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Advice for your first job interview

10/3/2018

Advice for your first job interview

Many young people who recently graduated from college are likely trying to enter the "real world" workforce for the first time in their lives, and with that new challenge comes the need to adequately prepare themselves for a "real world" job interview. There's a lot of work that goes into this type of face-to-face meeting, and those who have never done so before have many pitfalls to avoid.

The first and most important thing for a young person to do as they pursue a job that fits more of the "career" description than "gig" is to do something they might have thought they were done with after college: homework, according to The Balance Careers. Any hiring manager they speak with will expect them to have at least some understanding of what the company does and what the job entails, so a little online research will help young adults get a better handle on what they'll have to know.

Along similar lines, it's also important to prepare for an interview with a friend, family member or someone from a career center, the report said. Even people who have been through dozens of job interviews can get nervous for that process, so being able to talk through it and get a feel for the kinds of questions that might be asked is a great idea for those who don't have the experience.

What to say
While every job - and therefore every job interview - is different, young people can often expect the hiring managers they meet with to ask them a handful of fairly common questions, and it's important to have good answers for them, according to Monster. Recent graduates will, for example, almost certainly be asked how their schooling prepared them for the open position, as a means of assessing how well they understand the role and what they can do to make themselves the ideal candidate. Often, answering this question requires specifics, so nailing down a good response in advance is always a good idea.

Hiring managers also ask recent grads the same kinds of things they ask more experienced professionals, such as questions about their biggest professional shortcomings or failures, the report said. While this can be an uncomfortable question to answer, companies are simply looking for a bit of self-reflection and a recognition of areas where growth is necessary; obviously, no company expects someone new to the workforce to have a full toolkit of skills, but those who are eager to build on what they have could be more attractive candidates.

What else to keep in mind
In addition, it's important for interviewees of all stripes to make sure they're making a good first impression, according to Live Career. That means dressing appropriately (the general rule of thumb is wearing business-casual for a casual-dress job, business for business-casual, and so on), practicing a firm handshake, making eye contact, and maintaining good posture.

Most of the time, young interviewees will have a little more slack from hiring managers than older counterparts, but it's still important to be as practiced and prepared as possible when entering this kind of meeting.