Going to college means a lot of new challenges to deal with.
One of the challenges that high school doesn’t always prepare you for is your first professional interview.
Depending on your major, you could look into internships and part-time positions very early on in college.
Interviewing is a skill just like any other—you need to practice if you want to be good at it. Here are some first interview mistakes you need to avoid so that you can nail the next one you get.
Not Preparing Beforehand
Interviewing isn’t as simple as strolling up at your assigned time and talking to someone for a bit. Preparation before the interview is important and can help you stand out from the crowd.
Research the company’s history, products or services, and latest news. Look into the online profiles of the people who will interview you, and come up with questions to ask at the end of your interview.
Not Looking the Part
The dress code will be different depending on the industry you’re interviewing for. Business professional interviews require more refined clothing than a casual interview.
Before you start interviewing, it’s a good idea to have at least one professional outfit you can wear for the most formal interviews. Also, keep your grooming in mind.
Make sure to trim facial hair, tie up any wild hair on your head, and don’t wear anything that you haven’t properly cleaned.
Asking Too Simple Questions
Having questions for your interviewers is a crucial part of the interviewing process. However, one first interview mistake you need to avoid making is asking questions with extremely obvious answers.
Asking “What does your company do?” and “How many hours a week is the job?” is not going to impress an interviewer.
Prepare insightful questions about their company beforehand to show you have a real interest in the company and the position you might get in it.
Talking Badly About Past Employers
No matter what kind of job you have had in the past or how that job ended, you should never bad-mouth any past employer. Imagine what that demonstrates to the interviewer about you.Will you harbor ill will toward their company and talk badly about them after you’re gone?
Interviewers won’t want to hire someone they think will speak poorly of them once their time there is over. Even if you had a bad experience, focus on what you learned from it rather than how bad it was.
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Not Following Up
Following up after an interview is a key element to the process that a lot of new interviewees skip over. This could mean a few different things.
Maybe you write handwritten thank-you notes to your interviewers. Maybe you simply send a thank-you email instead. Whatever you do, following up with your interviewers shows that you care about their time and about getting the position.
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