Achieving Success during the Recruiting Process - #3 – The Interview
With most of the resume/cover letter deadlines having just passed, it signals the next step in the process – the Interview. Before I get into some tips for the interview process, I must say to those that did not receive an interview this year – keep motivated and strive to improve yourself and your experiences for next year.
That being said, the interview process is probably one of the most daunting experiences of your life (and mine). I have been on countless interviews and have had both good and bad experiences. As a result, I have compiled a list of a couple of tips that you can take along with you to the interview.
1. Be Prepared
I know you have an interview and you definitely know you have an interview; so there should be no reason why you aren’t prepared and ready to answer most of the questions the interview has. PwC has a behavioural based style of interviewing which is similar to most of the other accounting firms. A behavioural interview will focus on your past experiences and behaviours as indicators for future potential. All of you have had great experiences and now it is just a matter of explaining those experiences and presenting them in the best manner possible.
My best advice to prepare yourself is to Google (has that become an accepted verb yet?) behavioural based questions on the internet and practice and then practice some more. While I don’t recommend preparing blanket answers for any question that you are given, I would recommend having an arsenal of different experiences and stories that you can use to respond to different types of questions. You are probably thinking what does that even mean? Well say for example that you work on an executive team of a club at school – well I am sure that you have had various experiences involving conflict and disagreements to collaboration and teamwork. You need to be able to pull on this range of experiences in the interview and by having pre-planned and memorized answers you will not be able to do that.
Another tip to being prepared is to practice speaking out loud. If you can have someone mock interview you that would be even better.
2. Be nervous but not too nervous
Having been on both sides of the interview coin (Interviewer and Interviewee) I can definitely sympathize and tell you that I was scared walking into my interviews. It is normal to be a bit nervous. It is that nervousness that will keep you on your toes and ready to respond to any questions that come your way. The interviewer will also be there to help calm your nerves and get you relaxed before any of the questions start.
3. Be ready for any type of interviewer
When going into the interview make sure you are ready for any type of interviewer. You will have some interviewers that will get straight to the questions and avoid the small talk. On the other hand, you will have some interviewers that are all about the small talk. True story – I talked about an interviewer’s fantasy hockey team for the better part of my interview. I hate to be cliché but just make sure you can roll with the punches.
4. Take your time responding to questions
The biggest piece of advice that I can give you is to take your time when responding to questions. As an interviewer I prefer that a student takes 30-40 seconds to think about an answer and have it appropriately respond to my question than have them blurt out the first answer that comes to their head. I know that 30 seconds of awkward silence will eat at you but I am assuring you that it is much better to properly formulate your response and take your time.
Overall you are the best person to explain and express your experiences and who you are. All you have to do is prepare, stay relaxed (not too relaxed) and be ready for a bunch of different questions/scenarios. I know that interviews can be intimidating and scary but just remember you are there for a reason and that you can do it!
Good luck everyone!