How to Ace Your First Interview
The first interview can be nerve-wracking and give you the jitters. But don’t worry – with the right preparation and ample practice, you’ll shine and open the door to an exciting new opportunity. Your future employer wants to get to know you, learn more about your skills, and have a genuine conversation with you. So, at the end of the day, you just want to be yourself and put your best foot forward. Here are some helpful tips to help you cope with interview stress, and ace it!
Do Your Research
Before going into any interview, it’s crucial that you put in the time to find out more about the company and position you are applying for. For example, do some research on their website to learn about their product or services, major competitors, size, history, and philosophy. Not only do you want to make sure you know what you’re getting into, but you also want to show your potential employer that you’ve done your homework and are genuinely interested in the company and position.
Practice With Different People
Practice makes perfect! Find a trusted family member, close friend, and/or career counselor to conduct a mock-interview with. The more times you do it, the more well-versed and comfortable you’ll get! Try to do this with multiple people if you can. This way, you’ll be able to receive more insight and constructive criticism from an outsider’s point of view. This can help you hone in on how you’ll tackle certain questions smoothly, and improve your interview skills overall.
Go over the frequently asked interview questions like the following, and be prepared to answer them succinctly:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why do you want to work here?
- What makes you a good candidate for this position?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What are your long-term goals?
- What did you like most and dislike most about your last job?
When practicing, you want to remember to be yourself. The last thing you want to do is try and fabricate a response you think the employer is looking for. Most likely, he or she will be able to see right through an inauthentic answer, and not be inclined to hire you.
Note that an effective communicator is mindful of using filler words like “umm,” “like,” and “you know” too often. If you are the type to naturally slip these words often in day-to-day conversations, then you’ll especially benefit from more interview practice. This is not to say that you should freak out if you accidentally mess up, but with enough practice, you should be able to answer questions confidently without getting caught off-guard.
Dress to Impress
You only get to make a first impression once, so make it a good one! Make sure that you are well-rested and look alert & well-groomed. Go the extra mile to shine your shoes, and iron your dress shirts, pants, and/or dresses. Avoid wearing anything revealing, and any strong perfumes or colognes that may be distracting. If wearing make-up, keep it natural and professional.
Right before showing up for an interview, it’s a good idea to gloss over your resume and be ready to explain your abilities, experiences, values, and interests as they relate to the position you’ve applied for. Stay engaged, be prepared to ask relevant questions, and show your interest in the company. Bring a copy of your resume, and your business card if you have one.
The interview process doesn’t have to end the moment you walk out of the employer’s door. Once you get home, it’s a smart idea to write a thank you note, expressing gratitude to the interviewer for taking time out of his or her busy day to meet with you. Show your appreciation, and remind them of your interest in the position. Follow-up etiquette doesn’t seem like much, but can go a long way in making you stand out and increase your chances of getting the job!
By following these simple but essential tips, you’ll be well on your way to landing the job of your dreams. Finally, we can’t stress this enough – be yourself and have fun with it!