In a perfect world, we would all be professional interviewees. We would not fumble over an answer or forget to offer that one important piece of information to the interviewer. Unfortunately, this just is not the case. The reality is that succeeding in a job interview takes practice. It takes time to perfect your responses and learn how you want to best vocalize those answers to an interviewer. As a recent graduate of Mohawk College from the Public Relations Graduate Certificate program, I have had the chance to improve my approach to interviewing which ultimately landed me my current position as the Communications and Public Relations Coordinator at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre.
Here are a few tips and tricks I find lead to successful interviews:
- Research the organization you are interviewing for.
This may seem obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many people don’t prepare. A week before your interview, go online and find out as much as you can about the organization. Compile that information and give yourself 15 minutes a night to review it. The attention to detail will come through in your interview when you are able to mention the latest update or interesting fact you noticed while trolling the Google search pages.
- Predict questions you will be asked prior to your interview.
There is no harm in creating a list of potential questions that you think an interviewer might ask during an interview. This way you can be prepared for anything that gets thrown your way. Begin with a question such as, “Tell me about yourself.” Although this seems like something you would be able to answer, you will find that if you don’t practice your answer, you won’t know what to say.
- Once you have your list of questions, answer them on paper.
Now that you have that list of potential questions handy, sit down and answer them on paper. Write out your answers in the way you would answer them verbally. This will help you almost memorize how you want to answer specific questions.
- Practice answering questions aloud with a partner.
Ask someone you know to help you prep for your interview. Give them the list of questions you created and have them test you on the questions. This will give you practice answering the questions aloud and will improve your confidence during the interview.
- Once your interview is over, be sure to send a thank-you email or letter to your interviewer.
This is a gesture that many don’t do. A simple thank-you email to the individual/s who interviewed you will go a long way. Thank them for taking time out of their day to meet with you and highlight a part of the interview that you particularly enjoyed or even a question that stood out to you. This shows attentiveness, professionalism and respect for the interviewers’ time.
If you follow all these tips, you are setting yourself up for success. Who knows, you may even just land your dream job!
– Shelby VanderEnde
Public Relations, ’14
Follow Shelby @shelbyvander