With the end of fall semester, something you can't stop hearing about on campus is internships, jobs, and applications. More importantly, STRESS about all of these things. Not only is finding places to apply near impossible, but there are often many steps in an internship hiring process. Some larger companies now even have video interviews with an online bot before you get a chance to speak to someone from the company. However, once you do get to that coveted final interview stage there are a number of tips I have for you to make sure you can sure you nail the interview and land the job.
Great! You made it to the interview stage! This means the company has found you qualified enough for the position and now want to know what makes you the BEST candidate vs. the other 5, 10, 15 people they’re interviewing that are also as qualified.
1. PLAN YOUR COMMUTE ACCORDINGLY
Especially in NYC, public transportation is not always reliable and giving yourself only 5-10 minutes of wiggle room is a huge risk. Last Spring, I had an interview at my dream internship with a PR company. The night before I had googled their office address, however, 6 months before they had moved offices and it wasn’t updated on Google maps. I ended up sobbing on the phone with my mom, sprinting through the Upper East Side trying to hail a Taxi to get to their new Midtown office location. I made it to the interview with 3 minutes to spare, but now I leave an hour early every time I have an interview or am starting the first day of a new job. If I do get there early, I pop into a coffee shop close by and take that extra time to review information about the company and prepare for interview questions.
2. DRESS THE PART
One of my favorite quotes is “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”
Having a polished and trendy outfit for your interview is so important. A “first impression” is a seven second window upon first meeting someone. Make those seven seconds count. Working for a fashion company, my outfits were often cute dresses, funky pants, bright yellow or pink jackets, and statement pieces. However, my friend interning for a finance company was wearing nice pants suits everyday. Be sure that your outfit reflects the company culture.
One of my hacks is searching the company location tag on Instagram, there often will be photos of employees in the office and you can get a sense of how people in the office are dressing. That being said, if you see a photo of someone wearing jeans for the love of god DO NOT wear jeans to your interview!
When in doubt, it is always better to go overdressed than too casual. Also, go on pinterest and type in “Internship Outfit” for tons of inspo!
This is sort of a weird tip but do not wear perfume to your interview. About 30% of the US population has a fragrance sensitivity so there is a chance your interviewer will.
3. BRING YOUR PAPERWORK
The people interviewing you are likely extremely busy and the odds they kept track of your application papers through the many they received is unlikely. Make sure you bring a printed copy of both your resume and cover letter. I’ve definitely made this mistake of forgetting them and the look recruiter gave me is not the way you ever want to start an interview.
4. DO YOUR RESEARCH
One time the night before an interview, I googled articles of interviews people had conducted with the CEO of the company. In the articles, the CEO mentioned she expected her interns to be wearing dresses or skirts and couldn’t stand if they didn’t wear lipstick. I also found an article from a previous employee who said the company asks the difference between advertising and public relations during every interview. Sure enough they did, and ya girl was prepared.
Google recent articles about the company, the company mission, interviews with employees, and scour the websites “About” page. They will ask you specific questions about the company and expect you to know the answer.
Also make sure you are hyper-aware of the needs the job position. If the application mentions a qualification is knowledge of, for example, Mailchimp (an email blast application), at the very least watch a few youtube tutorials on how to use Mailchimp before your interview. Which leads me to my next tip...
5. FAKE IT TILL’ YOU MAKE IT
This is my biggest tip. Honestly, I’m not sure if I’ve ever been totally qualified for any of the internships that I’ve applied for BUT if you ooze confidence and make it very clear that you’re a quick learner other people will have confidence in you too.
6. ASK SMART QUESTIONS
A big part of your interview is going to be what questions YOU ask the recruiter. If there is something in the job description you were wondering about, it’s always good to ask. Asking smart, engaging questions about the company and position will make you stand out.
7. EMPHASIZE YOUR FLEXIBILITY
Intern life can often translate to being given the tasks no one else in the office wants to do. Everyone goes through it! Make sure in your interview you emphasize your flexibility to do whatever they ask, whenever they ask! The most important thing is that they need an intern who is excited to learn and willing to take on any task.
8. FOLLOW UP!
The day of or day after your interview, make sure you send a thank you note. Email works, but an old fashioned hand written thank you letter will make you stand out and will be much appreciated. I have a cheap and cute set from Target. After the initial follow up, wait at least 2 weeks to follow up again if you haven’t heard anything.
Watch Morgan discuss one of her many jobs in our Facebook video feature.