that are job or company-specific that I am genuinely curious about, or that I grew curious about while researching the company and position. I think a good rule of thumb is to ask one or two "personal" questions about the interviewer's experience at the company, and then one or two about the role you'd be in. Again, you don't want these to be canned questions that seem unnatural, but you want to have a few in the back of your mind in case you literally don't have anything to ask (which totally happens sometimes!). I think 2-4 questions at the end of an interview is perfect!

...and say thank you when you leave :)

Do you have any interview tricks that work for you?!

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