While working in the Interview Center, some of our interns have gleaned some helpful hints about things that make a difference in the interview but that students may not initially consider.
First, avoid expressing limitations or reluctance. Never tell an employer that you will not develop a skill. An interview is an opportunity to promote yourself and show all that you have to offer so stating something like “I want to do marketing because I don’t like data analytics” can immediately turn an employer off. This one line could end the interview before it even begins because after an interviewer develops an impression, they are looking for evidence to support or reject that initial identification. Although you may lack some skills, the interview is your opportunity to emphasize the skills you do have and emphasize your willingness to learn and acquire the ones you don’t have.
Second, all of your interactions are part of the interview. Those with the person behind the desk when you first walk in, the greeters outside the interview room and, of course, the interviewer are all important. As soon as you step inside, many greeters jot down a few notes about you. They are trying to capture your personality in a more casual setting and since the greeters tend to be recent graduates, this is a great opportunity to calm down, ask questions about the culture of the organization and present yourself in a relaxed, but still professional, manner. There is never a second chance to make a first impression!
Finally, most employers leave their business cards with the front desk, which are posted on the bulletin board on the wall facing the swipe-in kiosk. Always jot down the information of your interviewer and promptly follow-up with a sincere and personalized thank you note. Your thank you note is a great way to remind the interviewer about a special connection you share and talked about during the interview. Even if you do not get the position, you are still building a relationship and developing a favorable impression with people in the industry you wish to enter. The people at these companies may be your future employers, co-workers, or clients 10 years from now.
Of course, be yourself and have fun!