Suppose you have applied to an internship opening for a company on Switch Idea. You have gotten shortlisted and have been asked to come for an interview. If you have never given a professional interview earlier, then we can imagine how nervous you will be feeling.
Relax, it is a normal reaction. The nervousness arises from the fact that anything that you say during your interview can have a direct impact on whether you will get an internship or not. Even though an interview may not offer you the best way to showcase your talent, it is sadly the only way a company can judge whether you are the best person for the job at hand.
One thing that we have learnt ourselves after having given interviews in our past is that there is no need to be nervous. Nervousness and anxiety can be detrimental to your performance in the interview. All you need to do is to be prepared for any question that an interviewer will ask you. Remember, an interview is simply a conversation between you and the potential employer to see whether you are the right fit for their organisation or not. All the questions you will be asked is for that sole purpose. Once you understand this, you have to focus on showing why you are the best person for the job.
Here are some aspects of the interview experience that you have to pay attention to:
Prepping for the interview:
Preparing for the interview beforehand is a must. This will help you be more confident as opposed to going in unprepared. Research the company and what it does. Learn the history of the company and how they have performed over time. Make notes of areas where you can offer your suggestion. Understand their business model and see how you can add value to the job function that you are interviewing for.
Besides this, make sure that you are up to date on the developments in your professional field. Say you are an advertising student, then you need to know about the latest trends in advertising. An example would be how digital media is completely transforming the advertising landscape. Be confident about your craft and be clear about what you are good at.
Communicating during the interview:
The first two minutes into the interview are the most crucial and here is where you need to shine. Be clear in your communication and do not use fillers while you speak. Speak simply, there is no need to use complicated words. Talk about yourself and your professional aspirations. Describe how you got into the field and what you are excited about when it comes to your professional field. The trick here is to be as authentic as possible. You will be surprised as to how well you can explain yourself to people when you are speaking the truth.
Do keep in mind, that you should not overpower the conversation. It is equally important for you to listen patiently and attentively to what the interviewer is saying. This will show the interviewer that you are a keen listener as well. Treat an interview as a frank conversation and the results will be better for you. Do not look at it as an interrogation session. This makes it frightening and gives rise to nervousness.
You will realise during an interview that a lot of tricky questions will be thrown your way.
Tell me about yourself.
Where do you see yourself going in 5 years?
Why should we hire you?
Once again, the best way to answer them is through complete honesty. Do not answer these questions from the perspective of the employer. Answer them for yourself. Maybe they will not match the employer’s expectations, but that doesn’t make them any less true. To answer these questions, you need to know exactly what you are getting into. Where do you see yourself going in 5 years? Maybe you have a roadmap; maybe you don’t. If you don’t have one, say it. If you have a plan, then explain it. It is that simple. Do not make up answers on the spot because they might not be reflective of your true self and a seasoned interviewer can spot when you are not saying the truth.
When it comes to internships, salary discussions may not end up featuring prominently. Since this is your first internship, you may not be in the best position to negotiate your salary. However, that should not stop you from understanding the job responsibility at hand and how much you should be paid in comparison. Do not initiate salary discussions by yourself. Let the interviewer begin.
In the discussion, the decision to be okay with the stipend that you are provided with for your efforts is entirely up to you. If you feel that the compensation provided is not fair, you need to speak up. However, you need to be polite about that. Say that you were expecting more compared to the value that you will be adding to the company during the internship. If your interview has been great till this juncture, then the interviewer will consider your requirement and may even agree. It is important to be calm and composed during this time. Salary discussions normally mean that you have cleared the interview and the company is now ready to discuss how much to pay you.
Ultimately, it is all about confidence!
Everything gets into the right place when you are confident about yourself and your abilities. Your confidence is infectious. The interviewer will feel it and decide that you are the right person for the job.
So start building your confidence every day by learning about your field, the company you want to apply to and what value you can add to any company.
We are positive that you will sail through the interviews!
Best of luck!