Hey beautiful people! I hope everyone is doing well and taking it easy as finals season is upon us! I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for a while and I thought it’d be fitting to do it now as people begin to transition to look for fall internships (or summer internships; it’s never too late!). The application process is pretty easy, but what’s always been the scariest part to me was the interviews. Interviews never get easier, but you do get more comfortable with experience as you learn how to navigate these conversations. The thing is you have to look at them just as that: they’re conversations and you have to let them flow naturally. It’s like you’re trying to meet the perfect match for you while you’re trying to convince others that you’re a perfect match for them.
Interviews are about selling yourself in the best way possible however it is also a great opportunity to learn about the company that you’re trying to work with; you want to know if they’re a good fit for you and how they will help you develop your professional career. That being said you should always always always take advantage of the questions section. Asking lukewarm questions is worse than asking none at all so come prepared with a list of questions that are beneficial for both you and the interviewed. Before I start, though, I feel a need to start with some things you should NOT do during interviews:
Do no ask anything you could’ve easily found online. This includes what the culture of the company is like or who their top competitor is. This makes you look unprepared as it shows you didn’t do your research (do your research people!).
Avoid yes or no questions. You want to create dialogue and jump from ideas that develop throughout the conversation. Also, people love to talk about themselves so give your interviewer a chance to show off a little.
Never ask about money. Employers love enthusiasm, but asking about pay or salary is a little too eager and gives the impression that you’re only there for the paycheck as opposed to the company itself. It’s best to ask about this once you’ve actually received an offer.
Answer with a non-answer. If you’re asked a technical question about the field of work that you don’t know the answer to don’t even think about making something up. If you don’t know be honest and say that you don’t know, but also express that you are eager to learn. Similarly with starting to come up with an answer only to forget the question; don’t just ramble on, stop for a second and politely ask them to repeat the question.
Don’t forget to smile. Literally. That’s all you have to do, smile and ask them how they are. Even if they don’t seem to reciprocate your kindness it will definitely not go unnoticed.
Now, here’s the top five questions you definitely should be asking your interviewers:
“How will this company invest in me so I can become a more valuable asset to it?”
This is a big question so it might not be the first one you want to ask, however this truly shows that you want to grow your own skills not just for yourself but to work better within the frame of the company. This shows that you’re not only thinking about the present but also the future and that you have intentions to continue building on your own abilities. Every time I’ve asked this interviewers seemed impressed and had to stop and think to answer the question, but I highly recommend you always ask this with confidence.
“What differentiates a good employee from an outstanding one?”
Pretty self explanatory; you’re showing ambition and that you intend on doing more than the bare minimum. Not only this, the answer you get basically includes all the keys to success, something that you’ll need if you’re looking to get noticed and move up within the company. Don’t be afraid to kiss up a little.
“Is there space for asking questions and learning from mistakes?”
This is a good question to ask if it’s for an internship or if you are completely new to the field. It makes you seem inquisitive and willing to learn from mistakes, plus you get a feel for just how helpful the people there are. If no one is willing to guide you throughout your first couple of weeks then is that really a company you want to be working in? You need to know whether the company will provide a space for you to learn and grow freely, so don’t be afraid to show a little vulnerability with this question.
‘Is there anything on my resume you’d like for me to clarify?’
Give the interviewer a chance to address any red flags or any concerns they have about your work history or anything else on your resume so you can explain anything you think is missing or suspicious. If there’s nothing to explain you should still ask this as it opens up an opportunity for you to elaborate on leadership experiences or any outstanding achievements. Let yourself show off a little!
“What do you most look forward to when you come into work every day?”
(OR “What was a transformative moment for you at this firm and why?”)
People remember you most if you make them smile, so ask something that makes them happy! They’ll start thinking about everything they enjoy about their job and radiate that joy during the interview. Ask them to elaborate on their own experiences and maybe even share anecdotes that give you a more personal account of the environment. They will definitely not forget you if they shared some intimate conversation with you.
I’d love to hear any questions y’all have asked during interviews that have worked well or maybe even surprised the interviewer! Leave them below in the comments 🙂