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6 Tips to Help You Ace Your Next Interview

Feb 11, 2021

Written by Tayler Brisbin, MEDP Communications Coordinator.

Here’s the thing about applying for jobs, it’s not like riding a bike. No matter how many jobs you’ve applied for in your life; whether this is your first go-around with a summer Internship opportunity like McMinnville WORKS or Career Bound, or are applying for your 5th, 10th, or 15th job, it’s one of those things that always seems to take a bit of practice.  And right off the bat, who wants to get “good” at applying for jobs? Doesn’t the fact that you are well practiced mean you’ve gone on countless interviews, or bounced from career to career? Not necessarily.

Though I’m certainly not a wizard when it comes to ALL things interview related, I do have the benefits of hindsight and reflection.  As a result, here are 6 interview/application tips I’ve compiled from my own experiences as an interviewee and the handful of occasions I’ve been on hiring committees. I can’t guarantee you’ll ace your next interview, but keep these tips front of mind and you’ll be well on your way!  

Have grace with yourself. For those of you reading this who are well into your careers but considering a change, have grace with yourself. For those of you reading this who are part of the emerging workforce and on the hunt for your first job opportunity, have grace with yourself. Is there anything more painful than trying to write a cover letter explaining the multitude of reasons you are perfect for a job? (in my life experience, not many…) It’s okay to have several drafts, to struggle, to look at a blank computer screen for many many moments. It’s also okay if you are a Rockstar at writing cover letters. We are all coming at the job hunt from a myriad of different circumstances. Take a breath, give yourself a break, and keep at it.

Carefully Read the application/ job posting. Then read it again. Then go back and read it again. Maybe take a note or two, and really look for subtext. Most applications probably won’t be overly complicated, but there will be some small details in every application that are put there to specifically see if you can follow instructions. They might seem small and trivial, but if the application asks you to save your resume in a particular format, or if it says no calls or e-mails, pay attention to those little cues.

Expect the Expected and the Unexpected.  You know there is going to be an interview question about how you handled a challenging situation, be prepared for it. But depending on the company, the interviewer and the position, you could also get something that feels out of left field. You might have a potential boss who asks about your Enneagram type, or how you best communicate. I actually know of someone who had the 5 love languages brought up during an interview. This could be a tactic to see how well you can think on your feet or deal with something out of your comfort zone, or it could simply be a cue about the company culture… either way, I always go into an interview expecting a curveball. It's 100% okay to take a moment and say “Wow, what an excellent question…” and contemplate your answer for a moment.    

You’ll also be more likely to stand out in the interview process if you have a handful of great questions prepared yourself. Perhaps be ready to ask something a little unexpected.  One of the most helpful questions I’ve asked at interviews over the years is “What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses as a boss, and what sort of strengths/skills are you specifically looking for in this position that will be the most complementary to the rest of the team?”  Feel free to make it your own.

I know this is getting to be a little long-winded of a tip, but hands down, one of the best ways I’ve found to prepare for an interview is to utilize these 31 common, unexpected and tough questions. A) you can print out your own flashcards, and write out your answers (which, for me, writing stuff down helps me remember.) B) Once you’ve got your set of flashcards, these are super handy to flip through maybe quarterly just to keep your interview skills fresh.

Make sure your resume and cover letter match. Use the same font, same color scheme, same heading. They don’t need to be overly jazzy or complicated, but consistency is key.

Proofread. Read your application/ resume/ cover letter to yourself out loud. Find a friend who is an expert copy editor and buy them a coffee/ treat/ or beverage of their choosing and ask them to take a look. Be open to feedback and constructive criticism, but make sure you don’t lose your unique voice. If your gut is telling you to leave something in that someone has suggested you should take out, leave it in. Also, take full advantage of your Career Centers if you are a High School or College Student. You can make an appointment for someone to go through your resume with you, do a mock interview, etc. Do this. You won’t regret it. 

Always overdress. Always. Even in the time of online interviews…Especially in the time of online interviews. It doesn’t matter if you are planning on being glued to your chair the entire time, ALWAYS wear pants. Be mindful of what is visible in the background or use a tasteful and non-distracting virtual background.

About the Author: Tayler Brisbin is a wordsmith, yoga teacher, entrepreneur and creativity enthusiast. She has a passion for storytelling, and is energized by her role at MEDP, helping to craft the narrative of the organization and the businesses within the community.    


For additional interview tips, check out this blog from a former MEDP intern.

Don’t forget to put these skills to the test when you are applying to the McMinnville WORKS or Career Bound Internship Programs. Currently, we have 15 local host sites looking to fill 22 positions for our 2021 summer internship opportunities! With a variety of positions available across multiple industries, It’s possible  to get your name in front of numerous hiring managers with one simple application.

Deadline to apply is February 21st, 2021.

McMinnville WORKS Application (Collegiate)

https://www.mcminnvillebusiness.com/internship-application-form-2021

Career Bound (Recent High School Graduates)

https://www.mcminnvillebusiness.com/career-bound-application-form

 

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