Preparing for your first interview can be confusing. With no knowledge of what an interview is like how can you know what to study? Luckily YouthXP is here to lend some tips on how to prepare for your first interview.  Below are some of the curated key questions we think you should ask yourself. Alongside these tips and a professional resume made using our resume kit, you will be prepared to ace your next interview.

What is the organisation’s purpose? What do they do and what are they about? 

Preparing for your first interview starts with good research. Researching the organisation will help you to understand what their purpose is to the society as well as the organisational culture. Common places to gain information about the company is: 

  • The company website and their social media platforms

  • Google reviews: to help you gain an insight into the public perception 

  • Existing and past employees: this will help you understand what working at the company would involve from their experiences and to gain information that is not listed online

How does your role fit into the organisation's role? 

Reviewing the job description is a good place to start. It will help you to identify what the organisation requires from their ideal candidate. You should make some notes based on the job description, such as:

  • What are the specifics of the job?

  • What are the requirements of the organisation e.g. working hours

  • Any questions you may have based on the job description

Once you have identified this, you should look at how your skills and capabilities can cater to the job. You should start noting down some specific examples of why you have these skills, where you have demonstrated them and the outcome of this.

A good way to structure your answers is through using a ‘STAR’ framework: 

Situation - Describe the situation that you were in. You must be specific and give enough detail for the interviewer to understand the setting. 

Task - What goal were you working towards?

Action - Describe the actions you took to address the situation with an appropriate amount of detail and keep the focus on you (use “I” rather than “we”). What were the specific steps you took? What was your contribution? What skills did you use? 

Result - Describe the outcome of your actions. What happened? How did the situation culminate? What did you help accomplish? What were your learnings?

Why do you want to work for the organisation? 

An important aspect to succeeding in an interview is having a strong understanding of why you want to be at the organisation i.e. how does it connect with you on a personal level? This is a good way to make yourself stand out from your competition because if you can identify a specific personal reason and can connect with the organisation’s values, culture and goals, you will be identified as someone who fits into the organisation’s culture. 

A good way to approach this is through brainstorming what your values are and what your motivations are for working at this company. You should then look to identify similarities from this with the research on the company you have previously conducted. 

How should you present yourself? 

Planning and preparing your interview outfit before your session will help you look professional. The right outfit depends on the role. For example, suits are ideal for corporate jobs, while business casual outfits are appropriate for most other roles. Once you have identified your outfit, you should make sure it is clean and is ironed, this will help you feel confident on the day and make a good first impression. If possible, you should get an opinion about your outfit from someone you trust or had experience going for an interview in a similar role. You should look to arrive at the interview early, about 10 minutes before your interview slot is ideal. If you arrive too early (e.g. 1 hour), you may be perceived as ‘desperate’ for the role. If you are late, it will show you have poor time management.

Prepare questions for the interviewer

Preparing a set of questions for the end of the interview will show that you are genuinely interested in the company and that you are not looking at this role as ‘just another job’. You should articulate the questions based on your research, your expectations of the role and how you can help the team. Examples of questions you could ask are: 

  • Why do you like working here? 

  • What are the prospects for growth in this role?

  • If you could give me advice, what would it be and why?

  • Do you have any feedback?

  • When can I expect to hear back from you?

    Now you are done preparing for your first interview why not find a backup option? With a wide range of jobs in all industries YouthXP helps connect youth to employers on our own job search platform. Start finding jobs for youth today

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