Read This Before Your First Job Interview

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Getting a corporate job is another tick in the box on the way to an adult life. Once you send out your perfectly polished resume, get ready for the offline part! Here you will need your charm, stress resilience, and preparedness!

Interview

Call from the HR

Once you send out your resumes for the job openings that appeal to you, the next step is to wait for the HR of the company to call you. You may have a small conversation specifying why you applied for the job, your experience and your understanding of the tasks.

At this stage, you are likely to get an invitation for an interview so make sure you are available for it in the nearest future.

NB! If you are applying for a job in advance and you can’t start straight away, make sure to ask the HR or the interviewer about the expected start date.  This way, it will be clear if your timings suit both parties and you can negotiate the details upfront.

Collect information on the company

Once the date and time are set, request information about the interviewers. They are likely to be the CEO of the company and/or the head of the department. Search them online to get a better picture on their work and their impact in the company.

Another tip is to research types of tasks and projects that will be expected of you and think how your experiences will help you tackle those.

Stress prevention exercises

Stress can creep upon us in many ways. The most noticeable ones are when your voice trembles, you blush or your hands shake. To avoid that, clear your throat with a few tongue twisters and face-building exercises. To get rid of muscle tension, do stretching before leaving your house. In case you need to give a presentation, to eliminate fidgeting, do squats – this way you will stand still. And if you blush excessively, invest in a foundation of the same tone as your skin.

On the day

Arriving 10 minutes earlier, looking the part, and being friendly are a given. Be aware, though, that it might get a bit awkward while you are waiting. If you’re asked to wait at the reception, you can have a small talk but don’t expect it to fill all the time.  So either busy yourself with brochures and posters around, bring a prop such as a book or go over your CV.

At the interview

Remember that the interview is a way for the employer to learn about your intentions and a chance for you to put your best foot forward. Don’t let a standard “tell us about yourself” question put you off. Use the “past-present-future” concept to plan your answer. First, talk about your past experiences and results, then tell how your achievements helped you become who you are now. In the closing, talk about your future aspirations and the potential results you want to achieve on the job.

Searching “questions asked at the interview for the XYZ position” in advance may be a good start. You need to have a clear vision of why you want this position.

Be ready for any questions regarding the information in your resume. You may be asked to give reasons to why you didn’t continue your studies and stopped once receiving your Bachelor’s/Master’s.

You may be asked about your salary expectations – do the maths in advance and think about how much you want to be payed an hour.

Tricky questions

It is important to show how you would react in an unfamiliar situation. So what the interviewer may ask is “How would you deal with…?” questions. There no right or wrong answer but what would add you credibility is thinking out loud. Give logical steps, elaborate on possible outcomes, and refer back to your own experience in similar situations.

Now your turn to ask questions

Remember that you need to collect as much information as possible in order to decide if this job is the one for you. Questions you may touch could include information on benefits, flexible timetable, healthcare and holidays.

How to set yourself apart from the rest of candidates and stand out

Shadowing experience is a great way for your employer to see how you get on with tasks and how fast you can learn. Ask if you could join the team for a few hours and spend some time watching them work. This will also be a great way for the employer to gather opinions of the team on you and see where your strengths are.

All in all, your first interviews will bring you feelings of accomplishment and stretch you in unrehearsed situations. Remember to stay cool and positive!

Photo: Shutterstock

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