Congratulations on taking the first steps to enter the workforce! When it comes to landing a job, everyone has a different experience. Some can be less discouraging than others but there are certain factors that can make the transition into employment smoother no matter what the outcome may be. I wish I had these tips before my first job interview.
Looking at the city name alone can lead to some big issues before your first job interview. Just because a familiar city is listed does not mean that the business is going to be easy to spot. Many businesses are in hidden almost residential areas and if you don’t do your mapping beforehand, you can wind up arriving late or not finding the company at all! It is incredibly helpful to scout out the location at least the day before your interview that way you will be able to walk in with ease and confidence opposed to a frantic mess.
2. Expect the Unexpected
Your first job interview is for a customer service associate and you are walking into the office ready to discuss your comfort level being a cashier when the interviewer flips the script. He puts a stapler on the desk and asks you to sell it to him on the spot. Even though your position may have nothing to do with sales, you should be able to think on your feet and sell that stapler as if your life depended on it. It is difficult to anticipate every possible scenario but do not let unexpected or confusing scenarios ruin your first job interview. A lot of interviewers want to test your critical thinking skills or adaptability and this is something to be aware of.
3. Have Examples Ready To Go
I had a relatively short but prepared list of accomplishments and positive qualities when I walked into my first job interview. Despite many possible benefits to adding you to a company, interviewers are equally interested in moments of difficulty that you have overcome. How have you dealt with confrontation in the past? What would you do if a fellow employee was having a bad day? Describe an instance when you solved a problem even when it wasn’t your responsibility. Since a day at work will not always be problem-free, it is important to have lots of examples ready.
If you are like me, you get nervous incredibly easily and this causes you to become flustered at times. Having a bottle of water in your bag will quickly remedy these instances. It is quite the predicament when your mouth goes dry and you must fight it back with coughs to continue answering a hoard of hypothetical scenarios. I do not recommend taking in any drink other than water because if a spill occurs, you can consider your first interview over.
Although there is nothing wrong with arriving at the business at your exact interview time, you could instead use this opportunity to showcase your punctuality. Arriving 10-15 minutes before your interview demonstrates your initiative and the degree of patience you possess. Sometimes you’ll arrive early and have to wait for the interviewer to finish preparing which is not a bad thing! They will have a positive first impression of you as you sit courteously in the lobby. This may also result in your first interview taking place at an earlier time which will allow you to get other things done in the day.
6. Consider the Commute
There are times when you are forced to apply to a job in another city because none are available near your residence. It may be extremely easy to arrive on time to the interview and maybe you are even offered the job on the spot! What you need to consider going into that first interview is the amount of time or money that will be spent on this commute. If you are making minimum wage and traveling over an hour to get to work, you are not going to be left with much money. Predicting the level of impact the commute will have on your financial situation can save you a lot of time.
7. Ask Away
At the end of your first interview and those that follow, the hiring manager will usually ask if you have any questions. It seems like the polite thing to do is simply reply that you do not but it might be better to express your concerns in that moment. Whether it is a question about salary, work attire, or schedules this is your chance to get it out! If you ask your questions when prompted, you will leave the interview with fewer worries and it will show that you are still invested in the position.
8. Rejection Is a Huge Part of The Process
During my first interview I underestimated how difficult getting a job would be. Rejection was presented as a possibility but my young confidence pushed that aside which resulted in my not getting the job to hit me even harder. I had to endure so many interviews before I got my first job and the process did not stop there. You are going to want to grow from industry to industry or be promoted which only happens through interviews. If you go into that first interview knowing that rejection is a constant, you will be able to withstand all of them until you land that ideal job.
Here’s hoping your first interview will benefit you in employment or experience.
Do you have any other advice for someone going on their first job interview? Let us know in the comments below!
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Rebecca was born in Hayward, CA and still resides there today. She received her BA in English Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and is the first in her family to graduate from university. She is a Poetry student in the MFA program at Saint Mary’s College of California and is furthering her involvement in the literary community. In her spare time, she likes to lose her voice at Giants games, read Young Adult novels, make lists, and aims to cross become a writer off it.