18 Jan How To Interview: Q&A
How To Interview: Q&A Session With Absolute Internship
We get questions from students all the time on “how to interview.” What are the best techniques to land that internship or job? What should I say to make them like me? Better yet, what shouldn’t I say? The good news is, there’s no one right way to interview. Cliché as it may sound, the key to acing any interview is to be yourself. We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions from students with our tips for being the perfect interviewee.
What is an elevator pitch?
Think of an elevator pitch like this: you’ve just stepped into the elevator with Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg and you only have 10 floors to convince him you’re the perfect hire for their internship scheme. While this situation is highly unlikely, it’s more likely you’ll be asked in an interview to “tell about yourself.” In interview world, this is code for elevator pitch. Tie in a few of your work or school-related experiences into soft skills, which make you a strong candidate. For example, if you were Treasurer for your university German Club, highlight the importance of responsibility in your role and how it has led you to become an independent and reliable employee. Avoid simply reciting your CV credentials, your interviewer likely has it sitting right next to them- that’s why you got the interview in the first place, now’s your shot to let your personality shine through.
What’s the difference between soft and hard skills?
The difference is simpler than you think! A hard skill is something tangible, like Microsoft Office proficiency, specific software certifications or maybe you’re just CPR certified. Soft skills on the other hand are more indicative of your personality and work ethic. Maybe you love giving presentations, so you have strong verbal communication skills, or you’ve played sports since you were a kid, which makes you a strong team player. Key here is to be honest. Don’t say you’re an independent worker when really you thrive in a group environment; you may land the job, but find it’s actually not suited for you or your abilities.
How do I answer the dreaded weakness question?
This is clearly a favorite and you’ll likely be judged more on how you answer, rather than what your answer is. This should be a no brainer, but it has to be said: never say you have no weaknesses. While this may sound like the perfect answer, it’s actually the worse answer you can give; we all have weaknesses and they’re nothing to be ashamed of. Whatever your weakness may be the most important thing is to show you recognize what it is and you’re taking steps for self-improvement. Also, try not to be generic. Answers like “I’m a perfectionist” or “I work too hard” will not land you points for creativity.
Can I ask questions, too?
Yes! We want you to ask questions, it shows you are interested and seriously considering the position. Landing a new job or internship should be an equally fruitful match on the side of both employer and employee. Make sure you get all the details of the role, expectations and organization you’ll be working for. You’ll feel way more at ease and able to make a well-informed decision should you get an offer.
What is the appropriate follow-up after an interview?
Think back to when you were a child and after your birthday party, your mom always made you send thank-you notes. An interview is quite similar! You’ve been given the opportunity for an interview (the gift), so to show your appreciation, why not send a polite email (the thank you note) expressing your gratitude and looking forward to hearing back. It won’t take you more than two minutes and gives your application that extra oomph, which can make the difference between receiving a yes or a no.
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