How to Survive Your First Job Interview
BY JANE HURST
Your first job interview can be a very stressful thing. This is something that is entirely new to you, and that is always something that people view with trepidation. But, a first interview doesn’t have to be so stressful, as long as you are prepared. So, with that in mind, we have come up with some tips to help you survive your first job interview, and maybe even help you to get your very first job.
- Give Specific Answers – Interviewers don’t want yes and no answers. They want details. They want to know that you know what you are talking about, and that you have the skills and experience needed for the job. Think about ways to play up on your unique strengths and highlight them. If there is something different you can do for a company that will help them to grow, be sure to mention it, and be as specific as you can as to why you think your ideas would work.
- Learn about the Company – Before you walk into the interview, make sure that you have learned everything you can know about the company. Find out about the company, and any details you can about the job you are applying for. Then, prepare answers to give when you are asked, “Do you have any questions.” Interviewers aren’t just saying this to hear themselves speak. They want to see that you have done your homework. If you don’t have questions to ask, you obviously don’t care much about getting the job, at least in their eyes.
- Bring a Copy of Your Resume – Even though you likely submitted a resume when you applied for the job, you should bring another copy with you to the interview. When you walk in and introduce yourself, offer a handshake with one hand, and hold out your resume in the other. Sometimes, they may not be prepared, and might not have your resume in front of them. This will save them the time of searching, and show them that you come prepared for anything.
- Use Outplacement Services – You might find it less stressful if you get interview preparation through outplacement services. These companies act as career matchmakers and help people with preparation for job interviews.
- Practice Interview Skills – Before you go to your first job interview (or any job interview in the future), it is a good idea to practice your interview skills. Find someone who can help you by asking you sample interview questions. Come up with what you think will be the best answers. There are loads of websites that have sample questions. A lot of things you will be asked are common questions asked by all interviewers, and these are things you can practice. Also, practice some questions that you think might be asked in addition to the most common interview questions.
- Follow Up after the Interview – It is common courtesy to follow up an interview with a thank-you note. This should not be sent via email. Take the time to personally write and mail a real letter, thanking the interviewer for their time. This will set you apart from those who do not send thank-you notes, and it will keep you fresh in the interviewers mind. It is seen as a thoughtful gesture, and it is something that is forgotten about all too often these days.
Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter.