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Preparing for the Interview

Interviews can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. We recommend the following method when preparing for an interview: research, STAR method, practice and prepare. Let's get started!

Research

It is imperative that you do your research on a company before an interview! They will undoubtedly expect you to be aware of their company prior to the interview.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Has this organization appeared in the news in the last 6 months - 1 year? Why?
  • How large is the organization? Are they rapidly growing?
  • What is their mission, values and goals? Where do they want to be in 5 - 10 years?
  • How do you connect with their mission, values and goals?
  • Where are the gaps? How can you help them in those areas?

STAR Method

Worried about rambling? Not sure how to structure your answer? Use the STAR Method and you can't go wrong!

  1. Situation/Task: What happened? Who else was involved? Where did this happen? In a class? At your internship?, i.e. In my PR class, I was assigned to work with 3 other classmates on a real campaign for a public school in SC. The week before it was due, my classmates were all sick or out of town and I had no help or support. 
  2. Action: What actions did you take to rectify the situation or solve the problem? How did YOU specifically contribute? (very important!), i.e. I worked tirelessly to complete the project on my own. I had to learn new skills such as WordPress on the spot since I did not have any help. It was difficult but taught me a lot about pressure and deadlines. 
  3. Result: What came of your actions? How did your actions improve the situation? If it didn't go your way, what did you learn in the long run? (This is the part most people forget! Be sure to emphasize this!), i.e. In the end, the project was turned in successfully and on time. The client was very happy with the final project and their social media impressions increased by 300% after implementing our strategy! 

Practice!

Utilize your resources! Complete a mock interview with a friend or family friend. Visit your Career Services Manager or USC Career Center for a mock interview. Schedule an appointment by selecting "CIC Career Advising." 

Don't have time to come in person? Use USC's Big Interview software to practice virtually! You can record an unlimited amount of practice interviews. Log in at sc.biginterview.com! We have also prepared sample questions and how to answer them.

Prepare

Preparing for an interview is not an easy process. It takes time, skill and organization. After you feel confident about your interview responses, you are more than halfway there!

1. Print 5-10 copies of your resume and work samples. 

2. Prepare your outfit. More guidelines on business professional attire can be found in the "Professional Dress" section.

The Day Of

  1. Maintain good hygiene. Be sure you appear clean and well groomed. Avoid excessive cologne or perfume.
  2. Pack a padfolio to hold your resume and work samples.
  3. Arrive early (if an in-person interview). Allow time for parking and finding the appropriate location.
  4. Arrive 15-20 minutes early for the interview.
  5. Shake hands and smile at everyone you meet. Try to appear pleasant, relaxed and professional. 
  6. Write down the names of everyone in the interview or collect their business cards.

After the Interview

Follow up! Send a thank you note within 24 hours to everyone in your interview via email or mail a handwritten note. This is why it is important to gather their contact information the day of.

 


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