I have never been to a job interview before in the entire eighteen years of my life. Until today.
I’ve had a variety of jobs and with those, I was lucky enough not to go through the formal job hiring process. However, I knew I wouldn’t be able to avoid it for much longer. I started job hunting recently, looking for places where I could increase my skills and my experience. Then, about two weeks ago, I got a call from one of the places I had applied for and they called me in for an interview.
At first, I was absolutely excited. The fact that I had actually gotten a response from a company – this was also a first time thing for me – was a welcome surprise. When the excitement finally sank, the realisation that I would be going to my first ever job interview set in. Then the nerves came. And, obviously as a newbie, I went to Google for some top notch advice on how to prepare for an interview, what to bring to an interview, how to tell if the interview went well.
Interviews are a hard one to prepare for. Especially for newbies like myself. I had no idea what they would ask me or how I would possibly respond to the questions asked. But after some reassurance from my boyfriend, I stopped thinking too hard about it. I let myself bask in the excitement that I could potentially be hired by this really cool company.
I’m going to tell you some things that I learnt after my first interview experience. Here we go!
PREPARATION? GOOD. OVERTHINKING? BAD.
Preparation is important. Just like a test, or an exam, you need to know what you’re going into. You need to know what the company is like, so do your research. Find the company website, find them on Facebook, etc. and dig! The day I got the call, I immediately went online and looked up the company. I found their website and I scrolled, scanning every bit of content I could to get a grip on who they were, what their vibe was and what they did. I went on Facebook to see even more of them, to put a personality to the company. It really helped to calm my nerves, because I already knew, somewhat, what kind of atmosphere I would be entering.
On the other hand, I found that I thought too hard about the questions and the general run of the conversation. You never know what way a conversation is going to go, after all. And for me, the conversation didn’t go the way I expected at all.
FIND THE PLACE PRIOR TO THE INTERVIEW
I had no idea where the company was or how to get there. So I called some back up and got my boyfriend to come down with me to navigate my way to the place, a few days before my interview. I figured out which bus I needed to take, where I needed to stop and where I needed to walk. I measured the time and how long it would approximately take and by the time it got to the day of the interview, I had one less thing to worry about. But… I did end up walking into the wrong building at first – nothing to be too worried about though! It happens!
PACKING AND PLANNING YOUR OUTFIT THE DAY BEFORE
This was a life saver. For some reason, when I start packing, I get OCD. I begin to check repetitively if I have everything I need, three or more times. This always ends up with me in a slightly stressed mindset. Packing the night before helped me to get rid of any unnecessary chaotic vibes in the morning of the interview. Planning out my outfit was also the greatest idea ever. Instead of searching and digging for my nice, formal clothes, they there were, all laid out and ready to go! No stress and dressed for success!
It was my first interview, so give me break, okay? I’d read it on almost every post on what to bring to an interview – ask questions. What did I do? I didn’t ask questions. Worse, I didn’t prepare any questions on paper! Sure,I prepared them in my head, but once I got into the interview, I blanked out. But now that I am out of the interview, I can think of so many questions I could have asked. I learnt that asking questions is quite an important aspect of an interview because it shows how interested you actually are in the job you wish to be hired for. Sure, it’s not a make or break part of the interview, but it could be the thing that puts you just that one step above the rest. I’ll definitely be taking my own advice here, for the next time I have an interview!
The end result? I don’t know yet. Now it’s time to stick it out and wait for that response. That is the only way to tell how well I did, or didn’t do. No matter what the turn out, it was an experience and life is all about experiences and trial and error.