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How to Nail Your First Interview

When you receive the call for your first interview, it is an exhilarating yet nerve-wracking experience. You start rummaging your mind for all the “classic advise” that you have been given. The triteness of the rhythm of “be confident, don’t show nervousness, fake it till you make it” becomes a jumbled, erratic mess in your head. The question then remains; how should I prepare for my first interview? How do I systematically organise the do’s and don’ts in my head? To solve that dilemma, read on for ways to improve your interview game!

1. Learn About the Company

The primary thing that must be done when you are preparing for the interview is to research the company as thoroughly as you can. Browse the social media platforms to gain valuable information about the job. Some companies have professional websites with an “About Us” section to introduce themselves to the public. Some company members have LinkedIn accounts with detailed information on their business backgrounds. Make sure you go through all the valuable info that you can dig from the internet about the company and its senior position holders. The benefit of researching the company for preparation is two-fold. Not only do you get a sense of where you will be working in a broader, more holistic way but you will also be equipped to answer the question; “What do you know about the company?” which the interviewer could ask later on.

2. Dress Fittingly

The clothes that you don on are a crucial part of the first impression that you will be making on the recruiter. Dress in simple and formal attire. Strike a balance between the colours of careless casualness and overdone formality. You don’t want to hop on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt on the interview just as wearing a tuxedo would be a tad much. Similarly, choose soft, pastel colours for the attire. Anything too loud and gaudy must be discarded.

3. Practice the Standard Interview Questions

Write down the appropriate responses to the standard, interview questions that are usually asked in the interviews. Get a friend or family member to help you prepare and rehearse the answers. However, make sure that your answers don’t become too scripted and mechanical. Here the age-old wisdom of “Practice, but not too much” applies. More often than not, being overly controlling of situations make the candidate seem phoney and annoying. Make a mental note of what has to be said, but don’t cram it into your system.

4. Time is Of the Essence

Being late on the first interview leaves a wrong impression on your work ethic. Request the company to send you directions to the place. Additionally, get an idea from someone of where the area is so that you don’t get lost. Arriving on time or better yet, a few minutes early leaves an excellent first impression on the recruiter. Ideally, you should be aiming to get to your interview around 20 minutes early. Even if you find a coffee shop to hang out in until time of the interview, you'll be able to relax knowing you are there. A recommended tactic is to travel to the location of the interview just to make sure you know exactly where to go.

With the increase in saturation of the job market and competition, recruiters are hard-pressed to find the best candidates for their jobs. In such a situation, candidates must leave no stone unturned to win the first interview round.