If you’re just about to leave school or college and enter the big bad world of work, it can be a pretty daunting prospect. Add to that the current challenging economic situation and it may seem that finding a job is going to be an even scarier task. Here at The Employable we know it’s certainly not easy for first time jobseekers but it’s not impossible either – provided of course that some effort is put in. So if this is a situation you’re going to be facing in the next few months, this advice should help – Tips for your First Ever Job Interview.
Know what you’re about
Ever watch Dragons Den and see all those entrepreneurs pitching their big idea and seek investment? Well, in many ways a job interview is quite like that. As an interviewee, you are there to pitch yourself – to sell to the employer your skills and your abilities. It’s essential then that you plan what you are going to say. What are your strengths? What can you offer to the employer that another candidate may not? Spend some time before the interview assessing this and figure out what your achievements and accomplishments are. The more you know what you are about and what sets you apart from other candidates, the better you are likely to perform in an interview.
Do some research
Generally every employer will ask you what you know about them. It’s essential then to do some research in advance so that you can answer this question confidently. Look at their website, check for news stories, ask friends and family what they know about the organisation. An employer won’t expect you to know everything about them, but will certainly expect you to know a little. Don’t let yourself down by not being able to answer this question. Here are 5 Ways to Research a Company that should help too.
It might seem a little awkward or uncomfortable, however having a practice or role play interview beforehand will really help. Ask a friend or a family member to be the interviewer and to go through some typical questions with you. Practicing like this will not only boost your confidence for the real thing, but will also help you get some feedback that you can use to improve your performance. Ask your ‘interviewer’ for some constructive criticism and then make sure that you take their comments on board.
Look the Part
It may seem a cliche that first impressions count, but in an interview situation particularly, they really do. As soon as you enter the interview room, the interviewer will have begun to form an opinion on you. You need to do your best to make sure that it’s a positive one. What you wear is really important. Nobody is necessarily expecting you to dress like a city banker, however you should certainly wear smart clothes. Forget the jeans, the t-shirt or the dress you would wear clubbing – a more formal approach is essential. Check out our tips on dressing for interview which should help.
There are all sorts of practical bits and pieces involved with attending an interview that have to be considered. Make sure you get there on time – ideally at least 10-15 minutes before. Plan ahead how you will get there to take account of any public transport or traffic problems. Make sure your mobile is switched off – a phone going off during an interview, even if it simply vibrates, will really appear unprofessional. Likewise, make sure that you aren’t chewing gum or eating when you enter the interview room. Get rid of the gum, the mints, the sweets – whatever – well before you first meet the interviewer.
We hope that these tips help if you’re going for your first ever interview. And one more thing…best of luck!