Job Prep: Preparing For Your First Job Interview


Yesterday, we talked about the steps to take to land a new job, but today we’re going to explore how you can prepare for an interview. If you are new to the interviewing process, you’ll need to get some practice which means spending some time interviewing for jobs you may not be interested in taking. Don’t worry, you aren’t wasting anyone’s time – many practice interviews end up leading to a job offer, sometimes for a completely different job or new department!

Your Resume – Paper resumes are still very much in, no matter what some experts tell you. Sure, go ahead and put all of your vital information online and/or copy it to a Flash drive and have that available for tech savvy interviewers. However, an old-fashioned hard copy resume printed out on high quality bond paper is till in order – work with your college’s Career Office to craft a winning resume.

Your Attire – Unless you’re interviewing for an I.T. Department position, you need to dress the part. This means acquiring the necessary wardrobe for your interview, regardless of whether the company is formal or not. People will judge you by the way you look, the tattoos they see, and the length of your fingernails. That tongue piercing may be all the rage, but it could scuttle a job offer if it turns off an employer.

Your Research – Prior to going on your interview, can you honestly say that you know all that much about the company? With access to the internet, you have no excuse to not know this information which can come in handy during your interview. Your interviewer will ask you several questions regarding the way the company operates, therefore you should understand its mission statement, know who the CEO is, be familiar with their products or services, and have a grasp of the company’s size, number of employees, locations, etc.

Your Composure – When meeting the person or people who will be interviewing you, look them in the eye, shake their hand, smile, and relax. Answer questions carefully and thoughtfully, but don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know” if you really don’t have an answer for a question. Be polite, thank your interviewer, and show genuine appreciation for the interview while expressing interest in the company.

Your Follow Up – Send a thank you note to the person who interviewed you and follow that up a week later to express your interest in the position again. If you are in the running for the job, you may be contacted again or invited in for a second interview, but you can help your cause by following up yourself.

Your Offer – If you successfully navigate through the interview process and receive a job offer, do not accept their offer on the spot. Ask for one or two days to consider their offer and then sleep on it. When you awake, refreshed, and ready to consider their offer, ask yourself if the company culture, pay, benefits, work requirements, and your skill sets are a match for the position. Be prepared to give your response within the alloted time, graciously accepting or turning down their offer.

Interviewing takes practice and you’re bound to flub one or two before you feel comfortable meeting with potential employers. Most people will understand that you’re nervous, but being organized and prepared will take the edge off of you.


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Categories: Career Planning