11 Tips For Your First Job Interview

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If you’ve landed your first job interview, you are probably nervous about it. I would say “don’t be!” but I know that is a lost cause.

It is normal to be nervous, but you should be prepared. What you’ll find is that when you are prepared, the things you’ve practiced will come back to you at the right time.

After the first couple of questions into the interview, you’ll be in the groove.

Here is a list of 11 tips for your first job interview that will help give you the tools you need to succeed!

1. Practice Makes Perfect

Tips for your first job interview. Practice makes perfect.

Interviews are stressful!  So, a great way for you to feel more prepared is by practicing.  It may feel weird at first, but you will thank yourself in the end.

Find someone who can be the interviewer and give them a list of questions to ask you.  Or, if that feels too uncomfortable for your first practice, start by sitting in front of the mirror.

This will also give you a chance to see what kind of facial expressions you make.  Practice smiling and having a pleasant look on your face when you aren’t speaking.

When you are getting ready to practice, check out this article that lists common interview questions you may be asked.

2. Do Your Research

Do your research. Tips for your first job interview.

The worst thing you can do in an interview is not knowing general information about the company.  Most websites have an about page that lists all kinds of facts about the company.

Pick three facts about the company that you will memorize and bring them up in different ways in the interview.  For example, if you were getting a job at a school, then comment on the year they were founded or an interesting fact about who founded the school.

Read their mission and pick out one part of it that especially speaks to you and comment on that when they ask you why you are interested in the job.

The main goal is to show that you took time to learn about the company and this will speak volumes to the interviewer.

3. Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Get Ready

Give yourself plenty of time to get ready for your first job interview.

Giving yourself time to get ready for your interview will make sure that you don’t show up flustered and rushed.

You will want to feel as calm as possible, so giving yourself time to get ready will help create the frame of mind that you want to have in your interview.

4. Arrive a Few Minutes Early

Arrive a few minutes early to your first job interview.

When you arrive for your interview, you will feel nervous.  So, to help with that, make sure you get there a few minutes early.  Take that time to relax and look over your resume.

Not being rushed with help you feel calmer as you walk into your interview.

5. Take Deep Breaths Before You Walk into Your Interview

For your first job interview, take deep breaths as you walk into your interview.

As you approach the building where you are interviewing, focus on taking deep breaths.

There is a lot of cool science behind why taking deep breaths helps you feel calm, but basically what it does is tell your brain what is happening.

If you are breathing quickly, then you can go into fight or flight mode.  But, taking deep breaths lets your brain know that everything is okay and will help you feel calm.

6. Say Only Positive Things to Yourself

Say only positive things about yourself as you walk into your first interview.

This is key!  It’s easy to say negative things to ourselves.  So, make sure you only think positive things.

Here are several things you can tell yourself as you walk into your interview:

“I’ve got this because I’ve practiced what I will say.”

“I know a lot about this company and can speak intelligently about it.”

“I’m a happy and friendly person, so I just need to smile and be engaging.”

“I’m a hard worker and this company would benefit having me work here.”

Pump yourself up!  Know what makes you feel better and repeat those things over and over to yourself.

7. Know How to Answer the “Tell Me About Yourself” Question

Know how to answer the tell us about yourself question in your first interview.

This question is tough if you aren’t prepared to answer it.  It’s so open-ended that if you aren’t prepared, then you’ll end up talking about something that isn’t important for the interview.

Take some time and think about what you want to say when you are asked this question.  It’s a great opportunity to highlight what you have accomplished in your life so far.

You can also tailor your answer for each job you’re interviewing for.  If you are interviewing for a food service job, you can highlight that you volunteer at your school cafeteria or a soup kitchen.

Pick qualities about yourself that align as closely as possible with the qualities you think will be expected of you in the job you are interviewing for.

8. Create a Connection With the Person Interviewing You

Find a way to connect with the person who is interviewing you.

Being able to connect with the person interviewing you is very important.  People generally hire people they like and creating a good connection with them will definitely make an impact on their hiring decision.

Finding something in common is a great way to connect with the person interviewing you.  Many times as the interviewer is getting ready to start the interview they will chit chat a little.  This gives you an opportunity to ask questions and find out a little more about them.

Asking questions will give you clues to what you have in common with them.  Also, noticing things around their office.  Any sports items, pictures of kids, etc. will give you clues to what is important to them.

9. Only Say Positive Things About Past Employers

Only say positive things about past employers or experiences in your first job interview.

Since this is your first interview, you may not have any past employers.  But, as a general rule, you will not want to bring up any negative reasons for leaving a volunteer position or a side job that you worked for extra money.

Employers are looking for employees that will bring positivity to the workplace.  No employer is ever looking for a negative employee.

10. Have Examples for Every Skill You List on Your Resume

Have examples for your skills on your resume.

Stories are a great way to showcase your skills.  Before you walk into your interview, think through several stories that give you a chance to talk about a challenge and how you overcame that challenge with your skills.

Interviewers love stories, so this will be an important step in your preparation!  Have at least 3-4 stories that you plan to tell when the moment is right.

11. Don’t Forget to Follow Up!

Don't forget to follow up after your first interview.

Less than 40% of the people who interview for a job send a follow-up thank you note.  So, by taking the time to do that, you can really stand out from the crowd!

Send a short handwritten note or email to thank them for their time, say that you’re even more interested in the job after learning more about it, and you can’t wait to hear from them soon.

Please share any interview tips you have in the comment section below!!

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