Tips for your first job interview
Going to your first job interview can be pretty daunting. You’re not sure of what they will ask, you don’t know what you need to know for the interview and you are exposing yourself to the chance of rejection. All-in-all, job interviews take courage. To make your first job interview a little less stressful we’ve put together a basic list of some of the things to think about before your interview.
Pick your outfit in advance
A job interview is not a fashion event and we recommend you pick something classic that matches the attire of the industry or job you’re applying for. You are likely to be able to find the companies dress code by looking up the company‘s social media and looking at what the employees wear to work. If in doubt dress in a suit or something conservative that is not likely to draw attention to what you’re wearing (unless of course you are interviewing for a fashion position where this may be relevant).
Plan your travel in advance
This sounds simple, but it’s scary how often people end up being late for interviews because they did not plan early enough the route they were going to take to the job interview. Make sure you plan your trip in advance and leave enough time so that you arrive at the location with around 30-60 minutes to spare. This will give you time for things to be running late, but it will also give you time to relax and get your head together with how and what you would like to say.
Read about the business in advance
Showing that you have an interest in the business and an understanding of what they do is key to demonstrating a whole range of positive attributes to an employer. It shows that you are motivated to get the role, that you believe in their purpose, and that you are organised and prepared in advance of the conversation. These are all critical factors in helping you to stand out as a job candidate. Two of the best places to start in learning about the business is to look on their website, as well as to look at their social media.
Shake hands and maintain eye contact
This simple action shows that you are confident about the interview. Even if you’re nervous (which is totally normal) this action creates a positive and strong start to the interview.
Thank the person for their time
At the end of the interview thanking the employer for their time is a great way to demonstrate that you are grateful for the opportunity to meet them and will finish the interview on a positive note.
Be polite and friendly
Key to a successful interview is demonstrating that you are polite and friendly. This point could become critical if an employer says something that you disagree with or they ask what you would do in a particular situation that may provoke a stronger response (for example a conflict). We recommend you always try to focus on being polite and friendly at all times, even if they deliberately try to challenge your values or view point.
If you come out of an interview and are uncomfortable with something that happened, the thing to remember is that you are interviewing them as well. If you didn’t like the feel of the organisation, perhaps it is worth waiting for a job and company that is a better personal fit for you.
Ask if there is anything you can prepare in advance
You are allowed to ask an employer before an interview if there is anything you can prepare in advance. This doesn’t just demonstrate initiative, it gives you the opportunity to plan ahead. It’s very common for the interviewer to ask if you have any questions, you should always have some questions ready to ask about the role of organisation. Questions around why the role has become vacant, the average tenure of staff in the organisation or any training the business offers are good.
Think about a clear and succinct way to tell your story
One of the questions you are definitely going to be asked by the interviewer is, “Tell me a little bit about yourself.” We strongly recommend that you think about this in advance. You might like to share two or three stories that relate to the role you’re applying for. In these stories we recommend that you link these events to a range of the skills and values you demonstrated. If you’re interested in how to do this you can follow the link below to learn about the STAR technique which is a helpful tool for job interviews:
The STAR link: http://blog.careerhq.com.au/four-letter-secret-winning-job/
Now, just breathe
One of the most important things in a job interview is to try and relax. We recommend before walking into an interview to take 10 deep breaths and to just try and relax. We hope these simple strategies will help you to prepare for your first interview and we would welcome your feedback on what helps to make job interviews a more positive experience for you.