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How to Prepare for a First Interview: 9 Hiring Managers Share Tips 

Securing an interview for your dream job is already considered an accomplishment, but the real game-changer lies in how well you prepare for it. Interview processes can be exciting yet nerve-wracking. However, you can turn the odds in your favor with the right practices.

In this guide, we’ll share insights from hiring managers and CEOs to help you navigate and excel in your interview.

 

9 Tips from Hiring Managers on How to Prepare for a First Interview 

Below are practical strategies that will aid your interview preparation process, improve your interview skills, and increase your chances of landing a job:

 

1. Research the Company

Zippia’s interview statistics show that, on average, corporate job openings receive about 250 resumes. Out of those, only an average of six candidates usually get called for an interview.¹

  • If you want to capture your interviewer’s attention, leave a lasting impression, and secure a job offer, start with research. Here are a few things you can consider before stepping into the interview room: Learn about the company inside out.
  • Beyond browsing their website, review their mission, vision, values, and culture.
  • Familiarize yourself with recent news, projects, and notable achievements.

According to Jon Schneider, an executive recruiter at Recruiterie, a tenth job interview is just as nerve-wracking as the first one.² By knowing what the company sells, how long they’ve been around, and what services they offer, you can get an advantage and be ahead of the competition.

“These might seem like basic interview questions, but it’s super important to know about the company you’re interviewing with. Knowledge is power!” – Jon Schneider

 

2. Understand the Job Role and Prepare for Common Interview Questions

Understanding the key responsibilities, required skills, and qualifications is crucial in aligning yourself with the company. You can also prepare anecdotes from your past experiences to help demonstrate your suitability for the role. According to Lisa Ma from Qwick, it’s essential to become comfortable discussing your past experiences, and practicing with a set of questions beforehand can significantly help achieve that comfort.³ Consider rehearsing responses to classics such as:

  • “Tell me about yourself.”
  • “Why do you want to work for this company?”
  • “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
  • “Describe a challenging situation you faced at work and how you handled it.”

 

3. Share Your Narrative Confidently and Convincingly

Your story is what brought you to the interview, and it’s super important for the interviewer to understand how you got to where you are now and why this job is your next big thing.

“My best advice for a first job interview (or any interview after that) is to be articulate about your story and why you want to work with this company” – Jenn Christie, Markitors.⁴

Sometimes, the road ahead can be a bit foggy, making it hard to stand out from other candidates. But when you’re crystal clear about your journey and why this job is your next logical step, that confidence is bound to help you stand out.

 

4. Review Your Resume

Your resume is a roadmap of your professional journey, and interviewers will likely ask questions based on its content. Be ready to discuss your achievements, experiences, and skills listed on your resume in detail.

  • Identify potential areas of concern, such as employment gaps or transitions between roles, and be prepared to address them positively.
  • Expect the interviewer to probe further into your leadership style and motivation level, among other qualities.
  • Be ready to articulate your experiences effectively.

Many interviewers use behavioral questions to assess your past performance and predict future success. According to Laura Smith-Proulx from An Expert Resume, prepare success stories that show how you handle conflict, solve problems, address team chaos, or overcome obstacles.⁵

 

5. Do a Mock Interview

According to Brittany Dolin from Pocketbook Agency, an excellent tip for gearing up for your first interview is to practice with someone else, especially someone experienced in job interviews.⁶ Going over standard interview questions on your own is helpful, but practicing out loud with someone allows you both to hear how you sound and improve your answers.

Practice answering a variety of questions and be open to their feedback. Pay attention to your body language, tone of voice, and overall presentation. This will help build your confidence and ensure you’re well-prepared for the actual interview.

 

6. Prepare Questions for the Interviewer

An interview is a two-way street. At the end of every interview, it’s common for the interviewer to ask if you have any questions. Prepare thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer about the company, team dynamics, and expectations for the role. A good one to consider is, “What challenges might I expect in the first six months of this role?” said Alex Czarnecki from Cottage.⁷ This helps demonstrate your genuine interest and assess whether the company is the right fit for you.

 

7. Read About the Interviewer

“A key but often forgotten part of doing well in interviews is checking out the HR Manager or Hiring Managers who will be interviewing you,” says Ronald Kubitz from Forms+Surfaces.⁸ Go beyond LinkedIn. Check if your interviewer has contributed to industry blogs, podcasts, or webinars. This can provide deeper insights into their characteristics and interests, giving you an edge in building rapport.

 

8. Leverage Online Platforms to Learn About the Interview Process

In your interview preparation, “don’t forget to check out platforms like Glassdoor,” says Michael Alexis TeamBuilding.⁹ These sites contain tons of information, where past candidates share their experiences with the company’s interview procedure—some even detail their experiences, giving you a better idea of what to expect at each interview stage.

While some companies provide a comprehensive overview from the start, others reveal the process step by step. This insight is invaluable in helping you gauge whether it’s worth your time to pursue the opportunity or if you should focus your efforts elsewhere.

 

9. Plan Ahead and Be Early

Punctuality is a timeless virtue.

“No one wants to hire a person that is never on time, so plan to be on time,” says Ajay Mehta from Birthdate Co.¹⁰ For video interviews, test your tech setup in advance. A glitch-free experience can speak volumes about your organizational skills and attention to detail.

If you’re going for an in-person interview, the last thing you want is to be stressed about being late on D-Day. Plan your route to the interview location, considering traffic, public transportation schedules, and parking options. Aim to arrive 10-15 minutes early to allow time for any unexpected delays.

 

Extra Job Interview Tips for Success 

Our goal is to assist you not only in excelling during your interview but also in securing the job you desire. Consider the following tips to further elevate your performance:

 

Craft Your Elevator Pitch

When asked to introduce yourself, be concise and compelling. Your elevator pitch should highlight your professional background, key achievements, and why you fit the role perfectly. Practice delivering it in a way that is both confident and engaging, ensuring you make a memorable first impression.

Related article: 11 Interview Tips to Make a Good Impression 

 

Dress for Success

Your appearance plays a significant role in creating a positive first impression. For an in-person interview, you can choose professional attire that aligns with the company’s dress code. Ensure your clothes are clean, well-fitted, and reflect the level of formality expected in the workplace.

Related article: What to Wear on Your First Day of Work: 8 Things To Consider 

 

Stay Informed About Industry Trends

Show that you’re not just focused on the present but are also forward-thinking. Stay updated on industry trends, challenges, and advancements. Being able to discuss relevant industry topics during the interview signals to the interviewer that you are committed to continuous learning and staying current in your field.

 

Bring the Essentials

Pack a professional-looking folder or portfolio containing extra copies of your resume, a notepad, and a pen. This demonstrates your preparedness and provides a convenient way to take notes during the interview. Additionally, make sure your phone is silent to avoid any disruptions.

Related article: 9 Things To Bring To An Interview With Recruiters 

 

Take Some Time to Calm Your Nerves

It’s normal to feel nervous before an interview. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or visualization to calm your nerves. Remember, the interview is an opportunity to determine if both you and the employer match. Embrace the challenge and use the nerves to fuel your enthusiasm.

 

UNLOCK YOUR CAREER POTENTIAL WITH CORPORATE JOB BANK

Are you ready to take the next big step in your career journey? Corporate Job Bank is here to guide you toward finding your desired job. With over 30 years of expertise in the Arizona job market, we’re not just the largest locally-owned staffing organization; we’re your gateway to a world of exciting opportunities.

Our team of dedicated recruiters isn’t just experienced; they’re passionate about aligning your skills and aspirations with the perfect role. Don’t just dream about your next job; let’s make it a reality. Connect with us today and step into a brighter career tomorrow!

 

References 

1. “40 Important Job Interview Statistics [2023]: How Many Interviews Before a Job Offer” Zippia, 21 Jun. 2023, www.zippia.com/advice/job-interview-statistics.

2. “Executive Search and Recruitment Firm USA.” Recruiterie, www.recruiterie.com.

3. “Hospitality Staffing + Gig Platform.” Qwick, www.qwick.com.

4. “SEO Marketing Company For Small Business.” Markitors, www.markitors.com.

5. “Executive Resume Writing Service for C-Suite, Board, & Rising Leaders.” An Expert Resume, www.anexpertresume.com.

6. “Recruiting Firm for Administrative Roles.” Pocketbook Agency, www.pocketbookagency.com.

7. “Custom ADUs in LA, San Diego, Bay Area, & Seattle.” Cottage, www.cotta.ge.

8. “Architectural Surfaces, Architectural Glass, Elevator Interiors, Wall Systems, Doors, Door Pulls, Litter & Recycling Receptacles.” Forms+Surfaces, www.forms-surfaces.com.

9. “Book wildly fun team building experiences with expert hosts.” Teambuilding, www.teambuilding.com.

10. “Personalized Zodiac Candles and Books.” Birthdate Co., www.birthdate.co.

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