First Interview: Here’s How to Prepare

November 18th, 2016

If you’re like most first time job seekers and recent graduates, you’re probably dealing with some stress and anxiety during the days leading up to your first interview. But as you’ve probably learned during your days in the classroom, the best treatment for this kind of stress is simple: preparation. Here are a few moves that can help you gain a sense of control over the process and consequently help you sleep better at night. As you probably know, a good night of sleep will help you look, feel and perform better when you’re sitting in the interview seat!

Have polished answers to predictable questions.

While some of the questions you face may come out of nowhere, there are a few tried and true interview queries that make an appearance in almost every session, across every industry. These include: “Why do you want this job?”, “What can you bring to this position that no other candidate can?” and “What are your greatest strengths?” If you have flawless answers in mind for each of these, you’re halfway home.

Get ready for curveballs.

When you hear a question that you didn’t plan for and can’t possible expect, don’t lose your cool. Just take a deep breath (in and out for two full seconds). Then speak slowly as you provide your response. Don’t trip over yourself. You’re in no rush, and your interviewer has nothing else scheduled during this particular hour. Take your time and explain yourself clearly.

Practice, practice, practice.

The more time you spend practicing for your session with a mirror, a pet, or a friend, the more focused you’ll be when your moment arrives. Everything is easier when it feels familiar.

Think of your interviewer as a friend and a human being.

Ease your nervous jitters by keeping this moment in perspective. Your interviewer is not an authority figure, and he or she doesn’t have the ability to judge your core character or hold power over your destiny. You’re just two adults trying to assess your potential as a match. It’s kind of like dating; you’re just here to get to know each other, and you both have an equal amount to gain or lose.

Write things down.

In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget some of the details and information your employer may share during your session. And though it’s perfectly common, it’s still embarrassing to ask a question about something your interviewer already explained. So take notes. Writing things down can keep you on track, and it shows that you’re listening and interested.

For more guidelines that can help you ace your interview and land the job you need, reach out to the Cleveland County staffing and career management team at PSU.

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