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Gradvice: Rock That Job Interview!

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After slaving away on that perfect resume and writing what feels like hundreds of cover letters, you finally landed the big job interview. Yay for you! You’ve wowed someone with your accomplishments and degree, and now it’s time to blow them away them in person.

This is a pretty big deal.

You’ve heard it before, but you only get one chance at a first impression so it’s important to make sure that you are 110% prepared for the big day. You will undoubtedly be one of many interviewing for the given position, which means you need to go above and beyond all those other people to prove why you are the best suited for the job.

How can you be sure you are ready for the interview?

1. Research, research, research: You’ve probably already done a lot of research when you applied to the company, but that is not enough. Learn everything you can about the history, goals and mission so you can throw tiny facts and information into your answers during the interview. This proves to the interviewer that you are invested in not only getting a job, but contributing to the success of that company as a whole. You may also want to brush up on the industry so you know any big news or information that might be pertinent to the company you are applying with.

2. Practice talking in front of a mirror: This one sounds slightly ridiculous/Disney movie-esque but it is super important to see the way you present yourself when you talk. Print off a list of basic interview questions and answer them in front of your bathroom mirror (but lock the door so no one walks in on you lookin’ all crazy). Do you use your hands a lot? Play with your hair? Look down? Practice talking without doing all those distracting things so you look and present yourself more confidently during the interview.

3. Prepare questions for the interviewer: You will often be asked if you have any questions during an interview. And you should. It may not seem important, but when you ask the interviewer a question it shows interest.When you don’t, it looks bad, bad, bad.

Good questions to ask include: “Do you promote internally?”, “Is there an option to grow within the company?”, “Whom will I be working with most closely?”, “Does the company offer further professional development?”, “Why do you like working for this company?”

Bad questions to ask include: “What is vacation time like?”, “When will I get a raise?”, “What are your thoughts on dating coworkers?”

4. Know your “stock” answers: Every job interview is different, but many include some of the same questions. Know your strengths and weaknesses (and, for the love of God, don’t use the cliche “this weakness is actually a strength…”), know examples of times you’ve showed leadership/organizational/time management skills. You shouldn’t have to rack your brain for these answers, nor should you just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind to avoid an awkward silence (“That time my friend got really…er…sick and I had to take her home and take care of her.”).

5. Get some rest: Do NOT go out and “grab a drink” the night before an interview. Don’t even stay out late catching a midnight showing of Bruno. Use that time to perfect your interview skills, pick out an appropriate ensemble, and get into bed early. You want to be on the ball for your interview, NOT chugging Gatorade and scarfing down an Egg McMuffin in the waiting room.

The job market is tough out there, so wowing someone in an interview is more important than ever. Be prepared and make those people believe they can’t run that company without you.

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