Tuition fees are out of this world. You have so many expenses that it’s impossible to make ends meet without making money of your own. Many students rely on work study programs to help, but these options aren’t available to everyone. So, what’s the solution? To find a part-time job off-campus.
But how do you get the job that you want? After submitting a winning resume and stellar cover letter, the application process culminates with an interview. This is a very important step that helps hiring managers decide whether you’ll be a good fit for the company or not.
Read on for 15 great tips to help you get through this step like a boss.
1. Provide enough information about yourself before you get the interview.
Pay a lot of attention to the application documents. If you submit a generic resume and get lucky enough to be invited for an interview, the hiring manager will start from scratch. They know nothing about you. So they will ask the most dreaded question of all: “Tell me about yourself.”
But if your resume and cover letter offer enough conversation starters, you’ll have a more comfortable interview. Maybe you linked to your personal blog and the employer saw it. “I read your last article on the blog. I don’t agree with this. Could you explain a bit more?” That’s a real discussion starter.
2. Schedule the interview at a time that’s convenient for you.
You get a call back from the company asking when your available for an interview. You say: “Whenever it’s suitable for you.”
You have to suggest timing that doesn’t collide with your schedule as a student. You don’t want to miss important classes and activities for this. Don’t worry; employers are usually flexible. If they asked for timing, they want you to suggest it.
3. Turn off your phone.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but cell phones have become such a ubiquitous part of our lives that we sometimes forget about them. The last thing you want is someone calling you in the middle of an interview. App notifications are also disturbing. Turn off — or at least silence — your phone before you arrive for your interview.
4. Show up alone.
Someone has to drive you there? Okay, but do you have to bring them into the building with you? You’re an adult, applying for a real adult job, don’t bring your friend or parent with you. Always show up alone. Your companion can wait in a coffee shop nearby.
5. Arrive 10 minutes early.
You don’t want to get there too early. That makes office employees uncomfortable because they don’t know what to do with you. At the same time, showing up exactly at the scheduled start time is an equally bad look, especially as the company may have forms that you want you to fill out before your interview begins. You don’t want to keep hiring managers waiting.
Arrive to your interview 10 minutes early. This will give you time to focus before the interview starts while also being considerate to hiring managers.
6. Keep the company’s number in your phone.
What if something comes up and you can’t get there on time? It’s okay. You can call ahead and notify the company so their prepared. So keep that number on you at all times.
7. Look presentable.
Most jobs you interview for as a student won’t require a suit and tie, but that doesn’t mean you should show up in jeans and a t-shirt. Think business casual. This means nice slacks or a skirt and a button-up or sweater.
Pro Tip: Pay attention to what other employees are wearing. You may be called back for a second interview and this way you’ll know exactly what type of attire is appropriate.
8. If you have to wait before the interview, be classy about it.
Maybe the interviewer is unexpectedly busy and needs to see you later than the scheduled time. Maybe they’re doing this on purpose, so they can test your patience. Be classy about it! Do not complain. Do not look annoyed or impatient. Don’t turn to earphones or social media. Just sit and wait. How long could it possibly take?
9. Mind the first impression.
You get in the interview room and it’s the most uncomfortable situation ever. What do you do with your hands? Where should you look? Do you immediately approach the interviewer, or wait for them to introduce themselves?
Approach them. They will probably stand up to greet you; it’s interviewing etiquette. “Good morning Mr./Ms. *surname*” said with a warm smile will be enough for a start. Mind the handshake, too. It should be firm; not fluttery. Don’t crush their hand, though!
10. Active listening is crucial to success.
When preparing for an interview, most students will search for tips on common interview mistakes and FAQs. They focus so much on those preparations that they forget how to be spontaneous.
It’s okay to search for tips. But the most important thing is to listen and go with the flow. Be very attentive to the question and answer without digressions.
11. Be polite and courteous.
The interviewer may be tired, bored, or moody. It doesn’t matter. You’re the one being evaluated, so you have to be polite and kind all the time.
12. Don’t be modest.
Humility is not a good feature to show during interviews. You should be able to sell yourself, so the interviewer will see why you’re better than other candidates. When asked about your qualities, talk about them. When you’re telling the truth, there’s no reason to be humble about your achievements.
13. Stay positive.
Your interviewer will probably ask why you’re applying to this job. If you have past work experience, they’ll also likely ask why you left those past jobs. Whatever your reasons are, focus on the positive. Don’t spend time discussing negative aspects of your past job or complaining about all the loans you needed to take out for college. Instead, highlight your future and tell employers why you’re excited to work with them and how this job will contribute to your future career.
14. Ask away.
“Do you have any questions?” That’s what an interviewer usually asks at the end. Think of a good question to ask. Don’t talk about money, though. You can ask about the growth opportunities they offer to students in the company or what types of projects you’ll get to work on.
15. Send a thank you note.
It may sound silly, but thank you notes are still an important part of interview etiquette. Plus, a thank you makes you a memorable candidate. So make sure you send one after the interview!
No need to send it by airmail though, an email if perfectly acceptable. In the note, thank the interviewer for their time and remind them why you’re excited to join the team.
You Got This!
You’re full of life, enthusiasm, and hopes for the future. That’s a student’s appeal during an interview process. Your youthful spirit is something that every employer appreciates, so you already have an advantage.
Don’t stress out. The interview is a step you have to pass, and you’ll go through it just fine. The above-listed tips will definitely help.
About Alyssa Johnson: Alyssa knows tons of life-hacks about being a student. She shares them through her blog posts. Currently, Alyssa works as a writer for EduBirdie and helps students to overcome academic writing struggles. Every student can get through college easily; they just need a helping hand.