First Interview

Tips for Your First Interview

After an employer has reviewed your resume and called you in for an interview, it is tempting to feel as though you got the job– that the employer has already decided you are the right one for the job, and that the interview itself is merely a formality.

Do not let yourself get overconfident. Your first interview with the company is highly unlikely to be the only time the company meets with you before they offer the job. Instead, the first interview is usually used to screen out applicants that are not right for the position, while those that are more qualified are asked to come in for a second interview.

That is why during the first interview it is important to focus on creating a great first impression. Your goal is to get a second interview more so than to land the position. In order to get that second interview, there are some things you need to do correctly.

Things to Do at Your First Interview

Your first step in the interview is to make a great first impression with everyone that you meet. The more the interviewers like you, the more likely they are going to invite you to the next step in the process. Some of the ways to improve your first impression are:

  • Introduce yourself to everyone you meet without waiting for them to introduce themselves first.
  • Keep a positive attitude throughout the interview – do not complain about anything, especially past employers.
  • Smile, nod and remain interested in everything the interviewer tells you.
  • Ask great questions – prepare some questions ahead of time to ask during the interview.
  • Focus on the benefits of hiring you. By keeping the conversation on your accomplishments and abilities, companies are more likely to think that you are the right person for the job.

Things to Avoid at Your First Interview

The first interview is a screening interview. As such, employers are going to be looking for reasons not to call you in for a second interview. Here are several things to avoid for your first interview:

  • Don’t smoke beforehand. The last thing you want is for your breath to smell like nicotine.
  • Don’t talk about salary, benefits, etc. Those are things for the second interview or for when you are offered the position.
  • Don’t come unprepared. Learn everything you can about the company and the position.
  • Don’t arrive late, get lost, or do anything that could make you appear disorganized before the interview even begins.

Following Up After the Interview

In addition to the tips above, give yourself a few extra bonus points after the interview is over.

  • Ask for Feedback – Once the interview is over, feel free and ask the interviewer for feedback about the interview. See if there were any doubts or questions, and suggest that you will address them at the second interview. Even if you do not get the position, their feedback can be invaluable for your next interview with another company.
  • Send a Follow Up Email – It is always a good idea to send a follow up email to the employer. Thank them for the opportunity to interview with them, ask them a few additional questions, and then ask “I was wondering what additional steps to expect with the application process. Will there be additional interviews conducted to qualified applicants?” This question shows your interest in the role and determination.

Overall, it is just as important to avoid mistakes as it is to create a great first impression. Follow the above tips and your interview should go quite well.