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Hattie Hynes is a Recruiting/HR Marketing Intern with Milliner & Associates. She will graduate from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business in 2019.

This week with Milliner & Associates has been full of amazing stories. To give back to the community, our team takes the skills we practice every day at the office and put them to work with high school students. Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) is our corporate social responsibility partner. JAG is a state-based not-for-profit organization that helps at-risk students and preventing dropouts. It’s a three-year program that assists high school students during the Junior and Senior years, as well as one year after graduation. The program focuses on gaining practical, real-world experience with career prospects, interviewing, resumes, cover letters, scholarship applications, college applications, and anything else they may need along the way.

The final project in Decatur Central High School’s JAG class is an interview that is conducted by the M&A team. Juniors are interviewed over the phone, while seniors must face a daunting panel interview. I had the opportunity to be an interviewer on the panels, as well as a couple of phone interviews.

I didn’t have a whole lot of expectations going into the process… Because, I was interviewing kids who were my age or slightly younger, and I had very very little experience in the interview room. To this day, I’ve only had two real job interviews.

Being on the “other side of the table,” I learned a lot about myself, as well as the interview process. I’ve read articles about needing to stand out when you’re going in for an interview, and through my experience with JAG, I learned that they’re not kidding. When an interviewer has five or six interviews stacked back-to-back, they forget a lot of the details of the people they met with. They can make as much effort as possible to write down all the details of what you say, but it takes a really skilled individual to be able to remember 5 people who you have the same conversation with back-to-back. On the interviewee side of the table, this means that standing out and captivating the attention of your interviewers is what’s going to make you attractive and memorable to them.

There’s no perfect way to interview that’s going to get you the job every time… and that’s the beauty of it. An interview is a conversation to figure out if you and the company are a good fit for each other, and it changes based off the nature of the position. When we were interviewing JAG students, they were much more memorable when they turned their personality on and spoke about their experiences with life so far. So, here are a few tips from the other side of the table:

Relax. You can control the interview. You control how you answer the questions and what direction the interviews ends up going. But if you walk in with your head down and your hands and voice shaking, you’re probably not exuding confidence or showing the interviewers that you’re competent. So relax and remember that you’re just having a conversation with a couple of people, and they’re going to love you!

Be Confident. We had a student that we interviewed that when we asked on a scale of 1-5 how confident she was, her reply was “4… No, maybe 3.” While it was hilarious and we all laughed it off, some people may not like that approach. If you can confidently speak about yourself, it show the interviewer that you are observant and reflective of your own behavior, and that’s a very valuable skill in any position.

Be yourself. Be confident in yourself, because being yourself is going to captivate the attention of the right company that fits who you are. If you try to be something you’re not, odds are that you’re going to be unhappy. You might as well not waste your time working for a company that you don’t believe in.

What’s the point? Relax, be confident, and be yourself! You’re a lot more likable when you’re trying to be you, and you’ll stand out in the right place if you’re yourself.

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