Jessica pointing from Harvard University junior received internship offers from companies including Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, McKinsey, Bain, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley.She has a computer science and physics major, she has received offer letters for roles in software engineering, data science, product management, consulting, investment banking, trading, and quantitative finance.
When we asked her how she manages to do it, she credits being prepared and relaxed with her string of successful interviews. Here she will give us some tips to ace the interview and put forward a great impression.
Jessica Pointing published her best-interviewing tips on her blog, the Optimize Guide, which features educational and career advice for high school and college students.
Jessica suggests that you do read your books before the interview as most of the questions might be based on your course.
She says “I treated the internship interviews as a class — I studied material from books and did practice problems before the test (aka the interview),” she said. “There is usually a go-to book for each industry.” These books help prepare job candidates, covering likely interview topics and even featuring practice problems.
For example, for software engineering interviews, she recommends “Cracking the Coding Interview” by Gayle Laakmann McDowell, while people going for consulting gigs should brush up on “Case in Point” by Marc Cosentino.
Jessica as a candidate can understand that most people do stress before an interview and tend to get blank in front of the hiring manager. Therefore, to solve this problem she adopted a problem-solving mindset.
Here’s the structure she used for answering questions in her software engineering interviews:
She also broke down the approach she uses for consulting interviews:
She says “These structures will ensure that you hit almost everything you need to mention for a successful interview,” she also adds. “In consulting, giving insights into a number you just calculated separates a good candidate from a great candidate.”
She says “It is very important to practice in an interview setting before the interview,” Pointing said. “If your college offers mock interviews, take them! Some companies offer mock interviews, too. There are other services out there, such as Reflash, that give you free mock interviews. Do a practice interview at every opportunity.” No doubt she could ace all the interviews we all know that practice makes a person perfect, as much as you practice it becomes easier for you when you actually face the interviewer.
If at all possible, Pointing recommends scheduling your “dream interview” last. That way, all of your interviews before can serve as practice sessions.
We all know how stressful an interview be when that’s all you are relying on.
So how can you pay is cool when the stakes are too high? Pointing advises that having a backup plan in your mind is a must, this way even if you fail at plan A you can always rely on plan B. You should always have an alternative path to pursue if your job or internship opportunity falls through.
She adds “If you are interviewing for the summer and you go into an interview with no plan for the summer, then you will probably be way more stressed,” Pointing said. “Instead, if you already have an offer or a vague idea of something you would do in the summer (e.g. travel), then the stakes for the interview aren’t as high. The more options you already have, the more relaxed you will be in the interview and the higher your chances are for the job.”
Interviewing is not just a game that you can play for fun, it’s a serious process and you need to make time to practice the same, enhance your skills beforehand by reading, writing, traveling, solving problems this will help you to practice and it’s the right use of your precious time.
Jessica says “I traveled across the country more than six times in 12 weeks for my interviews and spent approximately 80 hours in planes,” Pointing said. “Make sure you have enough time in your schedule to invest in your internship search process. You should dedicate a few hours each day practicing for interviews. I scheduled time in my calendar for interview practice for every morning (after my regular morning routine).”
Pointing recommends that after each interview, job candidates write down interview questions and solutions, as well as their own strengths and areas they could improve on.
This is another important process as it helps the candidate to gather a lot of interview questions that might be asked in the future, keeping a track of questions asked during various interviews is a smart way to store information.
She says “In one of my software engineering interviews, I missed a particular data structure that would have allowed me to have given a more efficient solution, but I made a note of it, and in another interview, later on, I ran into a question where I could use that data structure,” she said. “After doing enough cases and problems, you will start to recognize patterns, and you will become more confident and quicker in solving problems.”
Don’t just focus on industry-specific questions. Pointing says that interviewees must also come prepared with answers to common behavioral questions. It is very important to know yourself before going in for an interview, most companies ask a question related to your strengths, weaknesses, your goals in life etc. so, it will be beneficial for you to come prepared for such questions.
Jessica says “Behavioural questions usually fall under several categories: leadership, teamwork, challenges, and successes,” she said. “You should identify stories in your life that fall under each of those categories. You should also write down those stories and all the details. Writing down your answers to behavioral questions before the interview is important.”
I’m sure these tips shared by Jessica putting must be really helpful to many people struggling with preparing for their interview. All these tips are very simple to follow and if it leads you to your dream job then what’s the harm to do so. Well I’m sure if you apply these small tips to your life you will also receive job interview calls from Google, Facebook, apple and many more other companies. GOOD LUCK!!
This article originally appeared in Business Insider.