We all know how important interviews are in landing any job or internship. We also know how stressful it can be trying to prepare yourself for what seems like a deal-breaking ultimatum. Knowing that our academic internship deadline is on the horizon (September 13th), I figured it’d be helpful to cover some quick tips for acing your next interview for an internship.
Now, before we proceed, let’s air out the obvious tips. You already know you should dress for success and should follow the classic rule of thumb for arriving on time (to be early is on time, to be on time is to be late, to be late is unacceptable). But let’s dive deeper into some tips that go above and beyond the basics to prep you for any situation:
- Research, Research, Research
Doing research on any opportunity or company seems like a no-brainer but really I’m honing in on a specific type of research. We all know that you’re doing your homework on what a position is and who it’s coming from. Everyone covers the basics.
But really you should be diving a bit deeper to show that stick out as the best candidate. Start looking into the ‘problem’ the employer solves, research the company’s culture (as much as you can find), and scour their social media pages as much as you can. (This will give you some talking points during the interview.)
Also, check out who the Hiring Manager is (so you can address your cover letter to them) and check out their employee reviews on Glassdoor. The more research you put in, the more you’ll be prepped for the interview process.
2. Be Authentic, Be You
I can’t stress this enough: Most employers can tell when candidate is telling them exactly what they’d like to hear. Lean heavily on your perspective when answering questions. Show the employer that you can think critically and creatively on your own and that you’re not just another yes-man coming into the team. Offer your insight on problems the company is solving and present your employer with a plan for your learning outcomes.
Remember: Internships are vastly different from jobs in that you are getting something out of them. Let the employer know how they play into your professional development and let them know what you realistically have to offer as a developing professional.
3. Body Language is Key
This is really only applicable if you’re doing this interview in person. But, that being said, if you’re at an in-person interview, you should be very aware of how you’re presenting yourself. You’ve already nailed the dress code, you’ve showed up early, but now the key is keeping yourself calm and collected during the interview itself to show your employer that you’re not afraid to engage with human beings.
Sit comfortably, make eye contact, and breathe. Breathing is the key to keeping yourself steady!
You can also make some power moves here by presenting yourself as the master of this domain!
But here’s a Pro Tip from my days as a Musician: Shaky hands and a nervous demeanor can sometimes be the result of a potassium deficiency. It sounds weird but you should definitely eat a banana before every interview to keep those nerves in check!
4. Ask Questions (Ones that Really Interest You)
Everyone under the sun will tell you to ask questions during an interview. I’m telling you the same thing but with a little bit of direction: You should be asking questions that you are genuinely interested in knowing the answer to versus ones that everyone asks. Some starting points are asking about a company’s culture, what the day to day looks like, and what duties you’ll fulfill but try to come up with a couple questions that frame your own interest. Tie this all into your own learning experience and interest in completing an internship!
5. THANK YOUR INTERVIEWER
Please, if there’s one thing you get out of this, it’s understanding the value of the follow up email. This is your key to reminding an employer that you’re still interested – it’s your way of showing your personal investment in the opportunity.
Keep the follow up short and sweet but really hammer home how grateful you are for the opportunity to talk about the position! This shows that you’re a passionate candidate as well as a cool person 😎