Woohoo! You’ve graduated!
Oh shit! You’ve graduated!
It’s time to get your first full-time job, which means…
Job interviews! 😱
These can be really painful in the beginning, so you gotta prepare yourself for them so you don’t crash and burn.
But not to worry, as someone who’s been through the interview process on both ends, I’m here to share a couple of useful tips that will help you get a leg up over the rest of your competitors.
1. Maintain proper interview etiquette to get ahead
You want to give a good first impression by being respectful and well-mannered at your interview.
So while some of the things in this list below may not seem like a big deal, a little goes a long way.
Here are some helpful interview etiquette tips:
- Arrive 10 – 15 mins earlier (don’t be late, but also, don’t be too early cause that’ll just be awkward for everyone)
- Greet your interviewer by their last name with Mr./Mrs./Miss at first (until they ask you to address them otherwise)
- Give your interviewer a firm handshake (FIRM, not limp, and definitely not bone-crushing)
- Dress for the company (smart/business casual’s becoming more popular now, but it’s good to do your research on the company’s preference beforehand)
- Sit up straight (slouching gives off an air of boredom, laziness)
- Maintain natural eye contact and smile (shows that you’re open and confident)
- Mirror your interviewer’s body language whenever possible (if they’re leaning forward with clasped hands, do the same because this builds instant rapport)
- Don’t use slang and swear words (this is an interview, not a casual conversation with a friend)
- Turn off your phone (no Silent Mode cause even vibrations can be loud and distracting sometimes)
- Bring your resume and portfolio in a proper binder (unless the HR person says this isn’t necessary)
- Don’t talk over your interviewer (pause for 1 – 2 seconds after your interviewer’s done speaking before replying them)
- Send a follow-up email to thank you interviewer
2. Craft a personalised answer based on the role and/or company
You and your interviewer won’t just go through an interview with each other. There will be others for each of you.
And so, this usually happens:
- You get asked almost the same questions by every interviewer
- Your interviewer gets almost the same answers from every interviewee
That’s gonna be pretty boring, right?
And it also means that it will be hard for you to stand out if you just give a standard reply.
So the key here is to personalise, personalise, personalise.
For example, instead of saying:
“I want to work here because I like the company culture”
Give an answer that’s tailored for the role and/or company:
“I saw one of your LinkedIn posts talking about your culture pillar, “we before me”, and I really agree with this mindset, because I’m someone that highly values collaborative teamwork.”
Try to relate your question with something your interviewer said earlier. This will show them that you’re engaged and are truly interested in joining the company.
3. Make the most out of the last question, “So, do you have any questions for me?”
This is the standard question that you’re bound to get asked towards the end of your interview.
So here’s where you should ask clarifying questions on:
- your role
- your team
- your manager
- the company
Some questions you can ask your interviewer:
“What are the expectations for this role?”
“What challenges/problems are you facing now that I can help solve by joining the team?”
“What should I know about your work and management style?” (to ask your potential boss)
That last question is important because this is going to be your first job.
Which also means, your first boss.
And trust me, everyone remembers their first boss.
Your first boss will set the course for your professional career.
So choosing to follow the right leader should be a higher priority to you now instead of getting a job that pays well. That can come later once you’ve built up your personal brand and skills. Now, you should be in major learning mode first.