Saturday, January 9, 2010

Preparing for Interview

I have an internship...and its with University of Dreams. I don't start for another week, but I am very excited and looking forward interning at the company.

When you get a reply back from the place you want to work at (see previous blog), they will probably say that they are very interested in you and would like to set up a time and date to interview you. Once you have the date for the interview, write it down on a notepad and stick it on to your desk, or write a little alert note in your cell phone.

I would suggest that the day before the interview, gather everything you need to bring to the interview. That way you are not running around trying to finds things 5 minutes before your supposed to leave. For my interview I brought a copy of my cover letter, resume, references, samples of my writing skills, and a little notepad with a pen if I needed to write something down (I didn't have to, but its always good to be prepared).

I also looked the company's website and wrote down a few thoughts in case they asked me during the interview. Obviously its a good idea to familiarize yourself with a company's background and what they do.

I think the number 1 rule of the whole interview process is NEVER be late. It will not look good for you. I wasn't really familiar with the place of my interview, so I looked at Google Maps (using street view) so I know what the area looks like and where I can park. Even though I knew it only took me about 20 minutes to get there, I still left a good hour early before my interview. And this is not a bad idea to do. I was half an hour early, but at least it was better than being 5 minutes late.

Here are my 4 reasons why I think its important to be extra early:

1) It gives you time to relax and calm your nerves down. It will help you get focus on the interview, and not on other things (such as did I park in the right place? Did I lock my doors?).

When I arrived early, I walked around the area around the building for a little bit before going in. And it really helped me and my nerves.

2) While you are waiting for your interviewer, observe the environment (if its not at a coffee place). Is this kind of place you would like to work at? See how people address one another/what they wear. Will you be comfortable in doing the same?

3) If you are early, make sure you have everything you need and didn't forget something in the car. (You should probably do this when you are about to leave your car). So if you do forget something, you will at least have time to go back to your car and get it.

4) It just looks good to be early. It shows how dedicated you are and that you would really like the position.

During the interview, listen to what the person is saying. If you are confused about something, ask. Don't just say "OK, sure, yeah." Or you could simply restate what they said to make sure your both on the same page. Answer questions as best you can, the person is looking to see if you will be a good fit for this company, and you need to show it. Give examples or ideas you have depending on what position you are applying for.

I'm sure I'm not the only person, but once when something is over, I think to myself: Did I remember to mention this? Or did I answer this question correctly? But what I usually do is that I say to myself, "I did the best I could. What's done, is done." (I learned that last part from an old roommate).

Now that the interview is done, you can finally breath properly again (haha!). So what should you do? Two things: Treat yourself to something (a sweet, go to the movies, shopping) and by the end of the day send them a thank you letter.

A what!? Didn't you just tell them thank in person?

Yes. But when you send them a thank you note, you stand out because you are still fresh on their mind (I read this through many sites on Google).

Its really simple. Like a cover letter, you only need 3-4 short paragraphs. Do it within 24-48 hours after the interview.

Paragraph 1: Thank them for taking the time to meet you and giving you the opportunity to discuss whatever it was you guys talked about

Paragraph 2: Reflect a little bit about what you guys talked about and why you are perfect for the position. Mention anything else you forgot to say in the interview. And if you forgot to give something to them, attach it to the e-mail and let them know.

Paragraph 3: Its similar to Paragraph 2, but say what you will bring to the company and the position.

Paragraph 4: Let them know if they need anything else, they can call you. Thank them for considering you and that you look forward to hearing from them.

That is it. Then you just have to wait to see if you get it. Usually its a good idea to wait at least a week before calling them, if you haven't heard from them. Unless you know that the interviewing process will take another week or so.

If you got the position, congratulations! If not, its OK. Remember its a really tough process and a hard decision to make. That is why you should find ways in which you will stick out.

One more thing. Don't wait around to hear from them, apply elsewhere as well. There are people who are looking to fill in a position right now, rather than later.

TIP of the BLOG: Be yourself and have confidence (cliche I know) . When you are yourself, you will feel comfortable and will do well in the interview.

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