One of my favorite parts of my job is interviewing new camp staff applicants. I really enjoy meeting all the new people, getting to know them and hearing their stories. During any given summer, we hire about 200 staff, so each season we conduct A LOT of interviews. Of all the interviews I’ve led, I’ve seen quite a few folks that really have their act together, but I’ve also met a few people that could use a few tips. If you are preparing for a interview (for CentriKid or any other organization), be sure to check out these interview tips for success.
- Get to know the organization with which you are interviewing! Make sure that you are familiar with the company. Be sure to check out the website. Many companies post their mission statement or core values online. Also, the reason that most organizations post things online is because they think the content is important. If it is important to the company, and if you are serious about working for them, it should be important to you. It may also be a good idea to check out other social media outlets such as Twitter or Facebook. It really means a lot to an interviewer when you show them that you have done your homework. (Warning: It DOES help you to do your homework, but it doesn’t help you to be over zealous and come across as creepy.)
- Be on time. There are very few acceptable excuses for being late to an interview. I don’t know of a single company that doesn’t value punctuality. Being punctual is an indicator of professionalism and a good work ethic. You could be very professional and the hardest worker in America, but if you are late, you’ll have a very hard time convincing me. Occasionally your interviewer might fall a few minutes behind schedule, but you should always do your best to be on time.
- Dress for success. Many companies today have a casual dress code, so a suit and tie may not be necessary, but you should always look clean, neat, modest, and professional when you show up for an interview. Here again, this is where knowing the company and doing your homework pays off. If you aren’t sure what to wear, call or email the organization and find out about the standard dress code.
- Relax. Your interviewer really wants to get to know the REAL you, not the nervous you. On the other hand, make sure that you aren’t so relaxed that you abandon professionalism. Even if you know the person with whom you are interviewing, remember that they are considering you for a job. In that moment they are not necessarily your “buddy” or “pal.”
- Strive to be memorable. Most likely the organization that is interviewing will be considering several different people for the same position. It will help you to be memorable (in a good way). I’m not suggesting that you show up to your interview wearing a funny hat or that you do anything “gimmicky.” That will make you memorable in a bad way. Rather, if you have done something notable or if you have high experience or unusual skills that really help qualify you for the job, make sure that your interviewer knows about it! These things usually stick with the interviewer.
- Always ask a question. At some point during almost every interview, the interviewer will give you an opportunity to ask a question. This relates to tip #1. When applicants ask me a question, it shows that they really are interested in our organization and it demonstrates assertiveness. If you don’t ask any questions, it makes me feel like you really aren’t that interested in our organization and you are just ready for the interview to be over (even if that’s not necessarily the case).