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First Interview? How to Prepare!

With the spring semester underway and the weather beginning to warm, many have already turned their gaze to the summer. For myself and many others, this change means one thing; it's internship season. However, before you make it to your first internship, we must also make it through your first interview.

For many, a first interview can be a scary thought. A first professional interview is a setting many of us may be unfamiliar with and can seem daunting. However, proper preparation can turn your first interview into a cakewalk. To do some, we will review some steps to success!

1. Research the Position and Company Background

The first step to interview preparation is always understanding the position you are interviewing for and who your employer is. Research is essential for success and deciding if the employer is right for you. Some of the places an interviewee can start would be:

  • Company Website: This can help you learn about a company's background, values, and purpose. Having talk points or knowledge going into the interview will also show employers you're interested and committed to the job.

  • Social Media: Platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn can help you understand how the company wants to be perceived and stay up to date with highlighted activities

  • Internet Search the Company: Giving a search of the company will pull all recent news stories, data sites, and others, helping give you insight into relevant information on the company. Background research will help hedge against potential red flags that you would not be promoted content from the company.

2. Plan for Potential Questions

Another way to prepare for an interview is to think through common questions you will likely be asked. You can only plan for some of the questions, but with most professional interviews, many are often the same. Some questions you should be ready to answer are:

  • "Tell us about yourself?"

  • "What experience do you consider valuable or have learned from?"

  • "What makes you interested in this position?"

  • "What is your biggest strength/weakness?"

  • "Tell us about your goals. What do you hope to achieve?"

  • "What experiences have prepared you for this role?"

  • "How would others describe you?"

These are just some common interview questions; however, you will likely see some, if not all, at some point in your professional career.

3. Come Prepared on the Big Day

One of the essential steps to being ready on the day of the interview is coming in relaxed and in the right state. This step takes place the day before and the day of the interview. To be prepared when you sit down in the chair, make sure you:

  • Take care of yourself the day before. Make sure you are hydrated, eat a good meal, and go to bed at a good time to be well-rested.

  • Get clothes ready the night before. Dress for success!

  • Wake up early on the morning of the interview. This will provide time to help you mentally prepare and eliminate the risk of being rushed.

  • Eat a good breakfast. If you have morning rituals such as coffee, leave time for that!

  • Leave yourself extra time; aim to arrive 15 minutes early.

4. Calm the Nerves

One of the most essential but complex steps is easing your nerves when you get to the interview. Relaxing may sound easier said than done, but with a positive mental attitude, you can do it. The best way to ease these nerves is to take the steps above. If you do everything you can to prepare for the interview properly, you have done your best. And simply put, if you do your best, that's all you can do. No matter how well or poorly an interview goes, you will learn something new every time and be better prepared for the next!

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