I’m actually fairly novice in the interview space but I thought I’d use this month’s blog to share some of my tips for the Challenge Detroit Year 5 applicants to help prepare them for their upcoming interviews (or anyone else looking for some quick pointers).
For those who don’t know, in round four of the application process for Challenge Detroit, you have approximately four or five interviews (including group interviews) in one day with some top companies in the Metro Detroit area as well as the Challenge Detroit Team and stakeholders. This is a pretty daunting process considering you’re surrounded by your competition, eating lunch with them, getting to know them, and potentially interviewing with the same companies as some of them. This is a tricky space to navigate, so here’s some advice from someone who’s gone through it.
- Wear clothes that don’t show sweat stains.Yes, I said it. Women sweat. Men sweat. We all sweat, especially in this type of setting. You are being interviewed for super exciting position and you’re looking in the face of your competition all day long. You’re going to be nervous, so make sure you wear something that doesn’t show those little problem areas. You know you’re nervous, but nobody else needs to know that.
- Do your research, but not too much.It’s always important to go into an interview knowing what the company actually does. That’s kind of a no brainer. But don’t over prepare by memorizing their case studies from the last five years. You don’t have that much time for your interview and you don’t want to waste half of it reiterating their projects back to them. They are well aware of what they did and how cool it was. If necessary, you might compare a project they completed to some experience you’ve had in the past, but other than that they will cover the company explanation in the beginning of the interview. Focus more on selling you to the company rather than selling the company to the company.
- Talk to other applicants.(*Challenge Detroit specific) This is one that I didn’t really follow too well being that I tend to shy away when in a large group of strangers, but it would’ve been nice to have made more connections. This is an especially important tip for those of you traveling from out of state. You will want to create some initial connections during the interview trip so that if you get selected, you can reach out to those individuals and possibly coordinate living options.
- Be yourself, but don’t be at the same time.It’s very common for someone to say “just be yourself” as their wise words of wisdom before you go into an interview. And don’t get me wrong, these words are great but they should come with asterisk by them. You should absolutely be yourself, but don’t be the self that’s hanging out with your besties on a Saturday night. Be the self that you got you to that interview, the one that is motivated and determined. The self that wants this job and knows they worked hard to get to this point. You already have all of these traits because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be sitting in front a potential employer. You’d be off at ~music festival~ or day-drinking with your college friends. Be the professional side of you. (And don’t ask how much the job pays before they even extend an offer. That’s a no-no.)
Like I said, I’m no expert on interviews but I think if you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be just fine. Good luck to all the Challenge Detroit Year Five applicants (and anyone else about to go into an interview)! We’ll see you in a couple weeks!