Being called for your first interview, whether you're a recent college graduate or just rejoining the workforce after a number of years, can be exciting but scary at the same time. Here are some tips to help you increase your chances of turning your first job interview into your first job offer.
Before the Interview: Make Your Preparations
Before you ever even get to your interview, there's work you need to do. First, you’ll want to anticipate the questions your interviewer will ask. Browse interview advice for common (and uncommon) interview questions and how to answer them. You should also research the company and specific position to help you prepare your answers. Once you have a list of questions and answers, have a friend do a mock interview with you. This rehearsal process can help ease any pre-interview jitters you may have.
Your preparations should include choosing your interview outfit. Make sure you have a clean, pressed business suit to wear (that is, unless you’ve been notified already that you can wear something other than formal business attire.) Always err on the side of overdressing, as dressing even one step too casually for your interview could be disastrous. The appropriate interivew outfit will help you make the right first impression when you walk through the door.
During the Interview: Be a Go-Getter
There is nothing more attractive in the work world than an enthusiastic candidate. When an employer is sorting through candidates, they are looking for a person who is just as excited about working for their company as its founders were about starting it. Think of all the reasons you are qualified for the position, and why you would make a great fit with the company. Research the company ahead of time to learn more about what makes it a desirable workplace.
Don’t forget to maintain eye contact, and show that you are engaged in the conversation by referring to previous comments the interviewer made in your answers.
After the Interview: Don’t Forget to Say Thank You
So now you’ve finished the interview and you think it went pretty well. Don't sit back and wait to hear from the employer. Send your thank-you note as soon as possible—ideally, send an email within 24 hours. You may even want to mail a handwritten thank-you note. Show your appreciation for the interview and reiterate why you’re a good choice for the role, thus increasing your chances of securing the position.
By taking the steps necessary to strengthen your interviewing skills, you can turn yourself into a strong candidate. Do your research, maintain confidence, and don’t forget to say thank you. With hard work and determination, your first interview may just result in your first job.