By now, you have read two other comprehensive blogs on interviewing. You have your best outfit picked out and you have plenty of interview examples ready to go. You’ve read about the best course of action if you make a mistake in an interview. You may have even had a mock interview at your local Career Development Center. The time is coming and you are feeling pretty confident, yet you still want to check out the blog one final time and make sure that you got all of the information. Well today I will discuss with you the final three pieces of interviewing that will take you to the next level.
#1 – Weave your narrative
Often, when people think about their interview, they think of it in cold hard facts. It should be just about what kind of tasks you have done, or what things you have produced. While it is true that you need to talk about your accomplishments, you also need to remember that as an interviewee, you are a storyteller. You might wonder what story you are telling.
Your story! Who you are, your personality, your drive, your passion, your goals, everything! Take some time and think about what kind of impression you want to leave and what personality and work traits are most important to highlight to the employer. Are you interested in being seen as hard-working or willing to take on any task? Re-check your interview examples and see if they help highlight these traits. Try to drive these points home. An employer is only going to remember a few things about you and you have to decide what those are.
You can use your top 3 skills or qualities as a guide. Make sure that when you speak and tell your story, that it reinforces the message that you want to convey about who you are. It can be hard for an employer to remember 15 different examples that highlight 15 different skills. Yet, you can change that view by spending a moment to remind them the overarching skills and traits that make you who you are and a valuable asset to the company.
#2 – Be genuine, yet professional
When interviewing, it is important to be genuine with those who are interviewing you. They are interested in what you bring to the table, but also what kind of person they are inviting to be a part of their team. If you try to tell fake stories that do not let your real personality shine, then you are doing a disservice to yourself and your future employer. Nobody wants to hire a robot, because otherwise they would just build one. So, make sure that your interview examples feel true to who you are, while also double-checking that they aren’t unprofessional.
For example, you might have had a very rough conflict with a classmate who tested your patience on project. You might have thought they were lazy, you hated them, and confronted them about it. When talking to the employer, you don’t have to make it seem like every group project went amazing. Instead, talk about how you felt that one member of your group was particularly challenging and how you resolved the situation by being brave and directly speaking with that person. You don’t have to demean the other person or give in-depth thoughts about how you didn’t like them. You can instead speak to how you have the ability to take a challenge head-on and are not afraid to speak up when necessary. It’s still true to how you are.
#3 – Relax and be confident!
Finally, it is important to leave you with the note that you should relax. Take a breath. When you are relaxed in the interview, it will put everyone else at ease. Sure, you might really want this job, but remember that you got the interview. This employer WANTS to talk to YOU. You have value to add and something unique to bring to the organization. If you keep in mind that you have something to offer, then you can more easily remain calm and remember that the pressure is not all about you. The interview is a two-way process.
So, that is it for our blogs about interviewing this semester! I hope that you were able to take something away from this experience and feel better about your upcoming interviews.
Good luck future employee!!
– Josh Foss, Graduate Student, Career Development Center