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How to to NAIL a job interview

10 tips for students and post-grads!

Sarah Xu

October 30, 2023


job interview

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, especially for students and recent graduates who are just starting their professional journey. However, with the right preparation and mindset, you can stand out from the competition and leave a lasting impression on your potential employers. We want you to have all the tips and tricks necessary to stand out in your interview and feel confident through-and-through, so we’ve compiled a list of valuable tips and strategies that can help you shine in your job interviews!

1️⃣ Research the Company

Before stepping into the interview room, it's crucial to research the company thoroughly. Start with a deep dive on their company website and LinkedIn, as well as the role you’re interviewing for within the company. Understanding the company's mission, values, and culture will not only show your genuine interest but also allow you to tailor your responses to align with their needs and goals.

2️⃣ Know Yourself

Self-awareness is key in any job interview. Take the time to identify your strengths, weaknesses, and achievements. Be sure to practice with mock interview questions to learn how to best format your answers! Be ready to discuss your relevant skills and experiences, and how they make you a suitable candidate for the position.

3️⃣ Dress Appropriately

First impressions matter, and your attire plays a significant role in making that impression. Dress professionally, adhering to the company's dress code or industry standards. When in doubt, it's better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed (even on Zoom)!

4️⃣ Craft an Elevator Pitch

Prepare a concise and compelling elevator pitch that highlights your qualifications and career goals. This should be a 30-second introduction that captures the interviewer's attention and sets a positive tone for the conversation. Be sure to tailor this pitch to the specifics of the role and qualifications! 

5️⃣ Practice Your Responses

Anticipate common interview questions and practice your responses in advance. This will help you articulate your thoughts clearly and confidently. Practice using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your answers to behavioral questions.

6️⃣ Prepare Questions

Interviews are a two-way street. Prepare thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer about the company, team dynamics, and the role itself to demonstrate genuine interest and engagement. Here are some examples:

  1. What does a typical day in this role look like?

  2. How would you describe the management style of this team?

  3. What opportunities are there for training and progression?

  4. Can you describe the working culture of the organization?

  5. Can you tell me more about the team I would be working in?

  6. Is there anything about me that worries you about my capabilities to succeed in this role?

7️⃣ Share Success Stories

Don’t be afraid to hype yourself up! Be sure to tailor your responses to include your shining achievements, even if it feels like you’re “showing off.” Support your claims with real-life examples and success stories by describing how you've contributed to a team project, solved a challenging problem, or achieved a significant goal. Specific examples make your experiences memorable!

8️⃣ Be Authentic

While it's essential to prepare, don't forget to be yourself. Authenticity is valued in interviews and is evident to the interviewer. Nobody wants to talk to a robot who has all the right, structured answers - let your personality shine through and build a genuine connection with the interviewer.

9️⃣ Follow Up

After the interview, send a thank-you email or handwritten letter to the interviewer expressing your appreciation for the opportunity and reiterating your interest in the position. This small gesture can reinforce your enthusiasm and professionalism, and leave a lasting impression!

🔟 Learn from Rejections

Not every interview will lead to a job offer. If you receive a rejection, use it as an opportunity to learn or to keep the door open for future roles. Seek feedback if available and apply what you've learned to future interviews.

Job interviews can be intimidating, but with preparation and the right mindset, you can stand out and increase your chances of landing your desired position! Ultimately, every interview is a chance to learn and improve, so stay persistent, and success will come your way. Good luck!