5 Job Interview Tips for First-time Job Seekers – JobMob

5 Job Interview Tips for First-time Job Seekers

What you need to know to keep the stomach butterflies away.

announcing job interview cartoon

This is a guest post by Neil O'Donnell. If you’d also like to guest post here on JobMob, follow these guest post guidelines.

So, you’ve done what most applicants didn’t do – you landed an interview?

Congratulations.

Now get ready for the endurance test.

Yes, you should be proud of this accomplishment as usually only three to five applicants (out of upwards of a hundred) are selected for interviews.

That said, getting through the interview to the job is a challenge on the level of climbing a mountain, during a blizzard, with no guide. In other words, it’s difficult.

To ace the interview, here are a few tips that will help increase your chances of making it through to the job.

1) Dress for success

Yes, kind of cliché, but wearing a suit, and all the accessories (i.e. tie, dress shoes, subtle colors such as white shirt/blouse with gray or navy blue suit) makes for a professional appearance. Dressing in shocking color schemes or in jeans and a t-shirt will likely not impress the interviewer.

2) Acknowledge and maintain eye contact with everyone

When being interviewed by a group, if you look at only one or two of the interviewers, you risk alienating those you did not maintain eye contact with. I’ve been in many post-interview meetings where that was the major complaint by interviewers. Do not make that mistake.

Additionally, when being introduced to those present, write down or remember their names and respond to their questions with their names – an easy way to impress interviewers.

3) Research the company BEFORE the interview

One of the questions I always ask applicants is what they know about the company. I am always amazed at the lack of such research on the part of applicants.

To hiring managers, not knowing much about the company is showing a lack of respect and will likely destroy the applicant’s chances of getting the job. If you know about the company and find a way to mention how your skills fit their current and five-year plans, you will stand out from the others receiving interviews.

Interviews should be seen by applicants as an opportunity to determine if the company is a good fit. Do you really want to work for a company that stands against everything you believe in? It happens more times than people realize and leads to unhappy employees.

4) Ask questions that uniquely connect with the company’s goals

During the research phase, make sure you look into the company’s current initiatives and short/long term goals. Then, in the interview, ask the interviewer(s) how they see the open position playing into those goals and initiatives.

This will not only show you respect the company, it will also help impress upon them your fit if you can reference your experiences that specifically match the goals.

5) Send thank you notes

Again, this probably sounds like another cliché, but thank you notes sent to interviewers can make a great, lasting impression especially when a thank you is sent within twenty-four hours and it is a handwritten note as opposed to an email (though sometimes an email is unavoidable).

Using the names you wrote down at the introduction phase of the interview, find addresses for all interviewers and write a separate thank you for each. Should you forget a name or two, write a thank you to the lead interviewer thanking her/him for her/his and the staff’s time.

Then take this one step further. Should you not get the job, consider writing another thank you note, thanking the interviewers for considering you. Sound like a waste of time? First of all, as they took the time to interview you, a bit of gratitude is not too much to ask. I have even seen where such a thank you note got an applicant consideration for another opening.

About the Author

neil odonnell Neil O’Donnell is an academic and career specialist with 20 years of experience helping college students achieve academic and career success.  An experienced academic advisor, a Master Tutor Trainer (certified through the Association for the Tutoring Profession), and a nationally Certified Professional Career Coach, Neil is particularly skilled at helping students establish an academic plan, which leads students to success in the classroom and in finding employment after graduation. He blogs at EOP and HEOP Resource Center.

This article is part of the The $11K 8th Annual JobMob Guest Blogging Contest.

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About the Author Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

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5 comments
Jacob Share
josh says

Send thank you notes Absolutely. Who knows if the chosen candidate doesn’t end up actually starting the job and they need the next in line? What if the team expands in the near or distant future and does not want to bother with another hiring effort?

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Jacob Share
Jacob Share says

josh- so true. Too few job seekers thing about staying classy on their way out the door and how it can actually lead to another job down the line

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Jacob Share
Claude Bouchard says

Excellent article. As a past H.R. professional with over twenty years of experience, all I can say is Mr. O’Donnell’s advice is bang on.

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Jacob Share
Jacob Share says

Claude- from your pro experience, what’s your favorite job interview tip?

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