Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Interviewing Tips to Get that All Important First Job

Yesterday I talked with a recent graduate who is job hunting. He did several things right at the interview:
  • Showed up on time
  • Shook my hand, smiled and seemed pleasant
  • Wore a suit
  • Brought work samples from school projects
  • Brought an extra resume
  • Had a few prepared questions to ask the interviewer

Although before we even set the interview appointment, I told him we didn't have any openings, he was still very nervous. Being shy is a fact of life for some people. But there are still three things he could have done to improve his interview, which would help him feel less nervous and more confident:

  1. Prepare answers to the "standard" questions at a networking interview: tell me about yourself, what was your favorite class, what type of work are you looking for, what part of this project did you work on, how can I help you in your job search?
  2. Practice the interview by role playing with a trusted friend. Visualize the potential room. Practice answering the questions out loud. Three sentences is a good length generally for an answer. Saying "that's a good question" buys you some time.
  3. Practice presenting the work he completed in school by saying one or two statements about what he learned by doing the project.

Interviewing is an important job hunting skill just like writing the cover letter and sending a thank you note following the interview. If you aren't sure about interviewing questions, check out some of the websites that have sample questions and examples of good answers.

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