The first job interview after college is one of the crucial events at the beginning of a working career. Despite the available knowledge, applicants tend to experience stress and anxiety. In this regard, the preparation process can go through several stages so that a potential employee could be aware of what issues he or she will have to face and, thereby, reduce the level of anxiety. Before the first interview, an applicant should do some research about the target company, practice some responses by using the STAR methodology that is widely applicable in hiring and obtain feedback from friends or mentors. Following the three steps of preparation is an effective algorithm to get ready for potential questions and conduct a conversation in a mode that will reveal an applicant from the best professional side.
Learning about the Target Company
Examining data on the target company is a helpful step in preparing for the first interview. According to OLeary, at this stage, a job seeker can gain valuable information about the unique practices and approaches that a particular employer promotes, which, in turn, will prove the future employee’s interest (39). Moreover, the author notes that demonstrating the knowledge of specific job responsibilities and requirements will help an HR professional to ensure that an applicant is serious in his or her job intentions (OLeary 40). Finding the information may contribute to gaining insights into the target company’s direction and interests and showing how it differentiates from other competitive firms. An HR specialist’s approval is a significant achievement, and an applicant’s awareness can be a critical factor in a successful interview.
The book by OLeary called 5 Steps to Take Before Your Next Job Interview is a useful handbook that provides valuable recommendations on how to make a job interview as productive as possible. As a rationale, different behavioral strategies are given, training mechanisms are assessed, and distinctive experiences are reviewed. This resource is a helpful guide that can help find actionable solutions for preparing for the first job interview and provide arguments for specific steps.
Practicing Answers by the STAR Methodology
After learning about the target company and its operational characteristics, practicing answers by using the STAR methodology is a valuable step in preparing for the first interview. As Grensing-Pophal notes, this practice is widely applied by many HR specialists and is based on the use of the aspects of a situation, building a task, a specific action, and evaluating the result (67). The researcher argues that, in most cases, job interviews are based on similar scenarios, and the STAR methodology is an effective tool to assess the potential capabilities of a future employee (Grensing-Pophal 69). Practicing responses by utilizing this model can help highlight specific response algorithms and be prepared for different situations suggested by HR specialists. In addition, the STAR methodology assumes the tasks that are identically structured, and the analysis of different situations may contribute to finding the basic components of successful responses to the proposed tasks.
Using the book The Everything Job Interview Book: All You Need to Stand out in Today’s Competitive Job Market (3rd ed.) by Grensing-Pophal as a guideline for preparing for the first job interview is a logical decision. This manual includes various nuances that can be valuable to applicants, for instance, scenarios, questions from both sides to each other, special skills and abilities to acquire, and other crucial recommendations. Utilizing this book in preparation for the first job interview can help identify specific methodologies for conducting a conversation with HR specialists and, thus, gain important knowledge about possible interview scenarios and stages.
Obtaining Objective Feedback
As a third step to preparing for the first job interview, one should consider obtaining feedback from friends or reputable mentors based on both the previous step and overall preparedness. According to Yate, objective assessment is an adequate tool for evaluating one’s readiness for an interview and reducing anxiety (42). In addition, as the researcher remarks, external assessment serves as a motivator and can help emphasize specific weaknesses (Yate 43). For the first job interview, this process is rational since, in the absence of experience in communication with HR specialists, the analysis of personal preparedness by third parties is a method to minimize potential mistakes. As an additional argument to resort to this step, one should take into account the professionalism of the persons offering their feedback. High mentoring skills can improve the quality of preparation for potential questions and reduce a job seeker’s anxiety.
Yate’s book Knock’em Dead Job Interview: How to Turn Job Interviews into Job Offers is a manual to help job seekers prepare for interviews better and avoid potential mistakes. This guideline addresses behavioral, situational, and other factors that can affect the quality of a conversation. The use of this resource may contribute to expanding one’s knowledge of how to properly prepare for the first job interview and which methods and steps are the most effective for this purpose.
The three steps of preparing for the first interview, which are analyzing the target company, self-assessing through the STAR methodology, and getting objective feedback, are powerful tools to get ready for a conversation. At each stage, an applicant learns how to respond to an HR specialist’s questions competently and meaningfully, thereby creating the impression of a valuable job seeker. The lack of experience can be a significant obstacle to demonstrating one’s knowledge and abilities adequately. As a result, the proposed three-step preparation process is a helpful mechanism to reduce anxiety before an upcoming interview and avoid potential behavioral, intellectual, and other mistakes during a face-to-face conversation.
Grensing-Pophal, Lin. The Everything Job Interview Book: All You Need to Stand out in Today’s Competitive Job Market. 3rd ed., Adams Media, 2012.
OLeary, Lawrence. 5 Steps to Take Before Your Next Job Interview. iUniverse, 2016.
Yate, Martin. Knock’em Dead Job Interview: How to Turn Job Interviews into Job Offers. Adams Media, 2012.