Your first interview can be a daunting prospect, which is really no surprise after the constant reminders from parents, peers and career advisors on the importance of landing your first job.
So, you're probably wondering what steps you can take to calm your nerves and to ensure you walk into your first interview feeling ready and confident. Importantly, you've already conquered the first hurdle, which is getting that all-important first interview. Your CV and application evoked promise and potential to the hiring manager.
The interview process varies for every job - some may request a phone interview, and others a Skype interview - but most commonly, potential employers will invite you to the workplace to meet up face-to-face.
Before you reach this stage, it is essential that you prepare. I am a big believer in the old adage: Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!
Some of the following points may seem obvious, but they are the foundations of a successful first interview.
Research the company
Showing an understanding of the company signals you have real interest in that place of work. Interviewers will expect you to have a good grasp of what the organisation does, examples of their past work and knowledge of their competitors. This will ensure that you can hold a relevant conversation.
Research your role
Read the job description and ensure you know about the role you're applying for. You may want to make sure that your answers are ticking the boxes for the tasks and objectives expected of the role as this will show an obvious ability to do the job required.
Think of some potential questions your interviewer may ask you
Sitting opposite your interviewer and having a blank is the dreaded scenario for everyone.
Ensure this doesn't happen to you. Think of the industry sector you have applied for and some of the key tasks involved and skills required. Also, ask yourself what you would want to know about someone. Why are you interested in the job? What can you bring to the company? Do you have any examples of how you would execute a certain task?
On the off chance that you do become stuck, take a deep breath, process the question and think of a logical answer.
Prepare some questions you could ask at the end of the interview
This shows the employer that you are truly interested in the position they have to offer and are eager to learn more. One tried and tested question is to simply ask when you can expect to hear from them but this won't help you close the deal. If you're feeling brave, you might ask them if they have any outstanding concerns about your suitability for the role because this will give you a final chance to address them.
Good preparation signals two things to an interviewer; enthusiasm and organisational skills. If you are able to channel your nerves into energy and excitement for the journey in prospect with your potential employer you will do well. Enthusiasm is infectious!
And remember, every interview is a learning experience that will help to prepare you for the next one.