Interview Survival Guide

It’s interview season! There’s more to a good interview than a firm handshake and a stunning resume. Whether it’s for a big summer internship, a camp counselor position or a leadership role on campus, you need to know how to make a lasting impression. Although each one is different, here are a few things that can help you prepare for an interview.

Dress the part.

Wearing a nice outfit will not only make you look professional, but it will also make you feel more confident. For some campus and local interviews, you will be notified how to dress. If there’s no description, assume it’s at least business casual. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed. Even when you are applying for something like a summer camp where you’ll be wearing shorts every day, dressing up nicer than usual shows your commitment to the position and that you take the opportunity seriously. Not only will you look good, but you’ll feel good, too.

Talk to yourself.

You might not know the exact questions your interviewer will ask you, but you can brainstorm some ideas of what they’ll want to know about you. Why did you apply? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What makes a good employee, counselor, etc.? Practice saying your answers to these questions out loud and it will make the interview so much easier. Driving to class, standing in front of the mirror or even in the shower are all great places to talk to yourself and practice interview question responses. Hearing yourself out loud can help you prepare and figure out the best way to word your replies.

Don’t think too quick.

Sometimes at an interview, a question will come up that you have no idea how to answer. Instead of making something up on the spot and rambling until you find your point, it’s okay to think for a second before you open your mouth. Chances are, interviewers are hoping that this will make you think hard and they used a difficult question on purpose. Interviewers won’t mind a second or two of silence, especially if it means you are formulating a good response.

Question everything.

At the end of your interview, you will probably be asked, “Do you have any questions?” Although it’s tempting to say no and just get out of there, it’s a good idea to ask at least one question. This shows you care about this position and want to know more about what you’re getting into. Your interviewers have spent the last half hour asking about you, and now it’s your turn to find out about them. If you have questions about the hours you might work, the types of tasks you’ll complete or the mission of the company – ask away! You don’t want to get stuck with a position you hate, and asking questions can help ensure that you really want to do this.

End your interview with a smile and a “thank you!” Although they can be scary, interviews are essential for showing off your skills and personality that might not be seen on a paper resume. Be yourself and good luck, Sooners!

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