To some, the answer comes easily. Unfortunately, for many others it does not. In an interview, a few seconds of silence can seem like a lifetime.
“The first step that someone needs to do when preparing for an interview would be to have self awareness, because you can’t really brag on yourself and talk about all the things that make you a fit for a company if you haven’t assessed yourself,” said Katie Mantooth, career counselor at Auburn University.
The real question is how you will explain yourself to the interviewer and answer the questions that will follow. In order to do this, you need to know and be able to explain your strengths and weaknesses. You need to seem unique and irreplaceable to that particular organization.
Going into an interview without any prior preparation may cost you the position you are seeking.
The second step as an interviewee is to research the company and position you are pursuing prior to the interview. This step is extremely important.
“Some of the feedback we get from the employers is that students will say, ‘now who are y’all with? What was the job about,’” Mantooth said. “You might as well just turn around and go.”
Prior knowledge of the company or organization shows that you’re serious about the job. You want employers to know you really want that particular position.
After researching yourself and the organization, you need to prepare for the interview questions.
The Career Center on campus is just one place that will help prepare you for upcoming job and campus organization interviews.
Understanding what kind of interview you are walking into helps with knowing how to answer the questions.
Different organizations have different questions because they want to learn about you in different ways.
Job interviews are primarily based on your strengths and weaknesses in relationship to the position. Campus organizations can be different.
“We look for people who are team players and interested in growing their leadership skills,” said Anne Smead, president of the University Program Council.
It’s helpful to understand how particular organizations’ interviews will work. “People have all different personalities which is often the best part of the interview,” Smead said. “Our goal is to get to know each candidate, relax and be yourself during the interview.”
Mantooth said the main preparation resource the Center offers is the mock interview.
The counselors research the company or organization you are interviewing with and create realistic, potential questions they may ask.
“We would really like for the mock to be a true dress rehearsal,” Mantooth said.
Students even come in dressed in the outfit they will wear on the day of their real interview. That way, they can make sure it is appropriate.
“When I did the mock interview, it helped me a lot,” said Brackston Mayhall, senior in engineering. “I kind of realized that I really did not have a good idea of what was going to happen.”
If you don’t have a particular company in mind, but you still want the practice, Interview Stream is a helpful tool. This program, found on the Center’s website, provides practice with general interview questions.
The Career Center has other tools that are very helpful for preparing for interviews. Type Focus and Focus are programs that help students for self-reflection and self-assessments.
“It just gives you some of that language to better articulate ‘hey, this is who I am,’” Mantooth said. “This is who I can bring to the table.”
The Career Center is located in Mary Martin Hall, Room 303. For helpful tips and more information, you can visit the website: www.auburn.edu/career.
Answering questions and dressing professionally may not seem like a lot, but these components make up the interview. And the interview is a huge part of the application process. Practice and a mental blueprint will help ensure that your interview will be more successful.