So it’s that time of the term again, when all the co-op students are applying for their next placement and everyone on campus is nicely dressed. I’d like to think that I can impart a little bit of wisdom on you regarding interview preparation, or at least let you know how I handle these things.
- Really do your research. There’s nothing worse than showing up to an interview without researching the company, or the position even. My job was at a ministry that funds research and my boss told me about one applicant who walked in and started talking about doing research for the government. Whoops. This feels like a no brainer, if you’re interested in the job why wouldn’t you be looking into the company?
- Dress for the part. If anything, err on the side of over-dressed. One of my favourite parts about this whole interview season is that I get to people watch and see what others are wearing to their interviews. What this really means is that I scope out people wearing completely inappropriate outfits for interviews. Tech interviews are one thing, where casual wear is what you’d be wearing to the office anyways and they really just want to see your skills. Every other occasion? Dress to impress. Basically what I’m saying is if your shoes have glitter or are more than 3 inches tall, maybe we wear that to Phil’s and not to an interview. Boys! White socks don’t go with black shoes.
- Prepare anecdotes. My last supervisor was amazing and did an interview help session/critique with me before I left. He told me that I should be wrapping my experiences and skills into a handful of anecdotes to tell at the interview. It makes it easy for the interviewer to follow your resume and easy for you to talk about it. I tested this method out on this round of interviews and I have to say that it’s a much more organic way to describe yourself and your strengths and weaknesses.
- Have actual questions. There is always space left in the interviews for you to ask the interviewer questions that you have about the company or the job. The interviewer wants to know that you have a genuine interest in the company and this really shows them that you want the job. I always want to know how the team dynamic is at the office and whether or not I’d be working on my own or with others. Don’t be afraid to ask about the pay rate. In fact, you’re encouraged to ask because otherwise you’ll potentially be accepting the job blind.
- Don’t overthink things. Even if you want the job desperately, overthinking only leads to nerves which can really affect how you do at interviews. I’ll do my preparation and I’ll look over any notes I make for myself, but what I find to be the most effective way to do well at interviews is to pretend it’s not the job I want the most. It takes the pressure to perform off and I can be more myself.
That’s it, that’s all I’ve got for y’all! It gets easier with time and experience, but I hope this helps you land your next job!