Getting your first job can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you get nervous in an interview like I do! After talking with a number of business owners and hiring managers I have come up with a general list of things to do (and not to do) to help you have a great interview and score the job you want!
Interview Tips for Your First Job
Things to do before the interview:
*Dress appropriately even when you are just picking up or dropping off and application.
*Review commonly asked interview questions so you are ready for the types of questions an employer might ask. Here is a list of 100 commonly asked questions. You don’t have to memorize all of the questions but it is a good idea to be familiar with them and have an answer for the ones you think might be asked.
*Prepare a notebook or binder of some kind. Bring an extra copy of your resume to the interview and use the notebook to take down any notes during the interview if needed.
*Practice the interview with a friend or your parents. It really makes a difference to say your answers out loud so you can make adjustments. Sometimes you know what you want to say in your mind but it doesn’t come out right until you have practiced a couple of times!
*Do some research on the company. Take a look at their website so you know some of the basics about them. Being familiar with the company will make you seem smart and truly interested in working for them!
Positive First Impression:
There are so many things you can do to create a positive first impression. It’s important because you only get one chance.
*Dress appropriately. Make sure your clothes are clean and neat. This would be one of those times to get out the iron and get rid of the wrinkles! Remember to check the little details like making your shoes are clean and that your belt matches if you need to wear one.
*Business casual clothes will probably be fine for a first job interview depending on where you are applying. Make sure to get a haircut if you need one. It’s a good idea to stay away from big overstated jewelry and perfume as well. Don’t want the interviewer to be allergic to you!
*Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early.
*Be friendly and positive even if you are really nervous. Smile when meeting everyone, look them in the eye and shake their hand. The person interviewing you knows you are going to be nervous but they will appreciate the effort you make.
*Don’t forget your notebook with the extra resume inside!
*Turn your phone off and don’t even think about looking at it – even in the waiting room.
During the interview:
*Make eye contact and remember to breathe. Try to smile and relax a little bit.
*Answer the questions slowly. If you don’t know the answer to something be honest and just say so.
*Remember to ask some questions about the company or about the position you are interviewing for if possible.
After the interview:
*Always follow up with a written note of thanks to the person who interviews you. An email is better than nothing, but a written note will stand out. Be sure to write down the persons name and get the company address so you can get the note in the mail asap.
Things Not To Do:
Mom and I were listening to the radio the other day and they were telling stories that hiring managers had shared about crazy things people have done DURING their job interview. And yes, actual people did these things…
*Swear. (It is not okay to drop the f bomb during your job interview!)
*Leave during the middle of the interview and disappear into the bathroom for 30 minutes without saying anything to the interviewer. (Awkward!)
*Spend the entire time talking about what a terrible person your last boss was and the many reasons you hate him/her. (Maybe your boss isn’t the problem?)
*Show up 2 hours late and still expect to be seen. (Really?)
*Wear a t-shirt that has a huge hole in the front. (Borrow a shirt if you have too!)
*Take a phone call during the interview or answer a text. (Yes, apparently people do this.)
*Take your lunch with you and eat it during the interview. (This one is my favorite. Really? Nosh during the interview? Hahahaha!)
Keep these things in mind and you will do a great job at your first interview. I hope you get the job!