Six First Interview Tips: Making Your First Interview a Success | Shyft Careers

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Six First Interview Tips: Making Your First Interview a Success

You got the interview. Congrats!

The good news is you made it through the first screening stage. A lot of people don’t. This means, on paper, the company thinks you have what it takes to join their team—or they’re sufficiently intrigued and want a closer look. The not so great news? They’re want a look at a few others, as well.  

The really good news is you now get to show them why you’re the best choice. Follow these first interview tips to make sure you are.

  1. Become an Interview Ninja

First interviews can take place on the phone, in person, or by way of video conference. You probably have your personal preference—maybe you like in-person interviews because you can get a better feel for the person asking the questions. Maybe you like Skype interviews because you don’t have to wear pants. It’s good to research the different strategies for each type of interview because chances are, you’ll have all three at some point in your career. If one makes you nervous, be sure to do all you can to hone your skills, so you get comfortable in that arena.

  1. Learn the Ways of the People

As far as the interview? You know what to do. It’s time for some homework. You’ll want to find out all you can about the company from its website, social media, and other sites like Glassdoor. Try to see what makes them tick. What causes do they support? What do current and former employees say? These veins of information often provide a true reflection of the corporate culture—which in turn gives you the opportunity to assess how you would fit in.

Naturally, you’ll want to learn all you can about the job as well. The job description provides a breakdown of the expected duties and general requirements, but it won’t tell you how long people tend to stay in the job, or how “occasional” the occasional weekend work obligation is. That’s why going one-level deeper in your pre-interview research is so important. Gleaning info above and beyond the scripted company line will better prepare you for success because you’ll have a much clearer picture of what to expect once you get there.

  1. Be Curious (and Ask Questions)

When you’re doing your research, be sure to jot down any areas that you’d like to know more about. Then, at that time in your interview when you are asked if you have any questions, you will. Better yet, you’ll have questions you actually want to know the answers to—legitimate questions that will help you gain a better understanding of the job and company and most importantly, if it’s a good fit for your immediate and long-term needs. Make sure your questions are open ended so that you and your interviewer can turn them into a conversation.

  1. Use Proper Etiquette

Of course, you’ll dress appropriately. That goes without saying, but many places of business have casual dress codes now. While you may wear jeans and ironic tee shirts once you work there, be sure to dress well for the interview. If you aren’t sure what to wear, it’s always preferable to be slightly overdressed than the opposite.

Always show up on time, of course. You know not to be late but showing up too early is almost equally as obnoxious. Don’t be the person sitting in the lobby futzing with your phone for an hour or smiling approachably at everyone who walks by on their way to the bathroom.

  1. Work on Your Charm

First interviews mean first impressions. Many times, companies pick the person they believe will fit in the best with their company culture. Or to be more direct: they hire people they like. So be likeable. Think about the people who made a great first impression on you. They probably seem comfortable in their own skin.

Confidence is appealing. It draws people in and makes them want to learn more about you. You know what else does that? Being humble. It may seem like an oxymoron to be simultaneously confident and humble but focusing too much on exuding confidence may make you seem arrogant or aloof.  

Business confidence simply means you can express yourself and listen. So, sit up straight, look people in the eyes, smile, and remember to breathe. Interviews aren’t interrogations, they’re conversations. Being confident just means being your best you.

  1. Have an Answer for the Dreaded ‘Salary Expectations’ Question

“What are your salary expectations?” Ugh.

This seems like a no-win proposition, right? If your number is too high, great, you just knocked yourself out of contention. Too low and kudos, you just devalued your skills and robbed yourself of thousands of dollars. What’s the right answer?

There are numerous free websites that will provide you with a reliable pay range based on your education, skills, and experience. You can even ask around. Some of your friends may have similar jobs in similar industries, so get their input. Also, if you work with Shyft, we’ll provide with you with an accurate range and save you the guesswork.

Just remember setting an initial expectation isn’t a binding agreement. You can still negotiate after receiving a job offer—you’ll probably even have more leverage with an offer in hand. With early negotiations, just try to be flexible and realistic, but also knowledgeable of the going industry rates.

What to Do Right Now

The first interview is a door to new possibilities.  Prepare. Practice. Visualize yourself killing it. Sure, you’ll be nervous and despite knowing better, you’ll still try your best to be perfect.  You may really need a job, so that ramps up the pressure. Know what, though? There’s a line of people from similar backgrounds—all worrying about the same things—who will be coming in after you to talk about … the same things. Be sure you show them the one thing no one else can offer: you!

What’s not to like?

You got this.


Here at Shyft, we help tons of different candidates with a wide variety of professional backgrounds get jobs with companies that are just as awesome as them. Check out some of our clients’ current openings and apply if you think you’d be a good fit! We can’t wait to hear from you!


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