Congratulations! You’ve just got off the phone and found out that you’ve secured your first job interview.
You feel your heart beating a little faster, palms getting sweaty and perhaps even a mixture of excitement and anxiety. Just like facing anything for the first time, it’s normal to feel nervous during your first job interview too.
However, the key to tackling your nervousness is to build your confidence and prepare yourself for what’s coming your way. There are some steps you can take to ensure that you are ready for your first job interview.
While you’ve always been told to ‘be yourself’ during an interview, it is also important to remember that you should present yourself in the right way. The truth is, when it comes to interviews, first impressions matter and acan help you move on to the second round of interviews or even better — secure the job.
When it comes to your attire for the interview, it is important that you wear clothes you’re comfortable in as this will influence your confidence level during the interview. Plus, it also allows you to pay full attention during the interview instead of worrying if your shirt button is going to pop out!
However, just dressing comfortably isn’t enough. Be sure to pick conventional, smart attire like a long sleeved shirt paired with dark-coloured long pants.
Start out right
Besides dressing right, how you present yourself at the beginning of the interview also plays a very important role. In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology, it was revealed that the first few minutes of the interview are vital because this is when your first impression is made.
The first impression is what matters most as it leaves a lasting impact on the interviewer. So, even if the interview started off rough but seemed like it had a good ending, your interviewer might not have taken the second half of the interview into account.
Do your homework
It’s always important to get to know the company or organisation before the interview session. Most companies have a website and thankfully, with the help of an online search engine, you’ll be able to find lots of information.
Having the right knowledge such as knowing the company’s business, mission and vision, will help you tailor your interview answers accordingly. On top of that, it also shows your interest in working for the organisation as you have made the effort to do your ‘homework’ and find out about the company. If the company’s profile is not available on the internet, feel free to call the organisation to find out more.
Ask the right questions
A common perception about interviews is that the interviewer will be asking all the questions. Hence, when the interviewee is asked, “do you have any questions?” he or she may be caught by surprise and simply say no. This is not the best option. Instead, when you are given the opportunity to ask questions, take it and ask insightful questions that might indirectly impress the interviewer. For example, ask:
- How would you measure the success of a person in this position?
- Are there any goals you would like me to accomplish within the next month or two months time?
Give examples of your traits
Even though you have just finished university and may not have years of working experience under your belt, there may be projects that you have completed and achieved during your years of study. These could be used as an example to support your list of personality traits and skills, that you want to share with the interviewer. For example, if you have listed leadership skills in your resume, share a corresponding life experience such as being the president of a club in university.
Although a job interview may sound intimidating, take it as a lesson and as a way to gain experience. You can also speak to your parents or older siblings to receive personal advice on how you can ace your first job interview. All the best!
My first job interview checklist
Use this helpful checklist to make sure you have everything you need for your interview:
- 2 copies of your most updated Curricular Vitae (CV) or resume (a copy for yourself and the other to be passed to the interviewer)
- Passport size picture (not a cropped picture of a ‘selfie’)
- Copies of personal documents such as Identification Card
- Copies of your education certificates
- Copies of any other relevant certificate you have obtained in the past
- Referral letter (if any)
- Cover letter for the job
- A notebook (for notes)
- A pen