What is the Secret to a Great Interview?

Job OfferPost #10 How to Have a Great Interview

It is never too soon to start thinking about your next internship or job interview.  An internship, or some other form of professional work experience, is one of the single most important steps you can take as an engineering student.  There is no better way to understand a professional engineering environment unless you get to live it.  But many others around you also have interviews; how do you possibly compete with so many people? Read on if you want to learn the secret to a great interview.

Start with the Obvious

I will start with the first obvious tip:  always have a stellar resume and impeccable physical presentation.  A stellar resume contains proper spelling, content, spacing, etc.  Ask your professors, tutors or your campus career center for resume feedback and do it well before any career fair.  Dress appropriately, groom yourself and omit the cologne/perfume.

The second obvious tip:  do NOT lie.  Under any circumstance, do not embellish or exaggerate your experiences, roles or grades.  This rule applies to your resume as well as to your personal interviews.  Lies have a way of resurfacing, sometimes years later.

But There is More…

The secret to a great interview is not obvious, and it is something most students do not realize.  Both parties, you and the employer, are wanting to find a good match for each other.  The interviewer will most likely have studied your resume prior to the questioning.  The interviewers are most likely going to ask you about items that are already on your resume.   So, why do they feel the need to ask about your credentials that are so clearly laid out on your stellar resume?

Authenticity

The Secret

The secret you should know is that the interviewers are assessing your personality!  Some things they think about during the questioning include:  is this student articulate; is this student genuine; is this student going to be an asset or a hindrance; is this student going to work well with my employees; is this person a go-getter or will this person wait around for specific instructions; what kind of vibe is this student giving me?

In other words, the interviewers want to see how you carry yourself.  They want to judge your character and your delivery. This information helps them determine how you would fit in with their professional culture.  No matter your accomplishments, they decide if an offer is fitting for both sides.  Your job during the interview is to show them exactly who you are.  So just relax!

The bottom line is that the interview process allows the employer to determine if your personality would mesh well in their organization.  Be yourself, be authentic and do not lie.  Interviewers know how to detect hollow candidates and canned answers.  You can compare the interview process with the dating process – both parties must agree it is worth a try and an inauthentic personality will come back to haunt.

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