“I got an interview!” During a job hunt, this can be almost as exciting as actually landing a position. But once you get that interview, it’s often difficult to know how to prepare. Within the last year, I’ve had about five interviews for a variety of internships and jobs. Only one of them was an in-person, one-on-one conversation, and that one was very informal. Between phone calls, video chats and panel interviews, each one required a different type of preparation. While it’s often impossible to know exactly what an interview will be like before you get there, knowing a few tips for each method can help you adapt gracefully to any situation.
Meeting with a recruiter or hiring manager to answer their questions is still one of the most common interview styles. Even this can come in many different varieties though. It could be a highly structured series of questions asked across a desk, a casual conversation over lunch or coffee, or even a phone or video chat. No matter what kind of one-on-one interview it is, always come prepared with a few selling points about yourself to work into the conversation. You will also want a few well-researched questions to ask your interviewer. Read more tips for phone and video interviews.
In some industries, interviewers want to see how potential employees respond to the challenges a specific job brings. This may result in an on-the-job test, presenting you with a stressful situation or unpredictable questions like, “How many ping pong balls can fit into a limousine?” If you find yourself in a situation like this, just take a deep breath, be confident and be yourself. Don’t be afraid to think out loud and share your process. Most likely, if it’s an unanswerable question or task, they aren’t expecting a right answer, they just want to see your problem-solving skills in action.
Sometimes companies interview groups of candidates at once, especially if they’re filling a position like an internship that requires multiple people. In this situation, just remember to engage — try to give at least one answer that stands out from the crowd. You can also try some of these ideas to help you make an impression. Being interviewed by multiple people is more common, however, whether in a panel or in a series of one-on-one meetings. Either way, make sure you are working to connect with each interviewer individually. Make eye contact, feel free to chat and don’t stop giving your best. While you’ve met with four people in two hours, they’ve only met with one you, so make sure to put the best, most memorable you forward.
These tips only scratch the surface of what it takes to successfully prepare for a job interview. To learn more, come join us as we hear from the experts at our Interviewing Techniques class. Call 405.377.3333 with questions or register here. To find out about more courses like this sign up for our monthly e-newsletter. View all of our upcoming courses in our digital catalog.
Abby McCain is the Communications and Marketing Secretary at Meridian Technology Center and recently joined the team after graduation and a successful job search.