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Nailing your first job interview

Your first job interview is a daunting time. Like starting school or becoming a teenager. So, feeling nervous is completely understandable.


However, with some careful preparation, you should feel calmer, more in control and ready to take that first step into the working world. Read on to find out how you can nail your first job interview and land yourself an exciting first job.



Do your research

Never underestimate the importance of pre-interview research. Time out to prepare can help to put your mind at ease and ensures that you give better answers on the day.


Some interviewers will actually ask, ‘what do you know about our company?’, but even if they don’t ask the question specifically, your answers should reflect that you’ve done your research and understand what they do.


The company website is an obvious place to start. Look for pages called ‘about us’, ‘history’, ‘background’, ‘values’ or similar. Alongside this, check out their social media pages and search for the company name as a hashtag. On Google, check the main search results and then use the ‘news’ option. Here you can find out if they’ve been in the news recently. All of this information can give you something interesting to discuss in the interview.


What’s more, as part of this search, work out who the company’s competitors are too, as this will give you an idea of their position in the market. Make sure you have a list of similar brand names to hand – but only drop these into conversation if it feels natural to do so.


Whilst you are checking up on the company, conduct a quick search for yourself as well. Look for any embarrassing search results that could put a potential employer off and consider switching your social media settings to private. Ideally, you should do this before you even start looking for jobs, but especially so before the interview – it could ruin your chance of landing the position.

Finally, make sure you know where the interview is taking place, how to get there and who you will be meeting with. It’s worth doing a test-run of the journey in case it’s hard to find on the day and make sure you leave enough time for any traffic.


First job interview, first impression


You may have heard friends and family say that first impressions are important in a job interview, and they’re right. An interviewer won’t justify giving you a job if you’ve made little effort to impress, no matter how great your skills are. That means what you wear to an interview and how you interact with your potential employer will be noticed.


Use some of the research you did earlier to gain an idea of the dress code. If you’re still confused, it’s safer to dress up than down. Wear any new items before the big day, to check if they fit properly and, if you’re accident-prone, there’s no harm in carrying clothing stain-removal wipes in your bag!


Whatever you wear, your body language is just as important. Smile, stand up straight, give firm handshakes and make direct eye contact with your interviewer and anyone else you meet, such as receptionists, cleaners and so on. Don’t just save your best behaviour for the interviewer; a receptionist would probably report a rude interviewee’s negative first impression.


Prepare your responses

Most people dread being ‘grilled’ in interviews. But it’s important to remember that you’re there to reveal the person behind the CV and cover letter. This is an opportunity to shine, and the way you answer set questions will determine whether you are the right person for the job or not. Practising common interview questions enables you to prepare effectively, but be aware that employers will often throw in curveballs to test you.


Some questions are straightforward and may ask about your skills and experience, or where you see yourself in five years’ time. Others could ask you to reference a specific situation, perhaps where you coped with change or worked well in a team. Try to give the most professional answers. 


Finally relax, allow plenty of time to get to your interview. 


We hope you find this guidance especially if you are attending our recruitment day this Saturday at Brean Leisure Park between 10.30-3pm. Many departments are recruiting, interviews are taking place and car parking is free. For more information visitwww.breanjobs.com

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