The Interview

Focus on the first two minutes

By Colleen Sabatino, The Intern Coach

Prepare the longest and hardest for the first two minutes of your interview.

Most people know within minutes whether they want to form a relationship with someone. There is a great book called Blink that shows us how we make huge judgments and decisions in the blink of an eye. The same holds true in internship selection. The decision to hire is frequently a snap decision made within the first few minutes of a meeting. Since first impressions are so important, dedicate your prep time to answering questions likely to come in the very beginning of the interview. These can be things like: "Tell me about yourself?"  "Walk me through your resume." "Why are you interested in this company and internship?"

Your goal should be to have prepared your answers to these questions so when they come up, you don’t have to spend your energy trying to think about what to say. Instead, you can use your energy to express confidence and enthusiasm as you deliver your answer. Think about Tiger Woods’ public apology as he attempted to express sorrow for his transgressions. There is no doubt that he prepared and memorized what he was going to say and rehearsed it numerous times before going on stage to share his apology to the world. As a result of his preparation, practice and rehearsal, he concentrated on feeling and looking like he was sorry when on camera. 

Now, for many, it worked – they thought he was heartfelt and sincere.  Personally, I felt it was overkill and he came off looking wooden and unnatural. So, while it is really important to plan more for the opening of the interview by preparing answers for the initial questions in advance, don’t overdo it like Tiger did.  When you have your content prepared in advance, use that preparation to feel confident and ensure your delivery is natural and conversational.