I don’t know about you, but interviews make me slightly nervous. I don’t get so worked up that it interferes with my ability to interview, but I want to do well and not getting a job, to me, means that I did not do well, which in turn makes me worry. To help calm my nerves, I like to make sure I’m prepared before I even get to the interview.
So now that you’ve applied for the several jobs that you found through my post Best Places to Look for a Summer Job, you finally receive the phone call. They want to interview you. You agree, and before you know it you have the chance to change your life. As you hang up, the worry sets in. What if you stutter, or mess up on the facts? What if they just don’t like you, or they’re complete scumbags?
By focusing on preparing before your interview, you can take your mind off worrying about what will happen during the interview. Below are several different things you can do instead of overly concerning yourself about what may (probably won’t) go wrong.
- Print your resume: I like to make my resume colorful. I think it looks better, shows my personality, and lets me stand out among the hundreds of possible applicants. If you do use color for your text choice, make sure you print it out in color. Also, print it on nice card stock paper that you can buy from Wal-Mart or a craft store. They look a lot nicer and interviewers like to see that you’re putting in the effort for the job. Make sure you bring multiple copies, at least 5, to each interview. You never know if your interviewer might be training someone or if you’ll have to interview with multiple people.
- Make a list of references: Interviewers like to have the option to call your references and make sure you are who you say you are. They want to make sure that you do actually have an excellent work ethic and you are punctual to a T, not a lazy always-late liar. If you didn’t turn in a list of references when applying, bring one with you. It should include the name, phone number, email, and details of your relationship including the length you have known that reference and what your relationship is (previous employer, coworker, head of an important project you took part in). Like above, you should print these out on card stock (the same you used for your resumes) and have several copies with you.
- Buy a nice folder: I was scrambling to find something to put my resume and list of references in minutes before I had to leave. I had one folder that was falling apart and the other was a brightly colored one with baby animals on the front. I couldn’t take either of those to my interview, not if I wanted to look professional and show the interviewers that I could do the job. Learn from my mistake and don’t worry about it. Buy a nice folder beforehand to put your nice and professional documents (AKA your card stock resume and list of references) in. I was lucky enough that I pulled out a manila folder that I keep all my old awards from middle school in and it looked nice enough that I used that. In the future, I want to buy a leather portfolio that I can take with me.
- Pick out your outfit: This was one of my favorite things to prepare. My mom and I wear the same size so I had fun going through her closet and trying on all of her nice clothes. Plus, the shirt that I found and wore to the interview she didn’t like anymore so she gave it to me. Score! There are several different guides on what to wear and what not to wear on Pinterest, and you can look at them by clicking the link. I also went out and bought a nice-looking tote bag to carry around the folder and other things I keep in my purse. I wanted to look as professional as I could. You could also go and buy some new clothes (who doesn’t like shopping or new clothes??) if you really need to take your mind off the stress of the interview.
- Decide how you want to do your hair/makeup: Again, I use Pinterest for this. It has so many ideas and tutorials on hair and makeup that it’s a great resource. I really like the step-by-step pictures especially since I’m pretty helpless with hair. For a more professional look though, I tend to just straighten it. My natural hair is curly and wavy and it makes me look a lot younger than I am. As you’ve probably guessed, I was trying to go for a very professional look so I made sure to look that keyword + hairstyles/makeup in order to find guides to help me.
- Read up on the company: This is one I planned on doing, but time got away from me. I felt so stupid when, in my interview, they asked me what I knew about the company. “Uh, I’m sorry, I don’t actually know much.” I was able to get out. Not the greatest impression. I followed up with, “Could you tell me more about it?” Which I think did impress my interviewer as a good enough answer. Go to their website, their Facebook page, their Wikipedia. Read up on their history, know their beginning, and see who is currently in charge. Find out what their motto is. Look at their CEO’s LinkedIn page. Or better yet, the interviewer’s. You can’t know too much, unless you stalk the head of the HR department and find out his daughter’s name and know she likes purple elephants (not that I went that far). They interviewer will be impressed that you worked hard to find out those things in order to be prepared for your interview.
So now you’ve aced your interview and you have a job! Read about how a typical first day will go as well as tips to prepare for this upcoming adventure in my First Day of Work post.
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