Quick Tips for a College Job Interview
You’ve nailed the resume, cover letter, and networking and now comes the final test – the college job interview. The interview is the most important part of the job application process. Blow the job interview and you can kiss your chances at a job goodbye. Luckily we tapped our resident career expert John who has prepared hundreds of people on interviews for jobs and getting into graduate school to share his top tips on college job interviews.
1. Create a Unique 2 Minute Personal Elevator Pitch
Almost every college job interview you encounter will have some version of the question “so tell me about yourself”. Having a solid response to this question will make an incredible first impression that will influence how the rest of your interview will go. The best way to prepare for this question is to create a 2-minute elevator pitch that is concise and hits all of the highlights of your unique story.
An example of how you can structure your elevator pitch:
- Where you are from
- Your school and major with a short plug on why you picked the school and major
- What got you interested about this company and role
- What would you want to accomplish at the company when you start
2. Have 3 Really Great Experiences that You Can Talk To in a Variety of Ways
With every interview response, you will need to back up your claims about yourself. For example, say that you are asked about your strengths and you mention that you are a strong communicator and great at building relationships. Well, how so? You need to provide a story to show and not just tell. Otherwise, you have an empty response that is going to fall flat with your interviewer.
Go into the interview with 3 really good examples of a problem you solved that can be used to answer a number of interview questions. For example, you were the president of your Fraternity was really focused on education and raising the GPA. Frame this example to speak about leadership, working with teams, and communications so that you can show off multiple attributes about yourself.
3. Practice Using the STAR Method to Structure Your Interview Responses
STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Results. It is a great framework to structure your interview responses in a way that thoroughly answers a question. Otherwise, you may end up with a hard-to-follow and confusing response that loses your interviewer. We won’t go into detail here on how to do the STAR method but check out this example from Livecareer.com:
4. Don’t Make the Interview Just About You and How Awesome You Are
In any conversation, most people will enjoy talking about themselves. Yes, your interviewer wants to know how capable you are at doing the job you are and what great skills you have. However, if that is all that you focus on, you will bomb the interview. The interview is all about what you can do for the company. If you can’t easily explain how your experience, skills, and knowledge will directly help the company and allow you to be successful at your job, then you are in trouble.
5. Prepare Questions for the Interviewer
The worst possible answer to “Do you have any questions about the role?” is “No.” It won’t make it seem like you’ve done all the research you need. Come prepared with at least 3-5 questions to ask your interviewer. Ask about what your responsibilities will be, what did the last person to fill the position do well, and how your performance will be measured. If you want to get a little more creative, ask the interviewer about company culture, a fun story from the office, or if there are any tips or tricks you should know.
6. Research your Interviewer
Find out who you’ll be interviewing with and look them up on LinkedIn and Google. Prepare a few questions to ask about their previous experience, their role at the company, and why they like working there. It’s nearly as important to get someone to like you as it is to convince them that you are qualified. It’s a lot easier to overlook a lack of experience or incorrect response to an interview question when the person on the other side of the table enjoyed speaking with you. The interviewer will also be looking for cultural fit between you and the company, and there is no easier way to show that then to come in with some topics that make you relatable to your interviewer.
Good luck with your college job interviews and don’t forget to explore the site for more resources. Did we mention MindSumo puts on some great challenges that allow you to gain relevant experience for you to talk about in your job interviews?