How to crush your first job interview
Got your first job interview lined up? Don’t worry, you got this. We’re here to help.
Your first job interview need not be the palm sweat-inducing, teeth-chattering experience you’re making it out to be. You have the skills, you’re hardworking, you’re perfect for the job.
Sitting with a potential employer in a fluorescently lit conference room as they ask you why you’re the best candidate for the position takes some getting used to. But as they say, practice makes perfect.
Keep these tips handy when preparing for your first job interview, and soon enough you’ll be on your way to becoming an interview aficionado.
Show the interviewer that you’re motivated
Aside from presenting a polished and well-written resume, Kaitlyn Annaert, human resources manager at Voices.com, the largest online marketplace that connects brands with voiceover talent, advises candidates to come to the interview dressed for the part, interested in the company, and with great questions prepared. Letting your motivation and drive come through is key to impressing your interviewer, especially since you have limited work experience.
Remember that part-time job you held in school? Definitely prepare to talk about it.
“Mentioning your part-time job while you were a student makes a huge difference because it shows you have time management skills and that you understand the importance of balance, something we are all looking for in the ideal hire,” Annaert says.
Do your homework on the company
Do you know the mission of the company you’re applying for? Are you familiar with its website? Its products? Does it host events?
You might be a little nervous going into your first job interview, and that’s natural. Knowing the details of the prospective company, especially as it pertains to the job you’re interviewing for, is a great way to prepare and calm those nerves.
Amanda Haddaway, director of human resources and marketing for Folcomer Equipment Corporation, a construction equipment dealership headquartered in Aberdeen, Maryland, recommends researching the background of the company, the position description, and the corporate culture. According to Haddaway, you should find out:
- How long has the company been in business?
- What type of work does it do?
- Is there room for growth?
And to put that research into motion before the actual interview, why not schedule a mock interview to practice? Many colleges’ career services office will offer free practice interview sessions. Take advantage of them.
After research, come up with questions to ask
One of the best ways to indicate interest in a company and position is to ask about them. The trick is to not ask questions that have answers you could have easily looked up online. Instead, ask specific questions.
For example, ask about a new product the company has released, and what the marketing strategy behind it is. Or, how often do sales and marketing work together?
“My advice is to at least Google the person who will interview you, the institution, their work, the market. Find some information in advance,” says Dr. Luz Claudio, who directs the Division of International Health at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
In addition to advising undergraduate and graduate students on interviewing, Dr. Claudio interviews about 70 applicants per year and he’s reviewed more than 400 resumes.
“When the person asks: ‘Do you have any questions for me?’ take out your notes and ask some specific questions about what they do. This shows your interest,” he says. “It shows that you did some homework and preparation prior to the interview and that you took initiative in searching for additional information.”
With a little practice and preparation, you’ll be on your way to having a great first interview. And remember, even if you don’t get the first job you interview for, don’t give up.
Persistence is power.
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