When I was a senior in high school, our county had a program to educate students on the various services the county offered. We learned about departments within our county and visited some of them. For example, we visited the Juvenile Hall. For the summer, they offered internships to these places and I applied. Two offices called me back for interviews. One was the Public Works Agency and I cannot recall the second place. The program coordinator gave us tips about interviewing.
They told us to get there fifteen minutes early, dress professionally, sit up straight, make eye contact, and more. You’ve probably heard this before. For the first interview I did just that. I dressed nicely, I was there fifteen minutes early, and as I waited I did not look at my phone. When they called me into the conference room, I sat up straight, made eye contact, and kept my hands in front of me. Yet while I answered all their questions, I didn’t show off my personality. The interview went well but I could tell it was a bit bland. Still, this was my first interview, so I assumed that was how they worked. Cue to my next interview.
My sister drove me to the Public Works building because I did not have a license. We drove in circles looking for the correct street. We were so lost that I had to call someone from inside to give us directions. And by the time we finally arrived, I was thirty minutes late. One of the interviewers even had to leave! The interview, however, was one of the best interviews I have ever done. It was fun and open.
In this interview I showcased my personality and was more relaxed, focusing less on being the words on my resume and more on answering their questions. I wanted them to get a sense of the type of person who would work alongside them. Though I don’t remember what about, I remember we laughed many times. I also mentioned my self-published book that was not on my resume at that time and told them other things about myself too. They asked if I could be assertive if need be and I said yes. The interview was disastrous yet successful. They hired me as an intern for the next six weeks.
I urge everyone to follow the steps that make for a good interview, but don’t forget to bring yourself. Do not forget to express your personality because you are who they are going to work with. Do not be afraid to mention any hobbies or projects you like doing. All those things make you look like a better candidate. Think about the non-work-related creative things you can share, depending on the question. Talk about fun activities you like to do when you are not at school or at work. I had a question like that. What do I do on the weekends or what do I do to relax? Don’t be afraid to share your activities. It gives your interviewers insight into you as a person.
Over those six weeks I had a great time working for the Public Works Agency. They dealt with land deeds, erecting signs, city maps, and building projects within the county. I learned a lot about working for the county and how dedicated people are to getting things done. The people I worked with were kind and informative. They never hesitated to help if I had a question or a problem.
Yet I would never have gotten the opportunity if I had not shown my personality. I tried so hard to have the perfect interview in the first one and follow all the steps. Except I didn’t focus on showcasing my personality and enjoying the interview, which is what I do now. Instead of being nervous I enjoyed the opportunity to sit there and answer questions. They wanted to know more about me. I must show myself and not words on paper. I need to express it—who I am. We should never hide ourselves to get a job. Expressing ourselves, professionally of course, is how we should get a position.