Congratulations: You have overcome the first hurdles and have been invited to an interview by a company. Your internship is within reach. Nevertheless, your stage fright prevails at the moment before the interview?
Are you afraid of doing something wrong? Don’t worry, here’s how to properly prepare for the interview and the basic things to keep in mind. In this way, you will leave a good first impression and master your personal acquaintance with the internship company with confidence.
1) Good preparation for the interview is half the battle
Maybe you are excited, maybe you feel absolutely uncomfortable: Nevertheless, good preparation is the essential basis for a successful job interview. Feel safe, it strengthens your self-confidence and your dream internship is getting closer and closer. There are many different aspects to good preparation: You should practice the interview, prepare the self-presentation and find out about the company.
Practice the interview
Especially if you are having an interview for the first time, it is certainly helpful if you practice the conversation between you and the person you are talking to at the company. Maybe even a family member, boyfriend, or girlfriend can take the part of the other person? It may sound childish to you at first to view an RPG as a serious rehearsal, but it is highly recommended and effective too. Let yourself be asked the typical application questions and then get honest feedback.
Question training for the job interview
Most job interviews usually have the same core: certain questions and subject areas are standard. In this way, you can prepare yourself very well for the typical introductory questions. Either practice the answers for yourself or use the role-play with a boyfriend or girlfriend. What is your personality? What are your strengths and your weaknesses?
Questions about the way you work, how you interact with colleagues, and your work ethic also play an important role in job interviews. Do not try to memorize the answers; rather, you should exude calm and confidence in answering the questions. With these tricks, you will not be taken by surprise at the job interview, but appear prepared and confident.
The 10 most common interview questions:
- What do you know about our company?
- Why do you want to do your internship with us?
- Why did you apply to us?
- Why should we hire you as an intern?
- Why do you think you are the right person for the internship?
- What are your personal strengths and weaknesses?
- What are you doing in your spare time?
- How do you deal with my problems?
- What would you like to have achieved in three / five / ten years?
- What would you like to earn?
Knowledge of the company
Sure, you probably know a lot about the company. Apparently, behind the internship, there is a certain interest in the company, the company, or the company. You should be able to deepen and answer this interest. It is very likely that you will also have to explain in the course of the interview how you came to want to do an internship in the company. As you prepare for the interview, try to think about it and come up with an approximate answer.
Nowadays, a look on the Internet can already help you: Did a certain topic address you? Do you find an appearance on social platforms, in the newspaper or anywhere else convincing? Do you share the same motivation and passion with the company?
2) Clarify organization, travel, and costs
A job interview does not always take place close to where you live, so a longer journey may be necessary. Therefore, you should find out whether the circumstances relating to travel and costs for an internship can be implemented before you send your application letter. If you would like to do an internship for a longer period in a completely different region or even abroad, you also have to think about living space or overnight accommodation.
Arrival/journey: If you have a long journey or even have to travel, you should always plan enough time. A certain buffer gives you the opportunity to arrive on time for the interview despite traffic jams or delays. If you would like to travel by public transport, you should find out about arrival and departure times in advance.
Possible overnight stay: If you have to travel a long way for the interview, it makes sense to think about an overnight stay. Do you know anyone in town? Do friends or acquaintances live nearby? If this is not the case, you should find a hotel room or a room in a hostel. Overnight stays are particularly useful if you have an early interview. So you can appear for the interview without a long journey and be well-rested.
Costs: Inquire with the company’s HR department to what extent possible travel costs will be reimbursed. Some companies cover the costs incurred for potential employees and interns.
Once you have made an overview of the necessary measures for a smooth arrival and departure, you should start planning and implementation at an early stage. The longer you wait, the more expensive hotel rooms, travel tickets, etc. can become.
3) Appropriate clothing for the interview
If you have received an invitation for an interview, you should find out about appropriate clothing. Remember, first impressions count. And this not only includes the content of the conversation but also your appearance. Make sure it looks neat and clean.
For banks and insurance companies, the dress code is more chic than casual. There you are right with a suit or costume, but in other industries more casual clothing is worn. You are on the safe side if you ask the relevant company in the HR department. Otherwise, it’s better to be chic than too casual.
The best thing to do is to find the right outfit a few days before the interview. Your clothes should be ironed and clean, your shoes should be polished. Well-groomed fingernails and a neat hairstyle are also part of a neat appearance.
4) Be polite and show a sense of humor
Even if you are being processed, the receptionist in the company is not really friendly and the HR manager hardly has time for you: Remain polite and score points with good manners. Certainly, it is sometimes not that easy if the other person does not convey the same respectful attitude to you, but you should still remain friendly and polite. The keyword here is smile. Show that you are happy about the interview, pay attention, and stay relaxed.
5) Accept drinks
It is very likely that you will be offered a drink. You should always accept this. It is best to choose non-carbonated water to avoid unpleasant burping. Especially when you are excited and have to talk a lot, you get thirsty. Therefore, do not refuse the drink at the beginning, even if you are not yet thirsty. In addition, a sip of water can also be helpful to skillfully cover up small pauses in memory. Can’t you think of a suitable answer to a question you asked? Then stay calm, pick up your glass, and drink.
6) Use your body language correctly
With our body language, we constantly send people consciously and unconsciously signals. Personnel managers in particular pay attention to body language during an interview. Above all, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, and posture as well as your way of speaking is taken into account more closely. Make sure you are in a straight and comfortable position or posture during the conversation. Don’t hang yourself too casually in a chair, but don’t look stiff and cramped either. Another useful tip related to body language is to mirror your counterpart.
Mirror your interlocutor
Under no circumstances should you imitate the person you are talking to and ridicule the situation. Nevertheless, you should imitate: That creates sympathy in the right amount.
- Is your interlocutor laughing? Then you laugh too, but not too affected and exaggerated.
- Does your interlocutor lean forward? Then bend forward too.
- Does your interlocutor reach for a glass? Then take a sip and take advantage of the break.
Try not to overdo it and try to join in every movement. Because that can backfire very quickly! If you find a middle ground, you can use imitation to good effect.
7) Take notes
So that you don’t forget any important point, you should and should take notes. You could take up these later for your own questions. In addition, you convey an honest interest and a structured way of working. The same applies here: find a middle ground. You do not need to write down every word your interlocutor says and write down a written reproduction of the conversation. Instead, write down keywords, questions, and unresolved issues.
Additional tip: It can also be helpful if you write down important questions that you really want to have clarified before the interview. These can be working hours, operational processes, or personal wishes.
8) Avoid standard answers
Of course, you’ll read a lot about job interviews, matching answers, and good behavior. But instead of memorizing the standard answers, answer the answers in relation to yourself. HR managers, bosses, and recruiters conduct interviews on a regular basis, and it quickly becomes apparent when you present a memorized answer or provide typical answers.
It is better if you draw attention to yourself in the interview with personal and unusual information and answers. Do you like to cook? Then don’t just write “Cooking” as a hobby, but specify the area, the type of cuisine, or your passion for vegetarian dishes. Do you exercise regularly and have a lot of fun? Then don’t just write “sport” in the leisure activities, but name the specific sport. Perhaps the HR manager can build on these points and small talk develops.