So You Think That You Can Interview

Along with a lot of other college students, I’m on the job hunt and I don’t know what I dread more – the never-ending questions on the application or the interview process. It dawned on me that nobody really knows what to expect from an interview. You can prepare as many questions as you want and have the perfect resume and cover letter, but you still get nervous and you still don’t know what’s going to happen.

Granted up until now, I’ve only ever had part times jobs, but those too have interviews. My weirdest interview was for a college bookstore here in Charlotte and they asked the questions, “If you were an animal, what would you be and why?” and “If you could be any color crayon, what would you be and why?” Still to this day, I don’t know how those helped them narrow down candidates to hire to help customers find their textbooks, but somehow my answers got me the job!

While applying for more “adult” jobs such as internships, I’ve become aware of human resource based questions. During an interview, you are selling yourself and making this company want you. You lay out all the previous jobs you’ve had that make you the best contestant. You brag about all the projects you’ve done that make you seem desirable. You even make up a few adjectives to describe yourself and make you seem more appealing than your usual Netflix and pizza loving self. You want to be wanted.

For starters, research the job position to no end. When you walk into an interview, you want to *own* it. Find friends in a similar job position, a hiring coach, even ask Google questions about the job and the specific interview process. Never – and I mean never – just nod your head the whole way through an interview. That is bad on so many levels. Honestly, interviews aren’t that exciting, to begin with, and just sitting through it doesn’t help you out much on getting hired. Let the employer go through their spiel and then ASK QUESTIONS. You want to make yourself seem as interested and enthusiastic about the position as possible. You also want to know what’s in store if you are asked to come back for another interview or even get hired.

Next, you *definitely* want to get paid. Money is great. One of my favorite quotes is, “Whoever said money doesn’t buy happiness simply has never been to Target.” I stand by that 100%. Anyway, this is America and this is the twenty-first century and unfortunately, money makes the world go around. After your interview, they’ll give you a starting salary [quote]. Never settle and never sell yourself short. You negotiate those benefits and you add another zero or two. Know your worth. Nowadays, companies are hiring people (college kids) for nothing and getting away with it because they don’t know to negotiate their salary up. Especially if you are selling a service like most marketers are. Believe in your product and price.

Finally, you should have a staple statement to conclude the interview. These employers that are interviewing you are doing you the ultimate favor of giving you a job, so thank them!! You should and *need* to thank them for their time and consideration. Chances are, you aren’t the only person that applied and is interviewing for this job opening, so you want to stand out right before you leave. You need a practiced line that really sticks with your (hopefully) future employer. Something along the lines of why you are the perfect/must have/we need you person to hire. With that being said, don’t get cocky, but be confident in your ability to fulfill the job description.

Interviews shouldn’t be as scary as they are, but guess what? That’s just how it is. I think they are intimidating because it’s all go with the flow and on the spot. If you aren’t that type of person [much like myself], you get nervous. Looking back, I’ve never had a bad interview and I’m sure most of you haven’t either. You need to apply for the right jobs for your qualifications, go into the interview prepared, and most importantly, be yourself.

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