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April 11, 2012   

If you want to get a job, ever, you’ll probably have to interview before you obtain a position. Chances are you’ve interviewed already—for a summer job, to contribute to a story for your school newspaper or at Hamilton, as a supplement to your written application.


Hamilton’s Career Center emphasizes the importance of learning how to interview by the end of your junior year, but most people find themselves in an interview-type situation long before this, whether it’s a formal job interview or more of a conversation between friends. Any kind of social interaction in which the participants are learning things about one another requires the same basic skills: listening, focus, awareness of other and awareness of self. Professional interviews just require a little more preparation.


You never want to go into an interview without knowing why you’re there. That probably sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to conflate having the qualifications for a position and being a good match for a company. The two are, really, quite different. Research, research, research!


Before the day of your interview, at least a week in advance, brainstorm questions that your prospective employer might ask you. There are a few classic interview prompts: “Tell me about yourself”; “Why do you want to go into Industry X?”; “What is your greatest weakness?” Prepare answers to these questions beforehand, so that if you struggle at all during your interview, it isn’t over one of these predictable questions.


And, of course, it’s important to dress professionally, which usually means more conservatively than a teenager or early 20-something dresses on a daily basis. You’ll feel more confident going into your interview if you are confident about your appearance.


This week, I’m taking on a marathon of interviews in hopes of securing a summer internship. Wish me luck?