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Make a good and lasting first impression

On the day of the interview, be on time and be prepared! If you are interviewing via phone or webcam, test your equipment in advance so that you are sure you know how it works. Also, be sure to find a quiet, private spot so that your interview will not be interrupted and there will be no distractions.

If you happen to be on vacation in the U.S. or have an opportunity to interview in person, the following tips will help you prepare for interviewing face-to-face:

  • Turn off your cell phone or switch to airplane mode before entering the building. If it rings during an interview, that’s bad. Moreover, you may not realize that, in a quiet conference room, your cell phone will be audible even on vibrate. Don’t take the chance that you get back-to-back buzzing notifications that derail your train of thought.
  • Go by yourself. Don’t ever bring a friend or family member to an interview. In particular, do not bring anyone to translate for you. It is essential that you have sufficient English language skills to operate in the U.S. workplace, and you will not be able to demonstrate you have this ability if you have someone translating your interview for you.
  • Bring a pen and a notepad, as well as a copy of your resume. You’ll want to be able to write things down during the interview, even if you’re interviewing via webcam or phone.
  • Practice walking into a room. It’s very important to be aware of your body language at all times. You don’t want to look bored, impatient, or too nervous.
    Perfect your handshake. Your handshake should be firm and confident—not too weak and not too strong.
  • Make sure that you maintain eye contact and use your interviewer’s name when greeting one another. By doing this, you make the meeting a little bit more personable. Names are important. Remember that notepad you brought? Use it to immediately write down the names of all the people in the room with you and address them by name throughout the interview.
  • Be courteous and professional to everyone you meet at the office. The doorman to the building? The office manager? These people may not be making the hiring decisions, but you can bet that the person who is will take their opinions into consideration.
  • SMILE and be confident. Don’t second-guess yourself going into the interview. You were asked to come in for a reason.
  • Stay calm and breathe. When people are nervous, they tend to talk fast without realizing it. You will almost always benefit from consciously slowing down your cadence, particularly if you’re a non-native speaker.
  • Be honest. It doesn’t take a police psychologist to tell when someone is lying or exaggerating. Remember, these people probably have years of experience in their field; they’ll be able to tell if you lie to them.
  • Listen carefully and think of answers in your head before responding. Don’t feel like you have to rush to answer the questions.
  • Most importantly: Dress for the internship you want. Make sure to dress and groom yourself accordingly. In most cases, the first judgment your interviewer is going to make is based on how you look and what you are wearing. Always dress professionally and appropriately.