For college students or recent grads applying for internships, the sea of interview rules often appears murky. However, when you schedule an interview – whether meeting face to face, by Skype or phone – there are three things you should avoid doing:
1. Wear jeans and a wrinkled shirt. Even if the company’s culture is casual, avoid wearing jeans and sneakers. And while tattoos may be the office norm, the interview isn’t the time to showcase your fresh ink. Your experience and enthusiasm should take center stage during the interview, rather than your attire. You can still showcase your unique fashion style while remaining professional.
Accordingly, If you are interviewing with a recruiter, you may feel more relaxed than you would if it were the hiring manager. You may unknowingly treat this interview as a casual conversation leading to the “real interview.” However, recruiters are hired by the corporate decision makers and are very involved in the hiring decision process. You should present your best self whether you are interviewing with a recruiter, HR representative or directly with the hiring decision maker.
2. Leave your enthusiasm at home. While an interview is a serious meeting, try not to take yourself so seriously that you forget to smile. Additionally, if you have conducted your research, you know enough about the company to speak enthusiastically about their product or service. If you are naturally a subdued personality, then practice your lines ahead of the meeting to come across more energetically.
Find the phrases that feel normal to you. Rehearse what it is about the company culture, the product, and the future of the company that excites you. Create and practice a line or two around that that will sound natural and energizing, and not feigned. Be prepared, knowledgeable and enthusiastic when you walk into the interview door.
3. Fail to research the company. You may think an internship is not a real job, so you decide that just showing up is enough. However, an internship could help you make the first big step with your career. Internships are competitive and the hiring decision makers are seeking out the best, new talent—one more reason to be on your toes in the job interview.
Especially in today’s highly competitive job climate, you do not want to be pegged as uninterested among a sea of highly prepared candidates. Instead, prior to the interview, thoroughly research the company’s Glassdoor profile. Read what employees are saying about what it’s like to work there, what the interview process is like, and what your expected salary could be.
Moreover, some internships later convert to full time jobs. And all interviews could potentially lead to helpful referral sources for future jobs at other companies.
Prepare to impress with the power of well-researched words.