- Caitlin McGeehan
5 Things I've Learned About Interviews
Interviews can seem daunting and nerve-racking. However, after doing multiple interviews throughout my college career for internships and being an interviewer for my radio show, I’ve come to enjoy them. Here are some of my tips for job and internship interviews so hopefully your fear subsides.
1. Tailor your notes to the position
Employers want to hear about what you’ve done, but more importantly, how you can transfer it to the job/internship they’re hiring for. My advice is to tailor your notes for the interview to the position. For example, if you are interviewing for a non-profit organization in Philadelphia, you would want to mention your time in PRowl where you were on a non-profit’s account.
Get very specific in your notes about what you achieved in your previous positions and what tasks you did. Putting yourself in the employer’s shoes and thinking about what you would want to know about a potential employee is helpful, too.
2. Know your experience inside and out
I’ve had interviews where employers ask general questions about my experience (“What have you done in social media/pitching/writing?”) and I fill in what I feel is most applicable to the position. Others had questions about how I completed the specific tasks and projects I listed on my resume. Be prepared for both, plus the infamous “tell me about yourself” question!
3. Connect with the interviewer as a person
I know you hear this all the time, but an interview should be a conversation. I’ve learned this the most through my radio show. Sticking to the questions word-for-word and not reacting to my interviewees’ answers makes for a stiff and very short interview.
Even a minute or two of talking about the interviewer’s favorite aspect of PR, where you both went to school, what you’ve both been up to with hobbies or TV shows, is enough to make that connection. Also, you and the interviewer already have one thing in common: your career interests!
4. Have your own questions
At the end of each interview, they will typically ask if you have any questions, and you should have at least one. I always have one or two prepared based on my research of the organization and position.
You’ll probably have a question about something they mention when talking about their organization or the position itself. Depending on where the conversation is going, ask it as it pops up, or at the end of the interview.
There are some go-to questions (What would a day-to-day look like in this position? Are there opportunities for advancement in this position?), to have just in case.
5. Ask for help
I have to admit, I’m not the best at this one, but I’m getting better.
First off, when you’re doing research on the organization, Google “(name of organization) interview process/questions.” Sometimes people who have been interviewed for positions at that organization share their experience and possibly the interview questions on Indeed or Glassdoor.
If you know someone who has interviewed or interned at the organization before, ask them what the interview process was like. They’ll most likely be honest about their experience and give you advice.
Interviews aren’t easy. Reading articles and blogs like this one can definitely help you out. However, a lot of what I’ve learned was from being thrown into the fire and just doing multiple interviews, but that is also a good thing. You’ll realize what your baseline is for an interview, and assess how you can improve from there.
This blog was written by Caitlin McGeehan, Vice President.