How to Prepare for Your First Job Interview
Many graduates every year make a bee line for the campus placements. While not all of them end up getting a job, most lose out during the selection process. One of the common causes are lack preparation for the job interviews. Fresh graduates are not aware of what goes into a successful job interview preparation process and end up either relying too much on academic credentials or their raw intellect.
Let’s break down the elements of interview preparation step by step.
Below you can also access 101 Interview Questions and techniques to Influence the Job Interview. Good luck with your next job interview.
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Learn about the company:
Before anything else you should try to know more about the company you are applying to. Knowing organizational philosophies, details of the work culture and other contributions to the society helps a lot in interviews. It’s likely you will be asked questions like ‘Why should we hire you?’ or ‘Why do you want to work with us?’ You should also understand what company is looking for and what skills and personality you have. If you are those who do not get so well with others but you have strong technical skills and have a strong academic profiles, a software engineering job might be a good fit. Also a product job is better suited for such a profile than IT services job.
Find a practice partner:
Interviews need to be practiced thoroughly and you need to be able to get comfortable with the interview setting. Find someone who is willing to help you and practice with him – be it a friend, teacher or your parents. The best partners are your friends from your college or university who studies the same course. There are plenty of resources that can point you to questions that are likely to be asked and you should develop answers for them and let your practice partner evaluate your performance. You should try to improve your answers and iron out the kinks every subsequent practice session. If possible you should record these mock interview sessions and evaluate your own performance yourself as well. If you are not able to find a partner despite your best efforts, practice your answers in front of the mirror. That way you can observe your body language and get comfortable with yourself.
Get appropriate attire:
While we all know we should not judge books by their cover, looks matter nonetheless in interviews. Choosing the right dress for the interview requires you to know about the organization. If the environment of the organization is casual then you can be a bit more casual but if there are strict dress codes in the workplace then you need to dress in formals. Many traditional organizations have color codes as well and you should try to fit in with the dress code as much as possible. Talking to current employees is best way to know about the culture of the company.
Creating the right impression:
You need to be prepared for not only the questions that are likely to be asked at the interview but also the right approach. Get your soft skills polished and speak confidently and clearly. Do remember to greet the interviewer and always maintain eye contact. You should practice these little things in your mock interviews as well. Other than these courtesies you should also know how to present yourself to the interviewer. Self-confidence is the key to cracking any interview and you need to ensure that you present yourself as a skillful individual with the right mindset that matches the wavelength of the organizational policies. Most importantly, you need to be yourself. Any experienced HR professional will be able to identify if you are giving a false representation of yourself or not. Ensure that you are honest in your approach and you will be able to sail through the interview.
We often think of references as means of getting an unfair advantage over others in an interview but it’s not so. If you know someone who works in the organization you are applying to, do not shy away from taking their names. If you have taken any degree course recently include your professors or teachers from these courses for references. Those who have taken part time courses, can include the reference of their batch-mates if they are from same organization. These courses generally attract experienced candidates and you will find many of them have worked in your target jobs before taking up the course. But do not fake it – it’s more than likely that the interviewer will contact your references and ask about your skills and capabilities.
Mind your body language:
Your body language is as important as your knowledge. You should not be too aggressive or too passive when it comes to communicating. You need to have the right balance in your approach. While being too relaxed during the interview and cozying up in the chair might make the interviewer feel you are being too casual in your approach, being too rigid and uptight will make the interviewer feel you are nervous. Your body language should be friendly and it will allow both you and the interviewer be comfortable while conversing.
Arriving for the interview:
Now that you know how to prepare for the interview, it’s time to take care of punctuality. You need to ensure that you arrive at least 15 minutes in advance even if you know the interviewer is someone who tends to be late. You should have sufficient time in hand when leaving your home and on the off chance that you end up getting stuck in major transportation problems you should inform the HR personnel or the organization ahead of the allotted time. If you feel that you will not be able to attend the interview you should let the respective people know and request a reschedule.
Exiting the interview:
Once the interview is complete you should shake hands with the interviewer and also thank everyone who was responsible for conducting the interview. Ideally you want to make a lasting impression without being too aggressive. After you leave the interview you should leave a thank you note via email as well as snail mail. Simply put in a few words of appreciation for the opportunity provided and wait for the interview results!
Author Bio –
Paresh – I have been writing online for last 4 years now and I have written extensively about career options for graduates and experienced professionals. Beyond that I enjoy reading about latest tech advances. I also enjoy building new products using latest technologies.
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