Without question, one of the weightiest stages when making the first foray in the labour market is the job interview stage. It becomes a real challenge for young candidates due to lack of practice, but as we will see, it’s an advisable skill to train, since this step is usually one that will be recurrent during their career.
The main goals every inexperienced candidate must consider when summoned to a first job interview are:
– To convince interviewers that he is the ideal candidate for the job.
– To find out whether that first job fulfils his professional and personal expectations or not.
For totally inexperienced candidates, job interviews are directed at knowing their personality, skills and knowledge better, as well as their ability to interact within a professional environment. So, despite the challenge of a job interview, they must be taken advantage of in order to prove you’re the ideal candidate for the job.
Even if there’s no exact formula to succeed in a first job interview, there’s at least a consensus among the labour market experts on a series of guidelines to bear in mind:
Before the job interview
- If you have been summoned in writing, confirm your attendance likewise. That is a sign of professionalism.
- Learn everything you can about the company. Corporate website and news will provide you with very valuable information before that first job interview. Being aware of the culture, philosophy, mission, and values of the organization will help you identify what you can bring into the table.
- Rehearse the interview. Be it before a mirror or a family member or friend, staging a simulation of how you will answer the questions from the interviewer will allow you to check out if you express yourself correctly, are able to follow a fluent discourse or develop a persuasive communication discourse that serves as a way to sell yourself to the company with a certain guarantee of success. Rehearsing your non-verbal communication skills is something that will play on your advantage, since there are gestures and attitudes that may make you appear as nervous and insecure, like handling an object (a pen, for instance) during the job interview, or sitting in the wrong way. In this sense, IMF School´s professor Juan Carlos Barceló argues that “either experienced or not, we mustn’t underestimate ourselves or come across as desperate. It’s essential to convey confidence in order to convince”.
- Analyze your skills, strengths and weaknesses. This way it would be much easier to provide an answer to usual job interview topics like, for example, your strengths and flaws.
- Dress yourself appropriately. Being aware of corporate culture will help you know in advance whether you should dress formally or more casually.
- Punctuality. Arriving late to a job interview is the worst way to start off. Try to arrive to the appointment 15 minutes in advance. It’s better to wait than to be waited for.
- Bring a notebook. Taking notes during the job interview will allow you to ask some questions at the end of it. And it’s an attitude that will be welcomed by those in charge of the selection process.
- Let the interviewer take the initiative at the moment of greeting and beginning the interview.
- Listen closely to the questions you’re being asked and do not interrupt the interviewer, otherwise it will be taken as disrespectful and insecure. It’s also advisable to use assertive communication.
- Short and specific answers. During a job interview, middle ground is best. Don’t talk too much or too little. Avoid prolonged silences.
- Make eye contact with the interviewer, but don’t be intimidating.
- Act naturally and give sincere answers, even if you think the interviewer won’t like them.
Lastly, if after a job interview you’ve not been chosen for the job, don’t take it as a failure, but as a learning process for your professional development. Assessing and analysing the experience will allow you to correct mistakes in upcoming job interviews.