7 Interview Tips for a New Job Seeker
The job search process can be overwhelming, especially if this is your first job out of college. Now that you have your resume ready to email and post—and you’re prepared to tweak it when necessary—here are a few tips to help you prepare for your dream job interview.
1. Set up practice interviews to boost your confidence. Many universities offer career services to alumnae, so check out the resources available to you at school. You can also ask your Alpha Phi big sister, a nearby alumna or anyone else who has been in the workforce for a few years to do a practice phone or in-person interview. Take the constructive feedback you receive and revise appropriately for the real deal.
2. Scout it out. Make sure you know how to get to the interview location and how long it will take you. There’s no excuse for being late. If you want to go the extra mile, pop into the office and see how people dress there, meet the receptionist, pick up any literature about the company that may be at the main desk, and ask how to pronounce your interviewer’s name. By the way, if you do run late due to unforeseen circumstances (the bus broke down, for instance), call as soon as you can, apologize and offer to reschedule.
3. Have a clean resume and most importantly know your resume well. Even though you’ve emailed your resume and the interviewer will likely have it on hand, you should always bring a few printed copies to the interview, especially if you have made changes since you submitted it with your application. Some interviewers may refer solely to what you have listed, while others may not reference it at all. If an interviewer does ask questions based on your resume, respond with more than the bullet points on paper. Rehearse some extended answers that are relevant to the job in question.
4. Study the job description and research the company. As you read the job description and learn more about the company, you should develop talking points for your interview focused on how you can be an asset to the organization. Through this process you should also formulate meaningful questions to ask during your interview. Interviewers always ask if you have any questions—and you need to have at least two that aren’t about the salary or time off, which, by the way, are hard don’ts in a first interview.
5. Dress appropriately. Hiring managers agree that the biggest interview faux pas for recent graduates is their attire. Always present yourself professionally and be sure to plan your outfit ahead of time. If ever in doubt, it’s better to be overdressed! There are a lot of blogs, Pinterest boards and articles on professional women’s fashion, so before you go shopping be sure to have a clear idea of the items you will need to create your perfect interview look. You don’t want to be rushing out the night before.
6. Ask for your interviewer’s business card. Within one day of the interview, you should follow up with an email thanking the interviewers for their time and affirming your interest in the position. Do this for both phone and in-person interviews.
7. Lastly, before leaving the interview, ask about the next steps in the interview process. This shows your interest in the job and will give you an idea of the timeframe for hiring. You want to start working asap, but the interviewer may explain that the process will take several weeks. This should put your mind at ease as you wait to hear back.
Special thanks to Megan Vallone (Beta Pi-USC) for assistance with this article.