I meet with at least one job seeker every day who needs help to prepare for an interview. The client is so excited about the opportunity and thinks it would be a great fit – but also nervous and anxious, and trying to prepare a great answer for every possible interview question. For many, this is not their first interview –they have interviewed by phone and/or in person – but did not advance to the next round, or receive any feedback, or never got a call or email back, or were passed over for another candidate. It is so frustrating!! So counselors, this is my checklist for your students to better prepare to interview for internships and jobs:
- Study the internship/job posting – Highlight the requirements that match the student’s skills and experience, and mark those areas that are lacking. Students can research and learn something about those missing skills – for ex., programming tools, special software or unknown acronyms and terminology – and show the employer serious motivation and willingness to learn.
- Study the employer’s website and links – Just studying the internship/job posting is not enough. Research the employer’s website – company overview, mission, goals, company culture, media and more. It shows the employer that the student took some serious time to research and gain information not listed on the posting.
- Use LinkedIn – First, get the full names of the interviewers (HR, recruiters and staff) and look up their LinkedIn profiles so you can get to know them “in advance”. Second, look up LinkedIn profiles of current or past employees in that same job/field, and see how their skills and experience match up. Great info!
- Internal Referrals – If your student knows anyone who currently works or previously worked for the employer, encourage them to make contact and maybe get some “inside” information to better prep for the interview. Better yet – get their friend to forward their resume to HR or the Hiring Manager.
- “Tell Me About Yourself” – The best way to answer this “icebreaker” interview question is a brief overview of education, experience (unpaid and paid) and skills, and show how that background could be relevant and a great fit for that internship or job!
Happy Thanksgiving and Many Thanks for letting me share my coaching insights with all of you!!
By Judi Garcia