Are you are a recent graduate who is nervous about being grilled by a complete stranger whose job is to determine what kind of employee you will be? If you have finally received a call back about that job you applied for weeks ago, here is how you can ace your first real job interview.
Interviewers already know that you want a job. What they need to be sure of is that you want a job with them. Figure out why you are attracted to the company and want the position you are applying for. Research the industry the company is in, specifics about the company itself, and the department the job is located in. Know as much as you can about the position and the duties, responsibilities, and skills it demands. The more you know about the position and understand how it functions within the department, the better reasons you will have for why you can do the job.
You obviously know the contents of your resume. After all, you wrote it. But you need to do more than know it, you should be able to provide specific examples of contributions and accomplishments you achieved for each element listed on it. Take a detailed look at your resume and reflect upon your education, job experience, memberships, and skills. There is a reason you decided to include that you were a member of the Society of Professional Journalists in college, so it’s important that you can convey that to an interviewer.
Interviewers ask questions because they want solid answers. How you answer a question reveals information about your knowledge, skill level, and competency. Before your interview, do a little self-reflection and prepare answers about your experience, education, personal interests, character, and career expectations. Having well thought out answers will not only calm your nerves, but enable you to answer questions with confidence.
Job interviewing can be an art and the more you do it, the better you will be at it, but this doesn’t mean you need to go on ten real interviews before you get the hang of it. Remember that practice makes perfect and if you want to ace an interview, you should take some time to do so. Have a friend drill you on some questions, or see if the career center at your college conducts mock interviews. In a mock interview, a career counselor will interview you based on questions a real employer would ask. They then can critique your responses and give you advice for how you can improve your presentation.