ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Carla Joan is the Marketing Coordinator at Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón. She heads Business Development and the firm’s Internship Program.
Your first internship interview can be very nerve-wracking. Especially now that, due to COVID-19, those interviews will probably be through video conference call. Don’t sweat it!
We helped you get your paperwork ready for your first internship application, now we’re going to guide you to prepare for your interview so you can rock it and stand out from the rest.
Mastering your first internship interview will be breeze!
Step 1: Research the company
Learn about the company’s size, its mission, vision, clients, projects, what the company does, and what it specializes in. Two of the most common questions asked during an internship interview are: What do you know about us? And why do you want to work here? So be ready! It’s essential that you show that you did your homework.
…and the interviewer!
Ok…I know it may sound like you are stalking, but if you know the name of the person who’s going to be interviewing you, then it doesn’t hurt to do a Facebook, LinkedIn or even a Google search on that person. Why? Because maybe you have a friend in common, or maybe that person went to your same high school or college. Maybe they like the same sports team or share your favorite movie! The more you have in common with your interviewer, the more that interview will flow. Don’t underestimate the importance of chemistry when interviewing!
Step 2: First impressions matter.
90 seconds is all it takes to make a first impression. This applies in an in-person meeting or a video conference call. Take into consideration these things because they make a huge difference:
- Dress professionally. Avoid clothing that’s too casual or revealing.
- Sit up straight, don’t slouch.
- Make eye contact with the interviewer.
- Throw out your gum before your interview.
- Smile. 😊
- Be on time! Punctuality is KEY.
Step 3: Master the conversation.
An interview is a conversation. It should flow and both you and the interviewer should be engaged in it. Find a hook to break the ice. Special skills, hobbies or anything you learned from your previous research that you have in common are great conversation starters.
Step 4: Ask questions.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the company, the culture or what a typical day at work would look like for you. This shows that you have an honest interest in the firm and that you are curious to know more about what you can expect of your internship.
Step 5: Be willing to learn.
No one expects you to know everything, so please don’t pretend you do. Companies value people who are eager to learn, open to new adventures and willing to go the extra mile.
Step 6: Be positive.
DO NOT criticize your last job experience and do not speak badly about your former professors or employers. Instead, talk about how you overcame those past challenges. You never know if the person who’s interviewing you know or have a relationship with the people you’re speaking negatively about. Show emotional maturity by keeping your comments professional and positive always.
Step 7: Be honest.
This one is HUGE. Please, DO NOT LIE! If you don’t know something, say that you don’t. Don’t oversell yourself. If you say that you know how to do something, be sure you can back it up. You never know if you’ll be asked to!
Step 8: Be ready.
Always be ready to demonstrate your abilities and show how your skills can be used for the advancement of the company you’re interviewing for.
Step 9: Be there for the right reasons.
Firms are looking for people that can contribute to the firm’s growth and become part of their culture. Demonstrate in your interview that you really want to be there. If the company’s core values don’t align with your own, don’t waste your time or theirs interviewing.
Step 10: Be grateful.
It is common courtesy to, after your interview, email the person who interviewed you thanking them for the opportunity. This shows that you’re grateful for their time, and they will also appreciate it. This also shows that you are being professional and that you have the right mindset.
Skills aren’t the only thing employers are looking for. Being honest and prepared, doing your homework, and making a good first impression will make you stand out from the rest of the applicants. Following these tips will help your chances to a successful first interview. Just BE YOU and go for it! We are rooting for you!