Navigating your nerves during internship interviews: quick tips for the road 

By Faith Molitor

Elm Staff Writer

Internships are a great way to delve into the professional world, pushing students to expand on what they learn in the classroom.  

Even before the start date, internships are challenging, proving new obstacles that students do not always encounter. This pressure is exemplified by the stress that comes before the interview process.

To alleviate those nerves, here are a few tips to use throughout your internship interview process. 

Know who you are working for

You do not need to memorize all of the company’s history, but prior to your interview, it is important to know their values and how you fit into their professional vision. 

Knowing about a business will help you explain why you are drawn to the company and how you will stay committed to their goals. If you are interviewing for a position at a bigger company, this information is likely available online, but in the case of a smaller business, try reaching out to current and former employees on Linkedin.

Being involved before you even begin shows that you are a fundamental player in their future success. 

Wear something business casual

Stay away from flashy prints and stick to cooler tones. This will make your interviewer focus solely on your personality, not your clothes.  

However, there is nothing wrong with wearing your favorite necklace or bracelet as a good luck charm which can also act as a conversation piece.

Know your strengths and your weaknesses

This is a popular interview question. 

By telling a business about your strengths, you allow them to see what areas of the organization you would be most at home in. For example, in saying r that you pride yourself on listening to different perspectives, you open up your opportunities to team-oriented positions.

Allowing them to also see your flaws shows that you are humble while still determined to grow. This makes you an asset to the team environment, as you will learn not only with experience, but by pushing yourself towards betterment.

Remember to breathe

Do not push any anxious feelings away, use them to your advantage. 

It is important to remember that while your feelings are powerful, there are techniques to keep you centered in moments of stress. According to Healthline, box breathing, which is a technique in which you take a four-count breath in, hold it for another four counts, and exhale it in four counts, has the power to “heighten performance and concentration while also being a powerful stress reliever.”

You can also be honest and say “I’m so sorry, I’m a little anxious right now, I really want this because…” as it shows how invested you are in what you are signing up for. 

Practice, practice, practice

Looking at common interview questions and preparing your answers can calm your mind. Google has a multitude of articles on what is asked specialized to different fields depending on what you are interviewing for.

Washington College’s Center for Career Development offers practice interviews, which are available to schedule through their website.

Most importantly: be yourself  

Do not shy away from answers that you may think sound strange at first. In fact, your manager might see a side to you that they do not get from other interviewees and applaud you for your maturity and thoughtfulness.  

By being gentle and kind with yourself, you give the interviewer your real self, not who you think they should be hiring. Push yourself to be bold and stand out amongst the crowd; it will take you far. 

These tips may not work for everyone, and that is okay. The interviewing process might require some trial and error until you find a combination that works. Internships are all about experience, so practice from day one and use whatever happens in order to learn. 

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Photo caption: Although it might feel difficult to be yourself in a professional setting, showing an interviewer your true personality has the potential to win your interviewer over.

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