Recruitment season is fast approaching and with the winter break just around the corner, there is no better time to brush up on your interview skills and prepare to secure that summer internship opportunity.
SHOW SOME PERSONALITY
Of course, professionalism is key in any interview situation. However, it’s common for strong candidates to get too wrapped up in worrying about creating a professional impression that they end up hiding some of the best parts of their personality. Keep in mind that many recruiters are often spending many hours a day interviewing candidates, often for the same position. They’re asking the same questions and getting relatively similar answers. The least you can do to make their day a little better, is add some life back into it. Smile, try to relax, and comment where you can to create a two-way dialogue, and show that you’re not just waiting for the next question to be asked.
The worst that could happen? For some reason, the recruiter wanted to hire a robot rather than a human. Chances are, you wouldn’t want to work in that sort of environment anyways. Being as candid as possible ensures that you not only get hired for a position you enjoy, but that you’re hired to work on a team that you’ll truly enjoy interacting with on a daily basis.
DON’T SELL YOURSELF SHORT
Never downplay your accomplishments! So what if you don’t have any “real” experience in the field you’re applying in? You have other experiences that have taught you all of the skills you need to learn how to succeed elsewhere.
The worst thing you can do is neglect the skills and experiences you gained from things like part time customer service jobs, student groups, and even group projects at school. It can be difficult to imagine how those experiences would apply to a corporate internship, but not to worry – many recruiters are simply looking for someone with enough confidence in themselves to learn how. Your job is to believe in yourself enough for both you and the recruiter sitting across the table.
LISTEN TO A CONFIDENCE BOOSTING PLAYLIST
Everyone needs a playlist that makes them feel like the main character of a blockbuster movie about the corporate world. Whether you’re on your way to your in person interview, or getting “half” ready for a Zoom interview, this is the perfect time to listen to songs that make you feel happy and confident.
Going into your interview in the best possible mood and the greatest amount of energy possible will ensure that you’re able to show off the best version of yourself and build a connection while you’re at it.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
Be prepared – try and think about what kinds of specific questions you may be asked and practice answering them. It may help to write down your answers in point form and practice saying them outloud. This ensures that your answers not only sound good, but that they also have substance to them and fill in all the necessary blanks for the recruiter.
REVIEW THE JOB DESCRIPTION, APPLY IT TO YOURSELF
Again, in order to be as prepared as possible, think about the specific job description for the position you are applying for. How does it apply to you? What experiences do you have that you’ll be able to apply? While having the perfect answer ready to traditional interview questions is important, it’s important to think about how you can tailor your answers to the specific position you’re interviewing for.
For example, when faced with the staple “Tell me about yourself”, if you’re a Law and Business major interviewing at a marketing agency for a marketing position, you can talk about how much you’ve enjoyed your marketing classes that you’ve taken on the side, and how you’d consider pursuing a career in advertising law sometime in the future.
IF YOU CAN, KNOW YOUR INTERVIEWER
Put those research skills to the test! We live in a world where almost anyone can be found on social media, especially LinkedIn. If you know who will be interviewing you ahead of time, make sure to review their profile and see if you have any common interests. You can also sometimes tell a little bit about their personality in advance by the kinds of experiences they’ve had in the past, and the mindset they’ve described them from.
The more you can connect with the person you’re interviewing with, the more likely it is that they’ll be able to imagine you joining their organization.
As mentioned earlier, the recruiter is likely conducting many interviews back to back and hearing many of the same answers. The more unique stories you can incorporate into your answers, the better. First off, using a story to answer a question automatically provides an example of how you’ve applied the skill you’ve been asked about, and will help the interviewer remember your answer in particular when making the final decision. It also keeps the interviewer engaged and builds rapport with them on a personal level.
Give the recruiter a break and steer the conversation away from a typical question and answer structure by giving it a more human-like feel and talking about real life situations. Who knows, you may even connect with them while you’re at it if you shared a common experience.
SPEAK SLIGHTLY SLOWER
One of the biggest signs of nervousness is speaking too quickly. In order to make sure you’re coming across as being cool, calm and collected, try and slow down your rate of speech a little. Even if it feels unnatural in the moment, you’ll sound more confident in what you’re saying and you’ll decrease the chances of tripping over your words.
It’s also important to remember that it’s always better to take a pause and think about what you’re going to say next, rather than inserting an “um” as a placeholder. Taking a pause between words or sentences shows thoughtfulness, care and consideration.
On behalf of TRMC, we wish you the best of luck with this upcoming recruitment season.