My day job – no it is not writing about my travels – covers people development and talent acquisition. For the past 6 years, I have served as one of the mentors for a program in the organization which also makes me responsible for the initial interviews prior the final panel interview. With this, I have noticed that there are several aspects that interviewees can try work on in order for them to get to the next phase of the application process.
I am not here to debunk other concepts or say that my tips are far better than those experts but I guess with the years I have had to cover this function, it merits a fresh graduate’s time to heed to some of my advice. So if you are a fresh graduate looking for tips on your first interview, I hope this article would help you in addition to the rest that you have already probably read.
Tip 1: Breathe. I cannot reiterate this more. Being nervous on your interview is acceptable but do not forget to breathe. A seasoned interviewer would overlook your nervousness as it is part of the journey but if you forget to breathe, you choke up and when you choke, you stutter or you get stuck and the person on the other side evaluating you will not be able to get to do so when he or she cannot understand what you are saying. Just breathe, as common as it may sound.
Tip 2: Be ready for the unconventional. Some interviewers prefer to have a “conversation” with the applicant. This means that they probably would not start with What is your name? and where did you graduate? or the commonly asked, “what are your strengths and weaknesses?” this would throw some people off their preparedness and would cause some setbacks. Try not to memorize what you plan to say about yourself. Conversations are a good way to evaluate an applicant about his or her disposition or perspective about different situations. Be ready for that.
Tip 3: Dress accordingly. This is a common tip, which means wear your best business attire for an interview but what I mean by dress accordingly is also that there are offices that are too cold for you and you have to be ready for it. People stutter not because they are nervous but because the office is too cold and they cannot control what their bodies would do given the situation. This derails your thoughts and perhaps would even add up to your anxiety. You will be lucky if the interviewer offers a warm cup of water for you to calm your shaking body. Sometimes the simplest things are the ones we forget to get ready for.
Tip 4: Listen very carefully. Because sometimes we are too enthusiastic about answering the question that we fail to get the “actual question”. When the interviewer asks you about what you will do to resolve one problem, what that person means is “how” you would handle the situation and it is asking you the step by step, if possible, way of handling that situation. Sometimes interviewees would jump into a solution before actually trying to find the root cause to ensure that they arrive to the possible solution. Do not forget your high school’s scientific method. It would actually apply.
Tip 5: Be honest. If you do not understand the question, you can clarify. If you need to have further variables or factors to properly look into a situation, if you were asked to address a situational problem, then ask for those factors or variables. If the interviewer ask you how you are, be honest. Tell them you are nervous but you are up for the challenge because this is a journey that you need to experience in order for you to reach your goals and you are ready to show them what you are capable of. Just do not say that in verbatim, some might have read this article like you did.
And I would throw this in for good measure. Ask questions. Like I said earlier, some interviewers would tend to have a conversation with you, what it means is that, you can also ask questions. Ask about a company’s culture, ask about the interviewer’s experience working in the organization. Remember that they are the initial brand ambassadors of their company for potential candidates. Most often than not, these people will share with you how it is working in the organization and that gives you a glimpse of the life you may soon have to live once you become part of that company. But of course, not all interviewers would have that conversation, so do not be pushy.
Good luck to the fresh graduates out there, may you land your dream career that would hone or build your needed competencies to be the successful person you would want to be.
Oh and when you land that job here is something to remind you about ranting online, read: For the Working Ones enjoy!