I know that I am still young and that I haven’t had as many interviews as someone that is older than me. However, I think that I have been on enough interviews to tell you guys about some of my experiences in interviewing and what I did to eventually be successful in getting a job.
Before I start off with how I was offered the job I am currently working, I want to talk about my first interview: to become a volunteer (Office Aide) at the Department of Food and Agriculture. To be honest, I was so nervous. Who isn’t nervous for an interview? On the sad side, I rarely had any experience. I had just graduated from high school and only had small volunteer experience from the required volunteer hours I had from high school.
The interview started off with them telling me about the position and briefly about the department. Then, they asked me questions about my resume and about my work experience. I really didn’t have much to say since I really didn’t have much experience. The interview was no more than 10 minutes. They ended up choosing me to be a volunteer, which I was happy about. I learned so much from volunteering and gained a lot of experience and knowledge. My supervisor thought I was a shy person, based on the interview. But after I started volunteering, she soon realized that I am far from shy and we got along really well.
Now, let’s compare it to my interview I had for the position I have now, which was a year and half later. I have gained a lot of volunteer experience, volunteering at the Department of Food and Agriculture and with the Department of Public Health – WIC. I also had taken a lot more courses in college.
I came into the interview more confident. I dressed professionally (like you always should). I smiled and said hi to everyone. I brought a binder portfolio, which included work I have done in school, my volunteering, internships, as well as personal things like posts from my blog.
The interview was about an hour long but I only had expected it to be 15 to 20 minutes. The time just flew by. The interviewers and I talked for a long time. We asked questions, answered them, and it was really nice. It was like a real conversion and I got to know them a bit just from the interview. Surprisingly, I was only nervous for the first minute of the interview. The rest was just a breeze and I was comfortable and at ease with them.
After the interview, I thanked them for their time and left. I sent them all thank you letters for the interview. It really did help! The first day of work, one of the three interviewers thanked me for sending them a thank you letter, saying it was very thoughtful. The other interviewer (my boss) said I answered the questions well and that he loved the portfolio I brought to show them. I also believe that since we talked so easily in the interview, they believed that I would fit in with everyone. How one gets along with their co-workers is important too.
I believe that the portfolio is very helpful when it comes to interviews. It shows them that you are organized and that you are proud of your work. Depending on what you decide to put in your portfolio, it can show that you are a well-rounded person. Those are some qualities employers want.
There was also another position I was offered and I had also brought in my portfolio. I, however, sent a thank you e-mail instead of a letter. I turned down the position though, since I had already accepted the job I currently have.
It’s true that you should be yourself in an interview but you still have to act professionally and show the interviewees what you can bring to the company/department. I also think that having interview skills in general is important. Interviewing for medical school, dietetic internships, anything. It’s important.
Do you have any interview tips?
Do you have any interview stories you want to share? Tell us about them. =)