Ace Your First Job Interview in 5 Ways

Gonna be fresh out of school soon and find yourself getting nervous about acing that first job interview? Yes, a first job interview can be like a first date, where you have to make the first impression count. Fret not as we share five tips to be a pro at your first job interview.

1.Know what you’re in for

Run through in your head what is expected of you. It’s the little things such as getting to the venue on time, the morning traffic, and bringing energy to the meeting (even if you’re not a morning person). Being informed is always a good idea since you’ll be in a new situation. Don’t be shy to suss out the HR manager before the interview on the deets:-

  • Is there a written assessment whereby you’ll have to get your brain juices flowing?
  • Is it an individual or group interview?
  • How many people are you meeting and who are they?

Getting your interviewers’ names in advance allows you to LinkedIn stalk them, just like how you might want to Facebook search someone’s name before the first date. Also, here are some common questions to expect from your interviewer(s).

2. Charm and Confidence at the job interview

Dress well and comfortably, greet enthusiastically, and be a charm throughout the entire interview. At the start, feel free to walk over to the interviewers across the table or room to extend firm handshakes with a smile.

Eye contact is magical, so do it even if takes you much energy and guts. Fake it till you make it. Everything from your voice to your body language screams either confidence or the lack of it.

Always look interested when your interviewers are speaking and don’t be too quick to react. Respond effectively and strategically, such as laughing (lightly) at what they’ll find funny too and smiling enthusiastically at the right moments, just not all through the interview.

3. Prepare, and then chill

You have much prep work to do from reading and digesting the job description, company website, company profile, annual reports, to looking up recent news on the organisation and the sector. Having a good rest after all that prep is part of the prep! It’s not advisable to show up as a raccoon or panda.

Standard job interviews usually flow in such sequence:-

  • Self-introduction and motive of application (to assess your interest)
  • Content and skills questions (to assess your abilities)
  • Questions on EQ, work habits and personality (to assess your fit)

Always link your answers back to the role, and state your efforts in overcoming professional weaknesses when quizzed on that. This shows that you’re driven and not afraid of challenges and limitations, which we all have.

You may also get some out-of-the-norm questions to test your creativity, quick wits and ethics.  

4. Ask questions, smart ones

Here’s the part when you get to turn your interviewers ON or OFF instantly — when it’s your turn to ask questions! You can ask about the work environment skilfully (without sounding you are hoping for a lot of perks), or you can ask if they have any reservations about your skill sets or qualifications. Lost for words? Show interest by asking about their expectation of an ideal candidate.

5. Make your graceful exit

Lastly, never ever look like you can’t wait to squirm your way out of a job interview, even if it has all gone wrong like a bad date. Be sure to thank the interviewers (give smiles or handshakes!) and don’t reach for your bag or close your notebook or reshuffle your papers before them. Ideally, you could ask about the next step before leaving and send a thank-you email within the week.

Yes, you can bring a notebook to jot notes. Soon you would be confident enough to show up almost empty-handed (but not empty-headed).

Oh, and a final tip note — don’t bring up salary matters — always wait for them to do it as that would signal their interest. Good luck 🙂  

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