How to nail your first interview
So you might be looking for jobs and trying to get that job interview, or might have just gotten your first interview and now you’re one step closer to getting work experience and possibly an amazing opportunity. You might be a little worried about your first interview, but don’t worry Choma, it’s normal to feel anxious for your first interview. You’ve got this Choma! Remember preparation is key, so here are a few tips to help you prepare for your very first interview.
Do your research
Find out as much as you can about the position you’re applying for and about the company you intend to work for. Questions such as “Why do you think you’d be great for this position” or “Why do you want to work for us in particular”, “How do you think you can contribute to our company”are likely to come up so it’s important to be prepared so that you can impress the interviewers with your knowledge of their work and their company - letting them know how you working there will be of value to them.
Go through your CV
You don’t want to be caught off guard about the information you provided in your CV Choma. Go through your CV again to prepare for any questions you might be asked with regard to the information you provided. Some interviewers pick out one thing from the many bits of information you provide and ask you about it. For example, they might say “Tell me about that time you did that one-week training course. What was your biggest challenge?” If you have to still think about which training course it was, and what you did during that training course, it will not look good on you Choma. This is why it’s so important to be honest in your CV, to give relevant information in your CV and to understand all of that information you included.
For more information on how to create a CV, read this article here Choma: https://choma.co.za/articles/494/how-to-write-your-first-cv
Get there early
Being on time for an interview is important because it not only gives a good first impression, it also lets the interviewer know that you respect their time and that you really want the position. Being late for an interview, no matter what the reason, can affect how the interviewer perceives you as a candidate. Try to get there at least 30 minutes before the interview. This will also give you a bit of time to compose yourself (instead of getting there huffing and puffing or needing to go to the bathroom as soon as the interview starts). If there is an emergency and you’re going to be late, call the interviewer and explain the emergency and reason you’re going to be late. Letting them know is the right thing to do.
Know and promote your strengths
Even though it seems like a cliché question, a lot of interviewers do still ask you about your strengths. This is usually to get an idea of how you perceive yourself (are you self-aware and confident) and how good your communication skills are. You might think it’s a great idea to say “I am great at everything and being able to do anything I’m asked is my strength” but interviewers know when you’re just saying things to impress them. Rather think about the strengths you have that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Maybe you have great organizational skills, maybe you're an amazing peoples-person and can read people really well or maybe you have great attention to detail. Provide real life examples. If you’re being honest about your strengths Choma, you should have no problem communicating this confidently. Just don’t be arrogant (like in the case of saying you’re great at everything) or too humble (saying that you don’t have many strengths but you can try). Know what will make you great for the job and focus on that as your strength.
Above everything else, being yourself is the most important. At the end of the day, this is where you’re going to be spending a lot of your time Choma, so you need to feel comfortable with the position and working environment too. Don’t force yourself to be a good match if you’re not Choma. And there’s nothing wrong with not getting a job because the interviewer thinks you’re not a good match - that just means you might not have been happy there anyway. So don’t pretend to be something you’re not. It’s more beneficial to you to be yourself and for someone to hire you based on that fact instead of someone hiring you for what you were pretending to be. A good job will be rewarding to you on all levels, including on a personal level.
Remember to also dress and present yourself professionally, be courteous and respectful to your potential employer. Think about what you hope to get out of the working experience. Look at the company profile and job description and at the end of the interview, ask about anything you’re unsure of. If it would help, try to prepare a few questions before you go to the interview, such as questions about start time, company benefits, working overtime etc.
All the best Choma! Let me know how it goes.
Remember, you can send me a message to talk to me about anything. So if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).
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