While your campus tour guide might have told you about all of the great job opportunities available to K-State students or the 475+ organizations we offer to get involved in, they might not have mentioned that some of these things require an interview process to get in. For those of you (much like myself) whose heartbeat began racing and muscles tensed at the mere mention of the word “interview”, I’ve compiled a list of tips that have been shared with me over the past three years of my college career to help subside the panic and do your best in these challenging events.
1) DO A LITTLE “PRE-SEARCH”
After high school, several interviews will be built around “behavioral-based” questions. If you’re anything like me, I was clueless as to what that event meant, let alone how to go about answering them. With a little help from our friend Google, you can search the most commonly asked questions—and then think about how you would answer them. While you won’t know exactly what your interviewer will ask, you can at least anticipate possible questions and avoid being completely bewildered.
2) MAP OUT YOUR SUCCESSES—AND FAILURES
One of the most helpful things I did for myself in regards to prepping for behavioral-based questions was essentially mapping out major leadership or life experiences that have had a significant impact on who I am/how I lead. Brainstorm times you did really well on a group project or achieved a tough goal. After that, think of times you really blew it. And no—I’m not kidding! We experience the greatest lessons by failing big-time, and then bouncing back and learning from it. Potential employers and organizations want to know that yes, you are capable of achieving, but also that you are able to accept your mistakes and show resilience.
3) WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO OFFER?
This one might be second-nature, but always be prepared to speak to why you are best fit for the position you’re interviewing for. Hint: don’t simply say “because I want it!” Think about your strengths and skill set and relate those things to the position description. Use specific examples as to how your strengths would play out well in said position.
4) IT’S IN THE DETAILS
While you can run yourself ragged trying to prepare for questions and anticipate every situation you might face, that’s only half the battle. I’ve felt incredibly prepared for an interview, but then blew it because I got no sleep the night before or was flustered when I entered the room. Get good rest the night before. Eat your favorite breakfast. Wear your snazziest blazer. Show up early and give yourself time to focus, whether that means a little pre-interview meditation, a mini self pep-talk, or simply time to focus your energy. It’ll pay off.
5) BE YOURSELF
Last but not least—let your personality shine through everything you do. Don’t be afraid to be yourself! An employer or organization would much rather have someone who can be honest and genuine over a robot who answers every question with precise execution.
Remember that practice makes perfect, and that the more interviews you go through, the more comfortable they get. Ask for advice from others who have gone through similar things. Always be learning. Always be improving.
NOW GO NAIL IT, CHAMP.