Having to go on interviews and participate in being an adult literally sucks so bad. They are awkward, stressful and you find yourself over analyzing everything from how “firm” your handshake was to how you wore your hair that day. No? Just me? Ok!
I’ve been out of college for almost three years now *sigh* and I’ve gone on my fair share of interviews at this point. Some I completely nailed and I got the internship/job and others I thought I did well, and they ended up going with someone else.
I’m 24 now and currently looking for a new position and even though I have substantial experience and knowledge in my field, interviewing is still stressful, unfortunately. But, I’ve complied some tips to hopefully help you mentally prepare for your interviews and just the overall process in general.
- Keep track of what the heck you are doing.
This I actually cannot take credit for, one of my bff’s Kelly has been obsessed with spreadsheets ever since I’ve known her and her psychotic ways have rubbed off onto me. Keep a spreadsheet of what company you’re interviewing for, what date you applied on, the position and you can even include a recruiter name if you have one. It’s really helpful in keeping organized because it’s honestly impossible to keep track of everything you apply for. Another fact about Kelly is that she applied for 38 positions before she got the one she wanted. I’m right there behind her, I’ve currently applied for 25 event coordinator/meeting planner positions and I’m still looking so please do not feel discouraged after your first no.
2. Sometimes It’s Not You. The classic, it’s not you, it’s me. But actually, sometimes you can ace your interview, prepare as much as possible, follow up and really think you have this one. Then, the company decides to hire from within, or someone in the company knows someone who is looking for a job and they have that one up on you. There is nothing you can do about situations like that and in my personal opinion, I would rather not know that. You can’t beat yourself up after every interview or after every rejection in your life, it’s exhausting and it’s not worth it.
3. You Are Interviewing These Companies Too. I feel like this is my number one piece of advice. Just because you’ve just graduated or you’re young or you’re interviewing for an entry level position, does NOT mean you have to take the bottom of the barrel position and/or the first thing that is tossed your way. Stop that. You need to envision yourself at this company since you will be spending 40+ hours a week there, you should be somewhat happy. Also, trust me, money is not a longterm motivation. I took a job right after college that did not have anything to do with what I went to school for and although I was making decent money, it was extra hard to get up and go do work that I absolutely cared nothing about.
4. Every Interview is Experience. Even if you don’t get a position that you were hoping for, every interview is experience under your belt and just like everything else, practice makes perfect. You’re putting yourself out there, practicing answering questions and learning how to better respond. So don’t even think of interviews as being a waste of time. Also, if you were lucky enough to get an interview, they obviously saw something in you in the first place (small victories people, small victories).
5. Stay Positive. This may seem like common sense, but try to keep a positive mind, you may think people don’t notice, but 9 times out of 10, they do. Interviewers are literally there to judge you (harsh, sorry) so you definitely don’t want self doubt to be written all over your face. I always call someone before my interviews, just to take my mind off of it for a second. It really does help, because at that point, whatever is going to happen will happen.
6. Always Ask Questions. I know after an interview comes to a close you want to run out of there to the nearest bar for a drink (like I said, they’re stressful so idc what you say) but when they ask you if you have any questions, definitely take advantage of this opportunity. Remember tip #3 above? Use this time to see who you would be reporting to, what team you will be working with, what are the hours of the position, etc. You can also use this opportunity to see what the next steps are so you aren’t just aimlessly waiting around for an answer. If they don’t plan on making a decision for two weeks, you won’t be beating yourself up in the meantime, you will somewhat know what to expect.
7. Take a Moment. This was one of the most valuable things I learned while prepping for interviews: when someone asks you a question, it is okay to take a moment to think. Again, I know that this may sound like common sense advice, but when it was said to me, my mind was honestly blown. When an interviewer asks you “explain a time at work when something went wrong and how you fixed the situation.” Taking a moment to think about your answer and formulate your thoughts may seem awkward, but in the end you will have a clearer answer and you’re less likely to ramble on and on and forget what the question was in the first place.
Interviewing sucks, it just does. But, whatever is meant to be, will be. Staying positive is very very important, if you don’t believe in yourself, why would anyone else?
p.s. I believe in you 🙂