Internship Series: Five Steps to Ace an Interview with Confidence

This post is a part of a four part blog series covering the interns at Duke University Press. Today’s post provides information on preparing for an interview. There are a variety of of interview styles companies use for interviewing potential interns and employees. Duke University Press conducts behavioral interviews to understand how you have handled situations in previous positions and how you will handle potential situations at The Press. These interviews can occur on the phone, in traditional locations including in in the office, or an auditorium at Duke University for a speed dating formatted interview. We asked interns to share their list of interview dos and don’ts after successfully securing their current positions at Duke University Press.

Business people greeting and handshakeBe early. Being early is the most common tip the current Duke University Press interns have to offer future interns. They suggested a range of times between 5 and 30 minutes early. Giving yourself enough time to arrive is very important, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the location where you are interviewing.

Be yourself and don’t downplay your accomplishments. One the best things you can do during an interview is to be yourself. If an interviewee does falsify their personality or qualifications and are hired, the intern runs the risk of losing their position for fabricated information. Display confidence when describing previous experience because your experiences are valuable to you as a person and potentially to the company you’re applying for. The interview is the chance to impress the interviewer and the company with the skills you already have to offer and explain how their company can help you grow professionally.

Dress appropriately and professionally and don’t bring your phone. To do this you must find the balance between being professional without being too under- or too overdressed. It’s important to dress within their dress code. While Duke University Press has a relaxed dress code, it’s still important to follow business casual dress code for interviews. Leave phones and other distracting devices in the car, your bag, or just turn them off. Devote your full attention in the interview and don’t let your phone get in the way of the interview.

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Prepare what you’d like to say so you don’t show your nerves. Speaking the first phrase that comes to your mind may not be the best answer for the question you’re asked. It’s more beneficial to gather your thoughts before saying them. This could be the difference of showing a person is well prepared or not. Know the questions you would like to be answered to help you obtain a better understanding of what the position will be. The questions you ask can show the interviewer the research you have already done on the company and will allow them to see your investment in the internship and organization. To defeat the negative effects of nervousness, remain confident in your skills and participate in mock interviews with a mentor, professor, or a campus career center employee to practice interview skills.

Bring a folder and pen. The folder you bring to an interview should contain enough copies of your resume for the interviewers, yourself and an extra, just in case. Include paper and your prepared questions. This will ensure all of the questions you may have are answered. Write any important information the interviewer gives you and to write any questions that come to mind during the interview.

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