Career fairs, internships, and job applications these all lead to one thing… Interview! Interviews and follow-ups can be stressful, so I have a few tips to help you manage.
1. Be 100% Honest
A lot of companies have strict timeline in their hiring process. This is more for the company to be on the same page after all the career fairs at different universities. If these interview timelines start to happen after your deadline with another company, tell them that. Most likely they will be willing to work with you to expedite the process.
2. Don’t forget to interview the company
I was always told that an interview is just as much you interviewing the company as it is them interviewing you. Make sure you go in with a lot of questions. I always ask questions about housing, location, their responsibilities, a normal day on the job, and be sure to ask questions that will tell you about the company culture. These questions will help when deciding if the company is a good fit for you.
3. Prioritize You
This is probably the most important tip to keep in mind. Offers and interviews can be overwhelming and intimidating. It is important for you to relate your goals to the job or internship offers. Other factors like housing, location, pay, job responsibilities, and ability to learn are important to consider. Some companies will provide a housing stipend or completely pay for housing. This might decrease your wage or salary so take that into consideration. It is also important to know your goal with an internship or job. Is it just to gain experience? Land a full-time position? Does it push your comfort zone?
4. When in doubt, wait it out!
If you have an offer from a previous company or get an offer from a second day interview, it is okay to ask for an extension. They should understand that you want to see all the opportunities available to you. I make sure to call to ask for an extension, but an email works as well.
5. Decline with them in mind
At the end of your deadlines and interviews if a company or position does not meet your priorities or fit your standards, make sure to decline with them in mind. They took the time to interview you for the position and make an offer. Give them a phone call to be able to explain thoroughly why you chose to go a different way. This goes back to the 100% honesty tip. As I mentioned earlier, no company wants to be a second choice. As soon as you have your mind made up, I would decline or remove yourself from the hiring process. This lets them move on to another candidate.
Sometimes we get caught up in everything else we forget to stop and think about the different factors at play. Stop and talk to a mentor, friend, adviser, or parent about the different possibilities. I wish you all the best of luck as you continue to interview for internships and full-time positions.