If you've applied for any SLP interviews on Handshake or firm websites, you need to start preparing for interviews now! The SLP interview process often satisfies the internship interview requirement, so your time spent going through them in the spring is a wise investment in your future.
Some firms only have an application process, and others interview via Skype or in the Office of Professional Career Development, so you may not have to interview for all SLPs of interest. Be sure you read the postings entirely so you know what to expect from each employer.
Monitor Handshake for Interview Notifications
Ensure you're opted-in to receive email notifications from Handshake so you'll stay abreast of interview notifications and deadlines.
Research the Firm
Click around on the firm's website and look for things that stand out to you, or that you want to know more about (great material for the Q&A portion of the interview). The more you know about the firm in an interview, the more you appear interested and prepared!
Take an Inventory of Your Résumé
Go through each line of your résumé and have a mini "elevator speech" about your experience with that line item. For example, you may get a question about your hometown (How did you end up at Auburn?), your GPA (Why is your overall GPA so much lower than your accounting GPA?), or work experience (I'm not familiar with X company - can you tell me more about it?). Interviews can consist of a lot of "surface" questions during the first few minutes, just so the interviewer can get to know you better (and identify areas that are worthy of behavioral questions). Having a brief overview of each item listed on your résumé will ensure you get off to a great start in the interview.
After the interviewer gets a sense of where you've had the most experience, they will start to ask more probing questions about those experiences. Alternatively, they may take a general approach and ask questions that are not targeting a specific experience, but allow you to choose the experience that fits the scenario. Either way, you should be prepared for BEHAVIORAL interview questions, which predict future behavior based on past behavior. Your role is to choose a recent (i.e. college), specific example, and recall details about your role in the situation (how you handled it). Avoid classroom situations, and focus on things that relate to your extracurricular or employment activities. The key is for you to be MEMORABLE, so choose situations that are unique and not easily confused with another student.
Practice Makes Perfect
The best way to practice for an interview is to do a mock interview. The OPCD offers mock interviews with career coaches (schedule through Handshake) and also has an on-demand tool available to you via Handshake. Big Interview utilizes your web cam to allow you to play back your responses to questions, which may reveal a tendency to overuse "um," or poor eye contact. Use assignment code 4cf455 for a ready-made accounting behavioral interview.
Know Your Interviewer
Many firms will host a pre-interview dinner or social before the SLP interviews, so if you are invited, GO! The purpose of these events is for you to meet your interviewer in advance of the interview day which will help you more at ease for the interview. If a firm is not hosting a social the night before, find out the name of your interviewer in advance, and and review their profile on LinkedIn. Knowing basic things about them, like where they went to school and where they may have worked in the past, can help you establish rapport in the interview (see below). People love to talk about themselves, so having a lead in to get to know them better (e.g. "I hear that you are an Auburn grad - War Eagle! Don't you love coming back to the Plains for things like this?") makes the rest of the interview much less intimidating.
Dress for Success
Unless the recruiter specifies otherwise, any interview situation commands BUSINESS PROFESSIONAL (i.e. suit - just like Meet the Firms) attire.
Arrive Early (but not too early)
You should aim to arrive 5-10 minutes early for your interviews, but not earlier! If there is a greeter (younger firm representative) in the waiting area, be sure to engage them in polite conversation. The same rule applies to a virtual setting!
Don't Come Empty-Handed
Bring your résumé and padfolio to the interview. Ask the interviewer if they need a fresh copy of your résumé (this is great if you've made further changes to the document since you applied in Handshake), and keep your legal pad out to reference the questions you've prepared.
At the beginning of the interview, it's common for the interviewer to make small talk to put you at ease and set the stage. If you know your interviewer, small talk is that much easier.
Ask Your Interviewer Questions
You should ALWAYS have questions prepared for your interviews. No question equals lack of interest in the eyes of the interviewer. Your firm research will help you prepare questions.
Say Thank You!
After an interview, email is the best way to convey thanks to your recruiter and interviewers. It's instantaneous, so you know your gratitude is known when they're making decisions; sometimes, these are made very quickly.
Know the Communication Timeline
Don't leave your interview without asking the interviewer or recruiter about the timeline for decision-making. The number of students selected for an SLP varies by firm, and some firms will make offers BEFORE an SLP (while many will wait until AFTER).