Almost every university has some sort of networking fair or job fair. These can definitely be stressful, especially if you are going in blind and haven’t done any research to know what to expect. This guide should be a great starting point for anyone who has any sort of internship interview, and or job fair coming up. This guide will be a great resource that you can use to give you the best possible advantage when going to any sort of interview or job fair.
Internship Interview and Job Fair Tips
Without a doubt, the best piece of advice I can offer when going to a prospective internship interview is to research the company that you are interviewing for! Often times, companies will ask you questions regarding the company itself, like where was the first one opened, or how many exist today, so be sure to know a brief history of the company as well as what the company does. Knowing the goals that both the company is trying to achieve and your personal goals are a great place to start when doing your research as these are very common questions at interviews. I can tell you from personal experience that knowing a lot about the company will impress the interviewer and show that you are engaged with the company and are committed to working there.
The next thing to research is your position. It’s super important to know the position you’re applying for, so that you can be sure to tell them why you are best for that position. This also transitions well into a real job interview, so you know what the competitive rate for the job you are applying for is. I have been told by many different people that they just applied for an internship because it was in their related field and weren’t completely positive of the position and all that it entails before going to the interview! I know this sounds crazy, but be sure to have a good idea of what you are going to do if you get the internship!
The same can be applied to Job Fairs. Always research the companies that you are expecting to speak with and know a little bit about the company. Although you might only interact with a representative for a few minutes, you can leave a striking impression by knowing more about the company than the other students.
Practice Common Interview Questions
Now, there isn’t any way to be one hundred percent sure about the questions that are going to be asked, but you can definitely do yourself a favor by practicing commonly asked interview questions in the same field. Making sure you can articulate a clear answer is very important because it eliminates all of the “ums” and “uhs” that people make when they are fishing for an answer. Interviews tend to want the first thing that comes to mind, so using these words as filler while you search for THE answer is something they typically do not like. Now, I suggest practicing these questions, but I would not suggest rehearsing every single answer. If your answer is too rehearsed, this could send a bad sign to the interviewer. Let everything flow and sound natural!
Be sure to check out resources like https://www.glassdoor.com as they have a lot of prior interview questions available for a wide range of companies. I have used this in the past and the interviewer actually asked two of the questions that were on this website. This is a superb website that a lot of people are not taking advantage of!
With job fairs, making sure that you are clear and articulate is extremely important because it shows that you can get your point across and have the ability to give an answer off of the top of your head without having to rehearse.
Choosing Your Outfit
Now this is definitely another one of the more important aspects when preparing for your internship interview or job fair, because this will give off your first impression to the person interviewing you. You definitely want to dress appropriately, because there is nothing worse than looking like you just woke up, or just rolled out of the shower. A good rule of thumb is to always dress business casual, and if you are not quite familiar with that, I suggest checking out a guide online. Avoid wearing clothing that is too tight and if it is hot outside, avoid wearing shorts.
Before you go to the interview or job fair, be sure to make sure you bring all of the relevant materials. It is always important to bring extra copies of your resume, cover letter, and references in case you are asked for it. It is always important to be prepared in case they ask you for an extra copy. I also suggest bringing a notebook and a pen and ask if you may take notes, so that everyone is clear and they are not wondering what you are writing down.
If it is relevant, bring examples of your work. For example, if you are applying at some sort of marketing firm, bring examples of things that you have created. This gives them something to evaluate your abilities with, rather than just your information on a piece of paper. If you do not have any sort of portfolio or thing to bring, do not stress, because if it is an internship, they probably do not expect you to have a lot of relevant experience. Most of the time, if you have some sort of project that you have worked on that is related to the field, it is worth bringing just in case they ask for an example.
It is extremely important, no matter what situation you’re in, to speak with confidence. If you do not think you are the right fit for the job, then most likely, your interviewer won’t either. Now, don’t speak like you already have the job, but speak with a confidence that shows you believe in what you’re saying and have a strong voice. People like self confidence, and the best way to get that across is being honest and saying what you mean and meaning what you say. Knowing your faults is another thing that can go really well, or wrong, depending upon how you use it. Employees like knowing that interns are aware of what they need to improve upon, but do not want someone who has to have their hand held with every project.
Give Thanks and Follow Up
The last important bits of information I can give are making sure that you thank the interviewer. This is something that a lot of people overlook, but it is something that is super important. It is definitely best to hand write the letter, because it adds a bit of personality and shows that you took some time out of your day to thank the interviewer.
Following up with any potential internship is also super important. If it is something you want like a job or internship, you need to put in the work to get it, so don’t rely on them to follow up with you. I would suggest waiting about a week after the interview before following up. If they have contacted you prior to this, then you probably already know your answer, so don’t try to convince them if they already made up their mind. Again, following up is extremely important because some employees might just be too busy or forget about something like this, and they will definitely not chase you, so you might have to be the one to take initiative and follow up with them.