Your first job interview is a monumental event in your life. Not only is it important by virtue of being the doorway to your career, it is also pivotal to the direction you take thereafter.
If you have got the interview call, it means that the company is looking for someone with your profile. Only they want to ratify their decision in a one-on-one meeting. For an interview to turn out in your favor, there are a certain things you need to keep in mind.
Be there before time; at least half an hour early. Because trust me, being there before time to catch your breath is much better than rushing in on the last minute. You should reach in advance to take in the surroundings. Just being there could tell you a great deal about the company and the culture of the place. This kind of information is useful to carry at the back of your head while greeting the receptionist, facing the interviewers or even generally carrying yourself around.
It’s a good idea to go prepared for an interview because it gives the employer an idea that you are interested in having the job. Giving an impression of being on ‘wanderlust’ will not work too much in your favor. You should do your research about the company, its key promoters and their profiles / backgrounds. There are certain questions that are asked in every interview and the one that tops this list would be “Tell me something about yourself”. Answering this question does not require so much knowledge, as much it requires good presentation skills. Prepare by answering this question to yourself in the mirror, several times, till you get the:
- Right tone – You may be very good with English language but if the interviewer cannot feel your presence through your answer, you may not make the dent. Remember not to sound mechanical.
- Appropriate expression – Your facial expression when answering is also very important. You must look and feel comfortable. Seem like you are talking to a friend rather than being in any pressure situation. It will help you make the right impression.
- Timing – Your answer should last at least for a minute and a half.
The second most popular question in all interviews (in my opinion) is “Where do you see yourself five years from now?” When the interviewer pops this question to you, he/she wants to see how much of a planner you are. Because if there is a single ‘Planning’ bone in your body, you will have planned this one thing by now – ‘your own life’.
In addition to this, you should know what is expected of you on the job.
Go well dressed
‘How you dress up’ is very important in an interview scenario. In the first look, the interviewer would have most probably made up his mind about the kind of personality you have. Make sure that your style of dressing is in sync with the culture of the company. If they prefer very professional looks then you must resort to clean and sharp dressing and if they prefer casual dressing then its no use dressing over the top. Over all, you should focus on looking professional and objective oriented as per the culture of the company.
Never tell a lie
This one might sound like straight out of a moral values lesson from your school textbook but it is an advice that will make a lot go in your favor. Do not lie – neither in the resume nor across the table – no matter how great the temptation. Just be firm, confident yet honest. When queried on any skill, say you have a basic idea but you are willing to learn. Your employers will be pleased to know that they will not need to start by tutoring you on the basics yet will appreciate your willingness to learn. Suppose you lie about certain skills and the interviewers decide to test you – you run the risk of being exposed in the interview itself. Suppose you somehow scrape through the interview, then on the job you will not be able to hide the lack of such a skill for too long.
Know the lingo
If you are pitching for your first job, employers will not expect you to be an expert on the field. But knowing some basics and terminology (lingo) of the business will work in your favor. This tells the interviewer that you have not just landed up for this interview but really worked your way in life towards his office. This will set you apart from the other contenders straight away. It’s the surefire way of letting them know that you carry a keen interest in the field and therefore likely to do well on the job.
Out of all those who have come to appear for the interview, the interviewer is likely to remember the one who gave him the toughest time. So, ask a lot of questions not with the intention of giving anyone a tough time because even that will show through. But generally also, asking questions is a healthy sign as it shows that you don’t take things for granted. It shows that you are interested in the job. Asking questions will also signify that you are not a ‘yes-man’ and have a head of your own. And these qualities are generally desirable qualities from an employer’s point of view.
You might have unexpected questions thrown at you like travel preference, location preference, even other completely unthought of things they might ask –if you would like or not. Some of these questions could be for real; others are just to see how you react to situations thrown at you. From experience, I can tell you ‘Honesty’ works best. (Another one from the moral values textbook, but works all the time). They might ask you questions about such lucrative situations such as overseas travel and high pay. Do not be swayed. Stick to your reality and answer wisely. Because ultimately they are trying to see how grounded and mature you are. After all, their company would benefit more from mature and grounded people rather than the ‘here today gone tomorrow’ variety.
Above all, stay cool.