Things to Know About Interviews

I decided to add up the total number of interviews I have been on in 2014 so far and the number is quite high. Between January and November of this year I have been on 66 interviews, series of interviews for the same company are counted separately. Out of these 66, I have been fortunate enough to be offered 59 of these positions. You'll notice, so far I've been with two companies as an intern, possibly adding a third different company come next January. The reason behind my many offers lies with how well the interview went.

Interviews are for you to make an impression with your personality on your possible future employers. They can read through your resume, which you have most likely worded in such a way to stand out, and your letter of interest or cover letter to get the basics of who you are on paper. The interview is for you to sell yourself with your personality, to make a lasting good impression, and for you to see if the company is also all you have thought it to be. You never want to take an internship or job at a company where the culture and staff make you feel uncomfortable!

How do I make the right impression? 

This is something every person asks at one point or another. The art of shaping a great interview is one that comes with practice. It helps to be confident in who you are and your abilities. Another key factor is to do your research on the company before you walk into that interview. Believe me when I say it is more than acceptable to creep on the person who is bringing you in for an interview's LinkedIn page to get a sense of who you are dealing with. It is always a good idea to read through the company's website and all their social channels. 

A great interviewee knows how to speak. I cannot express it enough how important it is to be prepared to speak about yourself. Many questions or comments that come up in an interview include: Telll me about yourself, why do you want to intern for us, what can you bring to this company, what interested you about this company, tell me about what you did at your previous position. You have to be ready to elaborate on what you've done in the past, on who you are, on your journey to this point, and even your background in life. Be truthful and humble, never lie about something because it will come to haunt you later. Be personable, have a smile and energy. If you were interviewing yourself, would you want to hire someone who is boring and lacks a spark of personality? The correct answer is no. You have to show you want to be there and make them remember your name once you walk out of their office.

How do I practice? 

I mentioned being ready to speak so that usually entails practicing. I know you are probably thinking, "How do I practice?" Practicing is not nearly as complicated or hard as you might think. There are standard questions every interviewer asks. The standard questions include what I previously mentioned: "Why do you want to intern for us?", "What can you bring to this company?", "What interested you about this company?", and "Can you elaborate on your previous experience?" 

You can sit with one of your friends, parents, or advisor and have them ask you these questions. This set up will force you to speak and allow for feedback from those you trust. Granted, you should think about how to answer these questions before you ask anyone to mock interview you. There will always be curve ball questions that you cannot really prepare for like: "If you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?" or "What is the most important thing to do on social media?" The only way to be prepared for questions such as these is to really take a few moments to gather your thoughts before answering. They realize these are curve ball questions and will allow you a bit of time to consider the way you want to answer.

Can you give some sample answers to these questions?

Yes, of course. Remember that my sample answers are based on my personality, my style of speaking, and my usually my chosen field. However, feel free to draw on my sample answers for some inspiration. 

Why do you want to intern for us?

While I was researching PR firms in the NYC Metro area, your firm's name came up. Your firm sparked my interest due to several factors including: The clientele, the organization's social channel feeds, the size, and the company's specialties. I really feel that, through the research I have completed, your firm is a place where I can not only grow and learn, but also where I can be comfortable and enjoy coming to. 

What can you bring to this company?

I can bring my work ethic, willingness to learn, and my previous social media experience. I've worked with  SEO, Google Analytics, and multiple social media platforms including: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter. To add to this, I've also been an integral part of creating a social media calendar and strategy. While I don't have skills in traditional media pitching, I do have blogger relations experience and realize the value of bloggers. 

What is the most important thing to do on social media?

I think there are a few major things which are important to do on social media to do it "right." 
1. Realize who your target market is. You have to understand who you are trying to reach and from there you can tweet or reblog or what have you to interest those specific people or companies. 
2. Engage! No one wants to constantly see promotional tweets from you so engage your followers. Have interesting content about whatever your focus is, perhaps talking about your day at work rather than trying to sell something.
3. Do not spam! Tweeting, pinning, or reblogging regularly is wonderful but do not tweet ten times in fifteen minutes. Nobody likes to be spammed! 
4. Be honest and humble. Never put out something you do not agree with because it is a reflection of who you are. If you don't like what Kate Spade tweeted about, do not retweet it, just pass over it. If you loved what the New York Times article said about the college cost then quote tweet it and add your thoughts or retweet it. Honesty is the best policy. 

How do I feel make myself feel comfortable?

It is not your job to make yourself feel comfortable, but is that of the interviewer! If the interviewer is making you feel awkward or unwanted, consider not interning there. The company has taken an interest in you and should be willing to make you feel at ease in order for you to show who you are outside of the resume and cover letter you sent them. They see some kind of potential to bring you in and this is what you need to remember. Feeling nervous is okay, many people do! In fact, the person who is interviewing you was in your exact spot not too long ago. Most of my interview experiences are great ones because the one or two people interviewing me go out of their way to make me feel comfortable. I have had a few instances where the interviewers were on the snobby side, cutting me off with a wave of the hand or not even giving me a chance to respond to their question. It is safe to say, I turned those few places down. Never, ever settle for somewhere just because! 

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