Help! It’s my first interview

Congratulations, you’ve landed an interview! That’s one hurdle jumped, well done! The job market is competitive, especially at the moment, and you’ve got one foot in the door.

Congratulations, you’ve landed an interview! That’s one hurdle jumped, well done! The job market is competitive, especially at the moment, and you’ve got one foot in the door. That, in itself, is a huge positive for you and shows that the employer thinks that your application and CV meet the criteria they are looking for. Now, you have to build on this positivity and go to your first interview.

Interview styles

There are a number of different ways employers may ask you to interview. It could be an interview with questions about yourself, your suitability to the role and your future aspirations (this is probably the most common form of interview, and this includes face-to-face, via video chat or telephone).

It could be a test followed by questions. It could even be a presentation. Whatever format it is, you need to plan and prepare accordingly, making sure that you are in the best frame of mind to try and get that job.

Research for your interview

Your first big task is to research as much as you possibly can! We will work with you to give you some background on the organisation, but it’s up to you to find the details that will make you stand out above the other candidates. Don’t leave your research to the last minute, spend time preparing, like you would for an exam, and make sure you feel confident to walk into that room and show the best side of yourself.

Firstly, research the employer. What challenges does their sector face? Who are their competitors? What clients do they have or what projects have they recently completed? Do they have a company blog or social media sites where you can find out more information? Find out about the company’s values, vision and mission. These key details will help you to form your answers to their questions suitably, and give you an insight into your potential new employer.

Secondly, research the role again. Take a look at the job advert or description and go through it with your own CV. Highlight where you have the experience they are asking for. Make notes of examples of situations where you have dealt with the tasks that they mention. Not only is this helpful for reminding yourself of the actual role, but you will remind yourself of skills and experiences that you have which are relevant.

It’s vital that you can explain why you want the role and that you understand it clearly. It’s also crucial to ensure that you have made an effort to link your own experiences and skills and can show the employer why you are the best choice out of the candidates.

Look up who is interviewing you – we should be able to help with some details – and spend some time researching the people on the company website and LinkedIn. LinkedIn also shows people who have viewed them, so they will see how thorough your research has been if they look! You can also find out about how long they have been with the business and their previous roles; it might help you gather some more insight into how to best approach the interview.

Think about some of the tasks in the role and job description and what kind of questions you may be asked. Prepare answers to them and practise them thoroughly.

The big day is here!

On the day of the interview, remember to have all of the paperwork with you that they have asked you to take. This is usually a form of ID, your qualification certificates and work examples. Make sure you take a pen and notebook, a copy of your CV, mints, a bottle of water and some tissues. Interviewers will likely have a copy of your CV too, but it’s good to have one to refer to if you get flustered – it’s an interview, not a memory test!

Ensure you’re on time, dressed correctly, polite and courteous. Many employers will ask the receptionist, or member of the team who greets you, about their first impressions so be prepared from the minute you walk into the building!

We are with you every step of the way and will support you, but we can’t sit with you in the interview – this is up to you. If you’ve planned ahead, researched thoroughly and taken our advice, there is little more you could do.

If you would like to speak to our specialist graduate recruiters feel free to drop us a line on 0114 321 1873 or

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