We’ve all seen it in the media. The high-backed chair, bright white lights, a panel of two, four, maybe seven bosses all staring blank-faced as some bumbling intern tries to wow them with a stellar presentation. It all boils down to one commonly held idea in our society: Interviews are scary.
College is a giant epicenter of activity. There are clubs that satisfy nearly every interest, job and work-study opportunities, research grants, internships. The list is pretty much endless. Maybe I can only speak for myself, but every leadership role I’ve sought on this campus has required some type of interview. From Ambassador to Krewe Leader, I’ve been through the rigmarole, and I can firmly say: do not be afraid of interviews.
Many times, interviews are required parts of an application not because the employer is looking to scare you off, but because they realize that a resume and cover-letter provide a very limited view of the real you. If you’re selected for an interview, don’t be afraid! You should be relieved that you’re not being judged by the limited sliver of personality that your cover letter affords. Humans are social creatures, we thrive on communication, and an interview will generally showcase whether or not you’re a good fit with the group. However, if your palms still sweat at just the word “interview,” I’ve compiled a quick tip guide for surviving interview stress.
- Bathe: You might think this is common sense, but I’ve been surprised in the past. Make sure that you’re well groomed and put together the day of your interview. Business casual is usually a safe-bet for most college interviews. Wear deodorant, brush your hair and teeth. I cannot stress how important a first impression is. Would you hire someone in a wife-beater with sweat stains? Didn’t think so.
- Be Five Minutes Early: Plan out your entire day before the interview. Make sure that you’ve got ample time between previous obligations and the interview. Don’t schedule an interview for five minutes after class—it’ll leave you looking flustered and possibly late, which is a sign of disrespect to the employers’ and their time.
- Be Prepared: Usually an employer will tell you if you need to bring a copy of your resume and cover letter to an interview, but it’s always a safe bet to bring a copy or two just in case. But having a copy isn’t always enough, make sure that you know your resume well enough to answer any questions the employer may have. This means you should probably remove any information on your resume if it isn’t 100% honest.
- Be Yourself: As cliché as this sounds, it’s one of the most important pieces of advice I can give. Employers are generally not looking for someone who can put on a great mask for an hour, but who have a totally different attitude after they’ve gotten the job. Be open, make eye-contact, smile, laugh! Think of interviews like a conversation with a hot date. Be confident but polite. Don’t interrupt! Sounds familiar? It should, this is all proper conversation etiquette whether you’re in an interview or not.
Seems like too much to remember? Don’t sweat it. You’ve made it this far in life. Hey! You made it to Loyola! Clearly you’re more than capable of handling an interview. You can do this, you can get them. Stay confident, keep your head up. Have fun! And you’ll be a success.