4 tips for a successful interview

Alaina Galasso, Editor in Chief

During high school, we students often experience our first sets of imperative interviews. Whether it’s for a job, to be involved in a certain program or even to get into the college of your dreams, these interviews can guarantee or ruin the opportunity for you. I have had my fair share of rough and good interviews, so here are snippets of advice I have personally picked up within the past few years.

  1. Be yourself.

You’ve probably heard this thousands of times in various situations, but it is the most applicable piece of advice I can offer. Don’t give fake answers to try to impress your interviewers.  Colleges and businesses want to know who you are as a person so they can judge if you are someone they want to work with. Your honest replies will connect you to your interviewer in a way that false answers, intended to make you sound smarter, will not. For example, if they ask you what your favorite book is, don’t lie and say it is Moby Dick when, in reality, it is actually Harry Potter. If you answer truthfully, then you will appear less flustered and will be able to  confidently answer any follow up questions regarding your answer. And you never know, your interviewer might have an interest in Harry Potter as well and remember your face for that reason.

  1.       Research beforehand.

While going into an interview, most people don’t believe that there is much to prepare for ahead of time. On  the contrary, there are multiple things you can do in order to walk into an interview feeling more self-assured. Make sure that you thoroughly research the college, restaurant, store or the program you are applying to. Use the internet, magazines or other sources of information to understand the place’s history and who is in charge (they might be your interviewer!). A part of this process might be talking to a student at the college or listening to an employee’s perspective on working that job. You want to know anything and everything about the institution that applies to you so you appear knowledgeable and very interested. Many interviews ask why you are applying in the first place, so use this research to have a solid answer set in place. Come with questions as well to secure your apparent interest and to show your readiness to learn.

  1.  Practice, and give yourself lots of time to do so.

You can’t practice for an interview like you would for a sport, but you can most definitely go through a few trial runs. Ask an adult, whether it is one of your parents, teachers or family friends, to ask you a few practice questions. Not only will this expose you to potential questions that the interviewer might ask, but it will also get you used to talking to an adult face to face and coming up with answers on the spot. Interviews can be terrifying, but if you know how to talk to an adult then they can be slightly less so. These adults might also give you their own set of tips or may point some things out to you that you do either negatively or positively during a conversation. Conduct these practice interviews weeks before the real one, so that you have time to think of potential question responses and time to practice any advice given to you.

  1.      Present yourself well.

This tip may seem obvious, but it really will make the difference to your interviewer. Dress nicely and professionally, depending on the conditions of your interview. If you are meeting in a coffee shop, settle for a nice dress shirt and your best jeans. If you are meeting in the place’s office, then dress up a little with a business casual dress or khakis with shirt and tie combination. Make sure your face looks clean (girls: not too heavy of makeup) and your hair is neatly put together. Act as if you are on a first date and make sure you bring breath mints and put on sufficient amounts of deodorant beforehand. While in the interview, aim to really blow your interviewer away. Smile constantly (even if it feels unnatural), make sure you keep good posture throughout the interview and look for every opportunity to talk about your accomplishments and unique traits. Lastly, ensure that you maintain eye contact throughout the duration of the interview. You don’t want to appear scared or childish in anyway, so show maturity by listening attentively at all times. If you are having an online interview, place googly eyes around your computer camera so you remember to look up while speaking. Leave your interviewer wanting to work with you because you are mature and happy to do so.