Now that University is over, it’s time to enter the real world and find a full time job. But creating a top CV and completing those applications is just the beginning. When the time comes to go to your first interview, it can be a nerve wracking experience, (and we have all heard the horror stories about interview faux pas’) Here we have put together our top tips on how to prepare for your first interview, so that when you walk through those doors to meet your potential boss, you blow them away.
1. Do your research.
It’s no good walking into your interview and being asked why you want to work for their company, and you have no idea what the company does. In the 21st century, it takes no time at all to go onto the company’s website and take notes on what they do, their vision, and their history. It also helps to know the job description by heart and be ready to tell your potential employer what experience you have that would make you a suitable candidate for the role.
2. Dress to impress.
Every company has a different dress code in the office, but as you haven’t got the job yet, it is always a good idea to dress to impress. Smart never goes out of style. And whilst you can add your own twists to workwear, it is never appropriate to show too much skin, have creases in your clothes, or stains down the front. Most employers know whether they are going to hire you within 30 seconds of seeing you; so make sure you knock their socks off in that first glance. Plus, it’s an excuse to go shopping….
3. Be early, but not too early.
Whilst this point sounds conflicting, let me explain. It is always a good idea to be around 10 minutes early to your interview, so that you’re not rushing and flappy when you arrive at the location. However, being too early will make you nervous and it may be inconvenient to the person who is interviewing you to have you sit in reception for a long period of time.
4. Don’t talk too much.
Nervous chatter is a real problem. Having nothing to say is bad, but having too much to say and interrupting the interviewer is never a good idea. It makes you appear young, unprofessional, and inexperienced. The best way to combat this problem is to prepare your answers to questions you think the interviewer may ask the night before and practice saying them out loud into the mirror.
5. Let your personality sparkle.
The whole point of a face to face interview, is for the employer to see if your personality fits in with their company. So whilst the interview is formal, don’t be afraid to crack an appropriate joke, smile and make eye contact. Showing you are relaxed in a pressured environment will benefit your application and show the interviewer that you can rise to any challenge.
6. Plan your journey.
There is nothing worse than being lost on your way to an interview. The best way to avoid this disaster is to plan your journey the night before, and if you are using trains, check the services as soon as you wake up on your interview day. Google Maps is a life saver when it comes to navigating your way around the streets, so make sure you have enough data and the address, and you are good to go.
7. Ask questions.
Usually at the end of the interview, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. As stated previously, it is always a good idea to have one or two questions prepared to ask. Asking questions means that you have been listening and processing what the interviewer has been saying, but also shows that you aren’t afraid to ask for more information or for a point to be repeated. No one is perfect and your potential employer will appreciate your effort and interest.
8. Don’t lie.
Lying on your CV is sure to come back and bite you on the bum. Usually the interviewer will ask you to talk him/her through your CV and expand on how your experience makes you suitable for the role you are applying for. So if you fail to mention a point or look blank when the interviewer asks you about your great experience in the industry that you just don’t have, prepare to be busted! Also, employers are not stupid, they will be checking information you put on your CV and contacting references to make sure all information is correct. So play it safe and stick to what you know.
9. Don’t over-do the make up.
Experimenting with makeup and trying out bold new trends is to only be encouraged, but there is a time and a place. Walking into an interview with your full glam make up on won’t give off the right impression at all. We suggest going for an everyday, polished and natural make up look that you have worn many times before. The last thing you need in the morning is to be re-doing your winged eyeliner for the third time because your hands are shaking from the nerves.
10. Practice and perfect your handshake.
The handshake is a professional way to greet your potential employer. You need to make sure your handshake is firm, but not a death grip at the same time. Also, no one wants to shake a dirty, sticky hand with dirt under the finger nails, so make sure you give your hands a little TLC before the interview. Following on from this point, chipped nail polish is never a good look. Either have a fresh manicure or clean fingernails on the day. And finally, when you are shaking hands, make sure to smile and look the other person in the eye; this shows confidence and approachability.
Hopefully this list has made you feel better about tackling your first interview. Just remember, you are entirely capable of getting a full time job, it’s all about confidence, preparation, and letting your personality shine. Share your interview experience in the comments below!
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