Great news! You have an interview date set for an internship position! Now you have to prepare. There are different types of interviews and the preparation will vary accordingly. If you have any choice in the matter, you should always try for a face to face live interview. You want the chance to make the best possible personal connection with the interviewer. Here are the best ways to prepare:
How to prepare for your internship interview
Read the job description carefully. Plan to be able to articulate why you are qualified for this role. You will also want to do some company and industry research. Learn as much as you can about the company and their goals. The company website is a logical place to start. You should also “follow” and “like” them on social media so you can learn more about the company and their values.
I also recommend doing some people research. Find out the names of the people you will be meeting at the interview. Look them up on LinkedIn to understand their background, expertise and possibly uncover some mutual connections. From an industry perspective, your interview will go well if you can speak the language of that particular industry.
After your research is completed, it’s time to take your preparation to the next level. Take a good look at your resume and practice answering the typical questions you can expect. Some examples might include: Tell me about your past work experiences. Describe your campus activities. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Why do you have a low GPA? Tell me about yourself. Practice answering both the easy and hard questions to strengthen your interview presence.
You will want to manage the logistics carefully so you arrive on time. The company will probably be able to give you directions that include info on parking and public transportation. Don’t just rely on a GPS on this important day. The best advice is to try out the route a few days ahead of time so you know exactly where you are going. Navigating for the first time on new roads or subways on an important day is never a good idea. Also, make sure you allow extra time for traffic or commuting delays.
Larger companies usually have a lengthy security process for first time visitors. This can often take up to 30 minutes. Parking lots can also be a long hike from the front door. That is why it’s best to go in advance to check out the logistics.
Plan your interview attire in advance. Make sure it’s in sync with the company that you are interviewing with. You may need to ask a few people to find this out. You want to look professional at all times. Your attire for an investment banking position in NYC will likely be very different from if you are interviewing at a San Francisco tech startup. Avoid low cut tops, short skirts, and too much jewelry or perfume/cologne.
What to Bring
Bring extra resumes to your interview. Other documents include references, work samples and a list of your questions. You want to have well thought out questions that show you have done your research. It usually makes sense to have a folio or notebook to accommodate your documents and look professional. If you plan on showing any special projects or online portfolio, you may need to bring your laptop. Many students also bring their own business card.
Turn off your cell phone when you arrive. Most of all, bring your positive attitude and confidence. Make eye contact and warmly greet each person with a smile and a handshake. What else do you do to prepare for your interviews?