The Internship Interview -- How to Make the Grade
So you've managed to get an internship interview. Now what?
Landing an internship may not be easy with dozens of competitors jockeying for the same position, but there are steps that you can take to ensure that you make a wondrous impression should you be called in for an interview. Follow these five steps to ace your next student internship interview.
1. Arrive Early
There are two reason why you'll want to show up to your internship interview a half hour early. First, you do not, for any reason, want to be late. The interviewer does not want to hear your perfectly legitimate excuse explaining why you're running 10 minutes behind schedule. Get there early to show that you care and respect the interviewer's time. Second, the extra time you allot yourself by arriving early allows you to actually find the building that you're looking for, in case you get lost. Plus, you can use the spare minutes to rehearse talking points.
2. Put on a Happy Face
No employer wants to interview a Gloomy Gus for a half hour; when you meet with a potential employer be sure to make eye contact, offer a firm handshake, and most importantly, wear a warm and engaging smile. Make sure not to bad-mouth principals, teachers or past companies you may have interned at, or any individuals that worked there. You can be perceived as a potential poison pill to the new organization.
3. Be Aware of Body Language
Internship interviews can be stressful situations. You're expected to smile, put your best foot forward, and come off as intelligent and interesting. In addition, there's always the pressure of knowing that your student internship can be snatched away with one faux pas. This can lead to fidgeting and stuttering -- which are easily remedied problems. If you're a fidgeter, keep your hands folded or ankles crossed to keep yourself aware of their positions and prevent yourself from moving them about spastically. If you tend to stutter under pressure, speak slowly and deliberately in order to enunciate well. [Find out what your body language says about you.]
4. Turn the Interview Into a Conversation
One of the pressures of the internship interview is the steady barrage of questions that you are expected to handle with grace and intelligence. But it doesn't have to be such a one-sided conversation; ask the interviewer about his or her time with the company, the duties associated with the internship for which you've applied, and other related queries.
5. Be Prepared to Discuss Yourself
We're often groomed by our parents and teachers to not be braggarts or to overly talk about oneself. Toss that out of the window. When the time comes to discuss your qualifications for a student internship, list your accomplishments. Did you successfully oversee a staff of writers as the head of the college paper? Were you the lead DJ of the college radio? Let your accomplishments, talents, and skills be known.