While interviews have only generally associated with job applications, many other application processes are starting to adopt the interview component today. Whether it is for college admissions, a scholarship, or an internship, interviews seem to appear in many places for the modern college student. Luckily, all application processes require the interview for the same two things–to see who you are off paper and to see if you are a right fit for their college, scholarship, or company. So put your best foot forward, and start sharpening those interview skills. This guide will help you develop interview skills to get your foot in the door to many organizations.
Do your homework before the interview
First and foremost, it’s important to plan ahead before all interviews. Do research on the school, scholarship foundation, or company and the person who will be interviewing you. Knowing the background of the school, scholarship foundation, or company will give you an idea of what they are looking for in a potential student, recipient, intern, or employee. After you get good idea of the desired candidate, look through your own resume and look for experiences or achievements you may want to speak about that makes you an asset. If the interview is with a school or a company, know why you want to attend or work there. If it is with a scholarship representative, know why you are deserving of the scholarship. You may want to do some role play or write your answers down to keep your responses clear and concise. The important thing is to prepare what you might say.
Interview skills for a successful interview
- Punctuality– Be punctual. This is an important step to do at your interview to make a good first impression. Being on time or better yet, early, shows the interviewer you are eager to be there. A first impression is a lasting impression.
- Eye Contact- You want to maintain eye contact throughout your interview. Although it may be hard to do so when you are thinking about a response to a question, maintaining eye contact communicates attentiveness and interest in what the interviewer is saying.
- Adapt to the Conversation– The tricky part about an interview is that you never know what you will be asked. Although you may have prepared responses to questions you were sure you would be asked, be prepared to adapt to the conversation. The conversation may not go as you predict. The interviewer may ask unexpected questions to retrieve organic responses. If this happens, remember that you prepared and trust yourself to respond naturally.
- Ask Questions– At the end of your interview, ask questions. Although the interviewer will normally ask you if you have any questions, it is important you ask to ask if he or she does not. Asking questions will reinforce that you are interested in the school, scholarship, or company.
By following the steps mentioned above, your interview skills and your chances of success will increase drastically. Lastly, it’s not always easy to practice, but whether it’s in front of a mirror, a friend, family member, or your pet, the more time you spend in rehearsing, the more confident and professional you will be in an interview. Practice, practice, practice!