Let me set the scene: my hands are clammy, my legs are shaking and I’m trying my best to remember all the answers to questions I’ve rehearsed in my head. Do you know where I am? You guessed it: my very first real job interview.
I’ve had numerous jobs in the past where I have had to interview but none of them were “big girl” jobs like this one. I worked at a catering company, Aeropostale at my local mall, as a counselor at a day camp and also at internships during the summer. This job interview felt different. This could potentially be my first real job right out of college, one that could start my career and my real life. So yeah, there was a lot of pressure unlike the other ones. You can’t blame me for being nervous!
I went though all the typical questions in my head:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What do you like to do in your spare time?
- Why do you feel you are a fit for this position?
As I sat in the conference room waiting for the interviewer to come in, I suddenly felt a sense of relief. At that point, there was nothing I could do; there was no turning back.
Overall, my first job experience was a pretty positive one. I felt comfortable answering most of the questions and everyone was really nice and welcoming. I (hopefully) didn’t say any embarrassing answers to the questions so moving forward, I feel confident if I were to do another interview. I now know what to expect.
Fun fact: At a previous job interview in high school, I answered that my inspiration was Oprah and was so appalled by my answer after that I turned bright red. Lesson learned: answer truthfully and not what you think they want to hear. I obviously didn’t get hired there.
After going through this process, here’s some advice for others going to their first job interview (thanks to my parentals for giving me the advice!):
- Be yourself. They want to see who you are and if you will fit in with the culture of the company. If you are not yourself, you may realize down the road it’s not right for you.
- Research the company before you walk in the doors. Make sure you know what you are getting into.
- Look your interviewer in the eye and give genuine answers. If you don’t know the answer, that’s okay. Say something along the lines of, “That’s a great question” to give yourself more time to think about it.
- Make sure to ask questions. Think of a few to ask to different people you are going to meet. If you can’t think of any questions beforehand, listen closely to to what they say and ask a follow up question to something they said.
- Write a thank you email after the interview. They appreciate it and it makes a good impression on you!
Have you had good experience interviewing? Any bad experiences? Other good advice to make a great impression during an interview? I would love to hear!