A job interview can induce anxiety, nervousness, and unease in even the most seasoned professionals. Yet, for students, that anxiety can be tenfold. Students don’t just possess fewer experiences of job interviews; they generally have less direct work experience and work history, too, making the interview just a bit more challenging to prepare for, to say the least. That’s why interview tips for students can provide a valuable way to gain insights into what to expect.
All is not lost, though; there are still things students can do to prepare for an upcoming interview. We’re going to provide some valuable interview tips for students that will help you prepare for an upcoming interview and calm your nerves beforehand. We’ll also look at how the interview process itself works. You’ll learn that an interview should be viewed as a positive step on the route to employment. It’s also important to remember that even so-called failures can form part of the path to success, and they’re an opportunity to get some experience under your belt.
As always, we highly recommend revisiting your resume and ensuring that all pertinent sections are wholly completed. It’s also a great idea to include any relevant traits that may help you progress in lieu of real-world work experience. While not a direct contributor to receiving a job offer, your resume is a primary tool for success in getting a job interview. Therefore, it’s of utmost importance that you ensure your resume is fully completed and accurately portrays your work and education experience.
What is a Student?
Before we dive into our list of interview tips for students, it’s important we establish what a student actually is. Generally, a student is someone who has no previous work experience. While being a student can present a difficult predicament when you’re attempting to land a corporate role, it’s essential to understand that everyone was once a student. From Fortune 100 CEOs to senior managers, every employee had to start somewhere. You may feel like starting from scratch is difficult, and that can make you feel uncomfortable too, but you shouldn’t get hung up on your lack of experience. Instead, it’s best that you focus on your strengths during the interview – and you do have many strengths, whether you realize that or not.
Interview Tips for Students
Right, let’s get straight to some helpful hints that’ll put you in a more relaxed frame of mind and help you get to where you want to be with less stress. Always keep in mind, when you’re looking at entry-level jobs, nearly every applicant is in the same boat. They’ll likely have little or no previous experience – and most such roles provide on-job training. Think of your first foray into the job market as being a great leveler. You’ve done the right things up until now. In time, the fact you sacrificed a few years in order to go to college is going to help you progress up the career ladder. Rather than being forced just to hold down a series of jobs, your first interview is just a way to get your foot in the door. With that in mind, let’s look at some helpful interview tips for students!
Arrive at the Interview in Good Time
Arriving on time is perhaps one of the most important aspects of any interview, but even more so for a student. According to the Huffington Post, a survey of over 850 hiring managers found 93% said that being late hurt a candidate’s hiring chances. As someone with little or no experience, you’ll want to make a good impression immediately. That can be accomplished by arriving at the interview location early.
Typically, you should aim to arrive at any interview location between fifteen and twenty minutes earlier than the start time. That will help you get settled and ensure that you don’t get caught up in traffic or any unforeseen issues. On top of that, you’ll be able to calm your nerves before the interview. Take some time to use the bathroom and check your appearance. The more time you have within the building before the interview starts, the more prepared you’ll be speaking with the interviewer.
Bring Multiple Copies of Your Resume
While you may get scheduled to meet with one, two, or even three individuals, that can change quickly. If you’re well-liked, the interviewer may request additional employees to come in and meet with you – or a senior manager might request that they sit in on proceedings. You should always get prepared for the unknown and unexpected, so bringing multiple copies of your resume will leave you better placed.
As a general rule of thumb, you should look to bring five copies of your resume to any interview. As a recommendation, the resumes you take to the interview should be printed on resume paper. While not necessary, a resume paper helps you to appear more professional and prepared for an interview.
No matter if you’re interviewing for a retail position, an internship, or an entry-level position, you should aim to dress professionally. That means dressing to impress and wearing clothing that is appropriate for the workplace.
As the interviewer will no doubt consider the clothing you select, you’ll want to remember that first impressions matter – a lot. Your clothing should not only be business professional but should also be free of any stains, dirt, or debris. You should also ensure that your clothes are wrinkle-free, fits perfectly, and get adequately ironed.
Bring a List of Questions to Ask the Interviewer
An interview doesn’t just provide a recruiter with an opportunity to quiz you; you’ll also be expected to have questions about the company and role too. Think of your interview as a two-way interaction, with discussions levied by both the interviewer and the interviewee. As such, you should research the business and the position thoroughly before the interview starts. You’ll need to have a solid understanding of the company, the products it offers, and the services it provides. Don’t leave anything to chance – because that can lead to awkward silences. Research more than you need, and you’ll be far less likely to be stuck for things to say and to ask during the meeting.
As you are researching the company, be sure to write down between three and five questions to ask the interviewer. These questions should be related to the position for which you are applying – as well as being relevant to the overall business and sector. Generally, you’ll want to ask at least a couple of questions about what the role entails.
Bring a Backpack or Briefcase
In addition to bringing multiple copies of your resume, you’ll want to bring along a backpack, purse, or suitcase for carrying your documents. To come off more professional, you should present with a bag, purse, or briefcase that is professional and clean.
Try to avoid walking into the interview with your documents, resumes, and list of questions in hand. Not only will holding those documents make introducing yourself a whole lot more difficult, but those papers and documents risk getting lost, wrinkled, or creased.
Maintain Proper Hygiene
Next on our list of interview tips for students is to maintain proper hygiene and be mindful of your appearance. While not discussed too much, you’ll want to ensure that your overall look is formal, professional, and business-like. For men, that means maintaining your facial hair, and every applicant can benefit from spraying a few spritzes of cologne or perfume.
Follow the Interview Up Appropriately
As another general rule, you’ll want to chase up the interviewer appropriately after the meeting is done. That means contacting them via email within 24-hours of the interview. That follow-up email should simply be a thank you for their time and should also express how much you enjoyed meeting the individual or team. You’ll also want to recall some points of conversation from during the interview and reiterate your excitement and enthusiasm for the role.
While the interviewer may not respond to your follow-up email, it’s always important to send one – and doing so costs absolutely nothing. A follow-up email is an excellent way to keep your application and candidacy in the interviewer’s mind. It also serves as a thoughtful gesture and will likely be noted positively.
Conclusion: Interview Tips for Students
So, let’s sum up. Generally, the best interview tips for students are about maintaining a level of confidence – and you can do that by following our hints about preparation. You’ll also benefit from conveying a sense of self-assurance – and that comes from reviewing your resume, adding any relevant computer skills for an entry-level role, as well as having a clear idea about highlights from your academic journey. The interviewer will also be looking for reliable candidates – and you can achieve that by arriving on time. Remember that as a student, you’ll want to give off the best impression from the get-go and maintain that level after the interview is completed by sending a follow-up email.