Interviewing Strategies for College Grads and Other Entry-level Workers
First-time job interviews can be daunting. You have limited experience. You will be tackling some tough questions. And you need to understand the basic protocol of interviewing itself. While this may sound intimidating, with some homework and practice you can be better prepared. Our experts provide some helpful strategies for entry-level job seekers to employ to help through the process.
1. Do your homework. Just like prepping for a key exam, interview prep is very important. Since you may not have a rich work background, recruiters will ask you hypothetical questions. Prepare a story about how your leadership and work-ethic at school or as part of an organization demonstrates your employment ability. You should also be armed with research about the company itself. Look at their corporate website and prepare some general questions. If you know the names of the people you are meeting with, research their backgrounds.
2. Be ready for the most common questions. Where do you see yourself? Why are you a good fit? Tell me something about yourself? What is your GPA? These are the types of question that you will be asked and require a thoughtful response. Outline these questions and have your responses ready well in advance. Remember, a job interview is a conversation. So, be prepared to respond and also ask questions and offer information about yourself when appropriate.
3. Practice makes perfect. During the interview you will be assessed not only by how you respond to questions, but your general mannerisms, style and confidence. The best approach is the prepared approach. Ask a friend or family member to conduct a mock interview session with you. Practice being natural, make eye contact and remember to smile. Interviewers know that you might be nervous so they will cut you some slack.
4. Present yourself professionally. First impressions count. While personal style is wonderful, when it comes to the job interview do not get overly creative with your look. Stick with classic, conservative clothing - a suit or slacks and jacket for men; a suit or skirt and blouse for women. Wear minimal jewelry. And for women, keep the makeup minimal. Finally, keep your cell phone turned off.
5. During the interview keep the professionalism going. Shake hands before you begin. Make eye contact and smile. Sit up straight. Present an air of confidence, and let your enthusiasm for the job shine through by asking questions about the position. And most importantly, show your personality, but be mindful of getting too casual. Remember, this is an assessment of your professional style and whether or not you will make a good fit for the company.
6. Remember to follow-up. Take the time to write a thank you note. This can be sent via regular mail or email. If you send by email, always be professional. Your note should thank the interviewer for their time, reiterate your interest in the position, and the reasons why you feel you would make the best candidate. Also include your contact information again
A successful job interview takes practice so do not be hard on yourself if you make mistakes. Learn and apply your new knowledge in your next interview.
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