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Peer Perspective: Interview Tips from Sophie Hattery ’16

Sophie Hattery ’16 is one of our Social Media and Marketing Peer Specialists in the CDC [want that job? Apply for next year!] and she just landed an internship for the summer! In the process she came up with some good interviewing tips.

I do not know about the rest of you, but February seems to be peak interview season! Although spring break is readily approaching, do not put off preparing for your interviews in the final stretch. I know that balancing homework, working a job, and studying for midterms may be overwhelming – but interviews are what can be your saving grace. Here is your chance to show them your transferable skills, subtly hint at other extracurricular activities that may have weighed in on your time commitments, and show your genuine passion for that externship, internship, and job you are trying to get.

After having endured three interviews this week, I have come to some basic tips.

  1. One, anticipate the questions before. Go on and scope out past interview questions or even problems that an interviewer has proposed that you solve for your anticipated position. Practice saying your experiences in front of the mirror or your roommates. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses (if you talk about a particular experience involving this, be sure to have a comment on how you bounced back)? When did you show that you were a leader? Why _____ (insert name of place to which you are applying)? Know your resume like the back of your hand and be able to apply how your time at so and so made you a perfect candidate for taking on this externship, internship, or job.
  2. Two, plan your outfit the night before. Ladies, we are talking skirt past your knees or slacks, conservative top, and jacket. Men, we want to see those suits out. No one wants to be rushing to put together an outfit the morning of when you have an 8 am and are trying to ensure that you do not wake your roommate from his or her peaceful slumber. And, beware of toothpaste. For ladies in particular, put on your outfit last. Makeup, brushing your teeth, and breakfast come first. The CDC has a Pinterest boards to help more with the “what to wear question.”
  3. Three, depending on the industry into which you are applying, READ CURRENT EVENTS AND KNOW A FEW EXAMPLES. The one tricky question I have encountered thus far as someone applying to public accounting firm programs involved me having to know something that “piqued my interest in the business world”. While I could rattle off current events such as the turmoil in Ukraine, the questioning of the EPA’s authority in a particular Supreme Court case, and even Piers Morgan’s struggle to maintain a certain threshold of viewers – I could not produce an answer regarding the business world. Which admittedly, I should have researched. But, what you learn is that you will never be 100% ready to take on every question an interviewer asks.
  4. For my last tip, I would say show up 15 minutes early, smile, be yourself, keep eye contact, and use that firm handshake like you know you can. While you should not be slapping your interviewer on the back saying, “what’s up”, remember that this person was once in your shoes and was equally as capable as you are. Everyone’s nervous, but we are all human! Best of luck to all of you!

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