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It’s interview time here at Darden. What does this mean? The companies who come to Darden to carefully harvest eager summer interns are here. They’re here, and they’re assessing our personalities, evaluating our thought processes, and generally picking our brains apart. So here’s the thing about interviewing. You have to know EVERYTHING. There are lists of questions to prep for, and one list for one company has 87 questions you may encounter in an interview. Eek! Once you get a grasp on what stories you’d like to tell about your past experiences, there are plenty of Second Years, Career Coaches, and Career Development Center staff to do mock interviews with. Mock interviews are super helpful – and ridiculously embarrassing. I want to hide under the table and answer the question from there, rather than look someone in the eye and tell them where I see myself in 10 years or a time I was a good leader. Nervous gym tummy? You bet. Key learnings from mock interviewing so far:

A)     De-flair. I wear my words like other people accessorize with pieces of flair – essentially to enliven, enthuse and invigorate.  I’ve been forbidden to use the words tremendous, phenomenal, outrageous and fabulous. Simple language, simple points, and more calm positive words. I fully expect to have a backlog of unused festive words that will be just bursting forth in class discussions after all this – advance apologies to my classmates.

B)      Interview like a pirate. There’s a style we use for answering interview questions. Start with the Situation, then Task, then Action, then Result.  As an acronym, it’s “STAR”. I tend to spend too much time with the ST (setting up the story), and not enough time on the AR (what I did that rocked). Hence, I need to interview like a pirate. AR, matey.

C)      Know EVERYTHING.

D)     Practice like crazy. In the car, in the shower, walking to school. (this may explain why people are looking at me more strangely than usual). Practice everywhere.

Overall, my take on the whole thing is this: I’m thinking positive. It’s a hard time to look for work, and we’re lucky to have companies who want to talk with students at all. We’re all going to get summer internships. I’d rather take more time to get the right job than to rush. But during interview weeks, when I need a little extra oomph? I’m using Cheap Trick as an inspiration. For every company I interview with, I want them to want me… I’d love them to love me… and although I’d like them all to need me, I only can do one job this summer, so all I need is the right company to need me.

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