Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Guard the Post: Keys to Interviewing Success

With Drexel Co-op interviewing continuing and the new year right around the corner, it is time to improve your interviewing skills. Below are a few tips to doing your best at every interview and hopefully getting that dream job!

1. Prepare
Preparation is a key in the interview and job search process. This is a section and idea that is vital in getting a job. You have to prove to an employer that you really want a job and that you are willing to commit time to get it.
  • Learn about the job and the company. You will have probably gotten a job description for the position. Read this thoroughly and make sure you know what the employer wants you to know. If they spent the time to put together this job description, they are clearly committed to what is in it. Also, this can give you a good idea if you really want this job. Employers will also want to see that you have researched the company mission, goals, current projects, and other general information. Some questions they may ask you include:
    • Which of our current projects interest you the most?
    • What do you think the consumer market is for our company?
    • How much do you know about our company and what we do?
  • Prepare questions. You will want to prepare a list of 3-5 questions that you can ask the employer during or after the interview. The question will want to sound tailored based on the rest of the interview, so although you will be asking prepared questions, make sure you  structure them so that they make sense within the rest of the interview. A list of good questions to ask include:
    • What qualities do you like a co-op to have?
    • What is the day-to-day work like for the co-op?
    • How would you describe the company culture and structure?
    • What is your favorite part about working at ____?
    • Tell me about you. What was your path to working at ____?
  • Dress nicely. Your interview will probably be the first and maybe only chance you have to impress the employer in-person. The first impression starts with how you are dressed. Below is a video going through what to wear:

2. At the interview
Obviously how you do at the interview is what will set you apart from the other applicants. After all the preparation you should be ready for anything that may happen. Some little things that can make you stand out at the interview:
  • Arrive on time. In the business world if you are late you are dead, if you are on time you are late, and if you are early you are on time. You should arrive between 10-15 minutes early for the interview. This will give you enough time to fill out any paperwork they need filled out and to get comfortable in the office before the interview begins.
  • Firm handshake and look at them right in the eye. Be sure to look right at the interviewer in the eye and give them a firm, not too hard, not too soft, handshake. This will prove to the interviewer that you are serious and confident, two important qualities in a prospective employee.
  • Sit up straight and confidently answer any questions. Your posture and confidence is vital for how the employer sees you. Though the content of your answers is still what is most important, the way you answer the questions is also important. Be confident in what you say, but also take your time to be sure that what you are saying makes sense and actually answers the question you were asked.
3. After the interview
Be sure to ask for the interviewer's business card so that you have their exact contact information. Be sure to say thank you and shake the interviewers hand. Also on your way out thank the receptionist and offer them a nice day with a big smile. You would be surprised how many times an interviewer may ask others in the office what they thought of you. Follow up about 24 hours after the interview with a general thank you and any extra questions you may have. At this time offer any references you may have.

Good luck on getting a dream job or co-op! Follow these steps and you will be ahead of the curve. Look out for an announcement about a Networking Event hosted by Drexel SMTSU coming in the next few weeks!

Kevin Murray is a Pre-Junior Sport Management Major at Drexel University, originally from Havertown, PA. He worked in the Drexel Sport Management Department as a Research Assistant focusing on the Penn State scandal, equity in collegiate sports, and Title IX.  He completed his first co-op last spring with Drexel Athletics External Relations Department, where he still works part-time. He is currently a Resident Assistant in University Crossings, a member of the Undergraduate Student Government Association, and Vice President of SMTSU.  You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kevinj_murray.

Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

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