Navigating Interviews so Your Over-Accomplished Uncle Will Cut You Slack This Thanksgiving

By Isabel Insolia

 

It’s officially November. On one hand this month indicates midterm elections and the slow onset of final exam stress. Before exams however, as college students we are graced with a week-long break to honor an especially “good harvest” that happened in 1621 (Wikipedia, 2018).

 

Personally, I binge-eat twice-baked potatoes over a six-hour meal while explaining what “cuffing season” is to my Nana as delicately as possible. In the midst of all this fun family time, we are all dare-I-say bombarded with questions regarding our future career and/or internship plans.

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Following the UGA Career Fair and Grady’s student-run career fair – AdPR Connection – you may be gearing up for some interviews for spring or summer jobs. So, let’s take a beat and get you ready. Why trust what I have to say? Well, I’ve been working since I was 14 and I’ve worked a total of fifteen jobs since then. There was a brief period where I was working five jobs at once. I have been to dozens of interviews, seminars and have even held interviews for committees at UGA. This is my two cents of what I’ve learned so far.

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So, you got your foot in the door and have an interview scheduled. What next?

 

First off, congratulations on getting a callback to interview because that means your resume, skills, GPA, cover letter (or whatever) stood out from the dozens received. Now, the company want to get to know YOU.

 

Here are some general tips that may seem self-explanatory but I’m listing them because I’ve been told in multiple seminars how people slip up with these:

 

Be prepared! | Research the company- when it was founded, basic facts, their mission statement, their clients, etc. It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.

Be prepared. | That is how important this is. If you know the person interviewing you, Google them ahead of time. Look them up on LinkedIn- take notes. Find similarities between you that you can casually slide into the conversation to bond.

That being said…please do not bring up the time their middle school basketball team won state because it’s simply over the line.

The interview STARTS in the parking lot. | Be kind and courteous to everyone you meet from the time you leave your car to the time you return to it. People are aware. *eyes emoji*

 

Know your personality strengths and PLAY THEM UP. | You want them to see your ‘best self’. That being said, don’t NOT be yourself because if you do that and then land the job, you have to be this fake person that you cultivated in the interview and then you’ll be miserable.

For example: Don’t say you love working in groups if that terrifies you and you’d rather barricade yourself in a corner with headphones on and code for 14 hours.

 

DON’T CURSE | This is not a football tailgate or your brother’s bachelor party.

 

Don’t ever roll your eyes. | Generally, be very aware of you body posture and facial expressions. Don’t cross your arms and slink into the seat. Don’t prop your elbows up on the desk and lean forward aggressively. Just relax.

 

Be able to tell the interviewer things you’ve done that are NOT on your resume. | Whether this is expanding on a job that is on your resume or talking about a school position that you held, make sure to tell them details that they wouldn’t have known unless they met you.

 

Don’t answer the weakness question with a positive like “I’m too organized.” | Make your answer funny!

 

Have questions ready to ask at the end of the interview. | AT least ask about the company’s vibe or what the interviewer’s favorite part of working there is.

Dress professionally and conservatively. | Even if everyone in the office (like many today) dresses casually, you must dress up for the interview. I like wearing professional slacks, a blazer and a statement necklace to stand out a little and show I’m funky. This also varies depending on the sector you work in.

 

A final little tip – people love talking about themselves so if you’re stuck, just flip the conversation and let your interviewer talk about how great it was to work at Delta in their 20s. This applies to your Uncle Rick too. Everyone has an interesting story if you’re just willing to listen.

 

Once you prepare for your interviews, then you’ll feel THAT much better catching up with your Uncle Rick or Aunt Anna, and maybe you’ll also feel a little less stressed about final exams. Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

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