What's better: Being considered for your dream job, or crushing the interview? Arguably both moments are pretty sweet, but landing a conversation with your potential future boss is a little bit better. You send out a ton of applications, crossing your fingers that that editorial position pulls through. You spend extra time going over your resumé and cover letter before hitting that "submit" button. Sure enough, you receive an email asking for you to come into the office, and you immediately start practicing your interviewing skills. Now, there are some
things nobody tells you about your first job interview that you should totally know about. Let me give you the scoop.
Interviews are all about showing your potential future employer that you'd be a good fit — not just for the position, but for the team. They want to make sure that you're comfortable with tight deadlines and completing tasks on your own, or are open-minded about projects and a collaborative atmosphere. They also want to see how you carry yourself, and the personality traits that will make you thrive at that company.
Going into the interview, you're probably going to be a bit nervous, but just remember that you're not the only one who is being interviewed, per se. You want to ask questions, propose ideas, and just be yourself. It's important to see if this company and position is what you're looking for, too. Here are some things you should know going into your first job interview, because nobody else will give you the 4-1-1.
Being Nervous Is Totally OK
First things first: You'll likely be nervous about your first job interview. That's OK, and doesn't mean that you won't crush every single question.
The truth is, you're new to this, and anything can be nerve-racking the first time around. Think about the first time you rode your bike without training wheels, or
the first day of college when you were trying to find your building on campus. You were convinced that you'd get lost and be late to class, but you made it.
Your first job interview won't be any different. Give yourself some extra time to shake it out before you walk in the door, and remember that you have so much to offer.
Do Some Research On The Position And Company
Before going into your first interview, be sure to do some research on the position and the company. You may have already taken some notes on their latest projects, or looked into their career growth opportunities while you were fine-tuning your application. But, giving those bullet points a second glance is always a good idea.
Brush up on what the company cares about, and find connections between those topics and your own accomplishments and passions. Include these points of interest in your interview conversation, and avoid just telling your interviewer what they already know from your resumé.
Pick Out Your Outfit The Night Before
Even if you're a morning person, take some time the night before your first job interview to pick out your outfit. Try on that brand new blazer, and make sure that it looks the way you thought it would with those pants. The last thing you want is to be late or stressed out before you even get to the building.
When you're picking items from your closet, think about the position that you're interviewing for. A creative company might appreciate brighter colors and fashion-forward choices, whereas a pantsuit would be the perfect outfit if you're going on an interview in finance.
Give Yourself Extra Time On The Day Of
On the day of the interview, give yourself plenty of extra time. You never know what inconveniences you might run into. You may hit traffic on the highway, or the subways are running late due to the weather. Maybe you need five more minutes to get your hair just right, or run through your talking points in your head. You never know, so plan accordingly.
Wake up before your usual alarms, and figure out what trains you're going to take ahead of time. If you're early to the interview, you can grab a snack at a coffee shop nearby.
Ask Some Questions During The Interview
You don't have to be the only one answering questions in an interview. In fact, this part of the process tends to go both ways. On the one hand, the interviewer is looking to see if you'd be a good fit for the team. On the other hand, you're looking at the company to see if
this position and experience is exactly what you're looking for.
Sometimes you may find during these question-and-answer periods that you can't picture yourself growing at that particular company, or the position has different expectations than what was listed. Come prepared to your first job interview with questions like, "Are their opportunities here for professional development," or "What is the most challenging part of this position," that give you a better idea of what you're signing up for.
Brush Up On Your Own Skills And Accomplishments
When was the last time you looked over your own resumé? Sure, you've been sending it out to potential future employers and editing it here and there, but have you seriously considered your skills and accomplishments, and how you've used them to further your goals and passions?
Your interviewer is going to know that you're proficient in Adobe programs or web design, just from looking at that piece of paper. What they won't know is how you used those technical skills to create a massive video project, and what went into that entire process. Those are details that just don't fit on one sheet, and need to be elaborated on. Brush up on
you before your first job interview. You won't regret it.
By now, the interviewer has seen your resumé and cover letter. They know what you've accomplished, and have a general idea about your professional goals and aspirations. Now it's your time to let your personality shine — to show this company that you'd be a good addition to the team.
When you're answering questions and talking about your experience, don't be afraid to just be yourself. Start a conversation, smile, and
talk about your semester abroad. Own up to times that you've made a mistake, and then reveal what you did to change the situation for the next time. You're only human, and showing that side of you that's genuine and outgoing is just as important as your career thus far.