The formal education system is more or less based on facts and theory all around the world. Though certain changes in the recent time have tended it to be more practical and application oriented, strong traits of historic education patterns are quite easily found in various education systems in different countries. Students and their parents often have a singular complaint against the education system. That it does not prepare students to face problematic or even challenging situations that one has to encounter in real life in the course of time.
One such interesting situation or rather turning point in one’s life is the often dreaded, first interview. This is something that almost all students have to go through, many times in a few days or weeks after they pass out from college or complete their university education. Nowadays, with companies approaching colleges to hire, few students tend to give their first ever professional interview even before their convocation.
This blog is going to help you get through the first interview easily. Rather, we hope that if you follow our checklist to the T, then it will make your first interview, a memorable and cherishable experience. Let’s start with the basics.
Research your potential employer
A well-read person is always more confident. Before going to your interview, you need to take care of this step. Research your company. And believe us, Wikipedia is not the right way to go. Wikipedia or such similar websites will give you good information about any organization, its structure, its revenue, employee strength, and so forth. But we want you to dig a bit deeper. Today, companies tend to have a strong social media presence. Be it on open platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram or more conservative ones like LinkedIn. These social media handles are used by companies, not to market their products or services but to talk more about the company and its culture. Here, you will actually get an inside look at the working style, communication and hierarchy paradigm as well as the core culture of the company. This is something which is definitely going to help you in the prep of your first interview.
2. An interview is a form of conversation, not interrogation.
One of the most memorable and intriguing sight to watch is of candidates sitting around in the waiting area or the lobby of an office, waiting for their name to be called for the interview. Some of them are practically trembling as if they are awaiting punishment for a serious felony that they might have committed. Being nervous is natural. Almost no one can avoid it. But shaking and sweating furiously is taking things to an extreme. Do not worry, you are not going to be grilled inside. Treat your first interview like an adult conversation, not an interrogation. The aim is to strike a chord with the interviewer, getting the job is just a by-product. If you are too nervous, small talk, or sometimes, even a simple, friendly “Hello” is enough to break the ice. Be polite, just like you would in any other conversation, and opportunities will pan out for you.
3. Language is key
The interview is not a Spell Bee or Scrabble contest. You need to take care of this while answering the questions or even while introducing yourself. Practising for your interview is a good thing to do, but do not rehearse your lines. The success of your interview depends on how less staged it goes. A natural, free-flowing, and easy-going conversation are the signs of a successful interview. Interviewers like candidates who are candid and honest. The first interview is indeed your first chance to impress, but remember that this is not your last interview. This is a going to be a continuous process throughout your career. While we are talking about language, you must also take care of your body language. It is important that your posture is perfect, not too upright, not too relaxed. Make sure you look your interviewer in the eye while talking to him or her. Looking down is a sign of lack of confidence. Practice your handshakes well. Your first handshake is your greeting. Once you understand the importance of language in an interview, we are sure you will practice to make yourself better at it.
Now that we have the basics right, let us have a quick look at some of the dos and don'ts for an interview.
Top 5 Dos:
Practice your interview with your friends and family through mockups.
Get directions and book a ride to the place in advance.
Attach a cover letter with your CV.
Keep your mobile on silent mode as soon as you enter the building.
Talk to your fellow interviewees. Remember it is a competition, not war.
Top 5 Don’ts
Don’t buy new clothes for the interview. Dress aptly in your comfortable clothes.
Don’t stay up late the night before. A fresh start to the day is always a plus.
Don’t compromise on basic accessories like a belt, a watch, and a good pen.
Don’t arrive late and hasty for the interview
Don’t carry all your certificates along. Make sure you just have the relevant ones ready.
If you follow these dos and don’ts ardently, you will avoid any embarrassing moments in your first interview.
Now we come to the most important and often ignored part of a first interview. Many candidates are usually confused about what to do after the interview gets over. Worry no more, we are here to guide you.
The first and foremost thing you need to do immediately after the interview is over is to thank the interviewer for her/his time. Also, express a hope that you will wait to hear from them, but don’t sound desperate as this is just a polite form of closing greetings. After you walk out of the interview, we are sure that you must have a real sense of accomplishment and relief. Enjoy that, it won’t come again.
Follow up is a crucial task that one needs to do after the interview. Just send a thank you mail to your interviewer and the company. If you don’t hear from them in 2-3 weeks, all you can do is send a formal reminder requesting the status of your application. Make sure that is the last communication from your side and that it is very polite. If you do get a negative reply, still your response should still be positive, wherein you need to thank the company for providing the opportunity for an interview.
We understand these are indeed testing times. But remember, the candidate who can maintain her/his calm in this rather stressful process is the one who comes out of it successfully.
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