The morning of my third interview, I arrived 30 minutes early. I found the place without a hitch, paid for parking, and easily found everything right away. I hung out in my car looking over my research on the company, and walked over to the building 15 minutes before my interview started. It seemed like my interview was at the start of their workday because I entered the elevator at the same time as a bunch of other people. It seemed like everyone was going to the same place I was! In the email there were specific instructions to call the receptionist with the phone outside the door when I arrived at the office. I stood back as the employees entered the office after letting themselves in with a key. I stood, rereading the instructions and taking a minute to breathe before I called the receptionist when suddenly the door opened! A lady opened the door and told me that her coworkers had mentioned there was someone loitering outside, and she told them “Oh that’s just Natalie for the interview.”
I was slightly embarrassed to be momentarily labeled as a “loiterer” but I got over it once I was let in and my interviewer promptly came to talk to me. He made some small talk, and then told me about a written test I would be doing to start. It was nice to start with the written portion, because it was a “warm up” before the interview. We had something to discuss during the interview, and I felt like I was in a good mindset for the interview. In the past when I did the written part after the interview, I would get distracted because I would reflect on my performance during the written portion. So I found this worked well for me.
When it was the interview portion, my interviewer brought me to a new room. He talked to me while my other two interviewers trickled into the room. I stood up and introduced myself to both of them, and then we were on our way to start the interview. I made a conscious note of standing up to shake their hand, because that is the “proper” thing to do. I’ve shook hands with people while they remained sitting, and trust me when I say it doesn’t seem very polite.
They asked me the usual questions: Why do you want to work here? What skills do you want to gain? What do you know about our company? The night before I studied all about the company and I was ready to tell them all about my findings, and apparently I knew some things that even my interviewers did not know! It was great because I talked about the history, their vision, what that particular location did, and their most recent news piece. I think they were impressed! I always say, it is easiest to prepare for the “what do you know about our company” question, because that is just a matter of doing your homework prior to the interview. The other “situational” questions were tough, and I tried my best.
At one point of the interview I was given the chance to direct my questions to the current co-op student, and I found that to be very valuable. I feel bad about putting her on the spot, but I figured she was putting me on the spot too with her interview questions, so it was only fair. It was valuable for me to ask her questions because she was doing the job I was applying for. If you are given the opportunity to ask the current co-op student questions: PLEASE TAKE IT. This is a golden opportunity to not only impress your employer and show that you care, but you also get valuable answers to the questions you may have.
At the end of the interview, I was told that I gave some really good answers and I would hear from them next week. Ending on such a positive note, I walked out feeling confident because of my experience from my previous job, and how enthusiastic my interviewers were about my answers.
I drove home feeling pretty happy with what I had done, and then I got a phone call. You never would guess why I lost sleep that night.
Beyond the Blog
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Curious about Natalie's other interview experiences? Check out Natalie's Co-op Job Search: Round 1.