Congratulations! You've made it this far! Now what?
First, interviewing is a skill and like any skill, one can learn to do it well. People who interview well tend to get offers. Those who succumb to anxiety during the process, get fewer offers. It is possible to become comfortable with interviewing. There is a tried and proven method that can make the process a lot less daunting.
Simply, it's choosing eight to ten questions from a list of common interview questions and writing a ½ page response to each selected question. Index cards work very well because they're more portable. Then review the questions and answers until you're very comfortable. The result of this exercise is that you will learn of yourself in uncharted ways. This exercise also serves as a reminder to answer the question that was asked. A half page allows for thoroughness. In an unprepared-for interview, it is easy to find ones' self rambling on, filling the silence and never really answering the asked question. Practicing your responses will remind you of how to respond and STOP. Tip: Silence in an interview is not bad. A good interviewer is listening to you and needs time to process what you say so practice being comfortable with the silence.
The purpose of the exercise of writing out your responses is not to memorize questions and answers. It's to remind you of what's important to convey during the interview.
The next logical question is, "what if I don't pick the questions they ask?" The answer: it doesn't matter. The process of really thinking through the answers and questions will so acquaint you with yourself that you will be prepared to answer any asked questions better than had you not prepared.
Remember: preparation is key.
Commonly asked interview questions are available on a variety of job search sites. A pretty good list can be found at http://www.quintcareers.com/interview_questions.html.
FACTOID: Employers say they extend jobs, on average, to 38.8% of new college grads they interview and an average of 66.5% accept their offers. Based on these averages, employers interview 3.9 new college grads for every hire they make. The averages are slightly less for internships but success still depends greatly on preparation!
FACTOID: Who Gets Hired: Interviewing Skills Are a Prehire Variable. The better a student interviews, the more positively he or she will be perceived by the recruiter, even after considering the quality of the résumé. NACE Winter Journal 1998.
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