13 First Interview Tips That Will Set You Apart From the Competition


The first interview typically falls somewhere in the middle of the hiring process. You’ve submitted a stellar cover letter and resume and caught the eye of the interviewer. You may have even completed a phone interview. At this point, if the recruiter is still interested in you for the position, he or she will call you for a first in-person interview, which may be followed by a second before you finally get the job.

The first interview is vital to be hired; recruiters want to see a confident, capable person with a great personality. They want to see a candidate who fits in with the company’s culture, goals, and values. In order to be ready for your first interview, preparation is vital. We’ve put together some important first interview tips to help you prepare. Wow the interviewer with your knowledge of the industry, the job, and the company during your first interview with the following tips.

13 Tips for Acing a First Interview

1. Know Who Is Interviewing You

Build My ResumeThe more you know about the person interviewing you, the more prepared you will be to handle the questions he or she asks. Look on LinkedIn and other social media and networking sites to learn about the interviewer’s background, career goals, and to see if you have any common connections. You may be surprised that you share a hobby or mutual friend with an interviewer, which allows him or her to feel more comfortable with you.

2. Prepare Your Vocabulary

Do you consider this job just a “job,” or is this the next step in your career, or ultimately your mission? Show your knowledge of the industry you are seeking to work in by using vocabulary that illustrates your passion for the industry and the job. If you are looking for a role in a new industry, do your research. Walking in with an understanding of major news in the industry will demonstrate your interest in the field even if you lack direct experience.

3. Define the Company Culture

This is your first chance to show how your personality and your beliefs fit in with that of the company. Research the community involvement, mission statement and any recent events the company has been part of to glean more about the culture and how you fit into it. Check professional networking sites for reviews and comments from current and past employees to get a sense of what it’s like to work for the company.

4. Know the Difference Between Traditional Questions and Behavioral Questions

Come prepared for more than the traditional questions regarding your education and past work experience. You may be asked for real-life examples of how you’ve overcome problems and challenges in your previous jobs. Answer these well and these questions can be your chance to shine.

5. Watch Your Body Language

This is the first time the interviewer will see you in person — or on video if it’s a video interview. Practice your body language beforehand. Smile, make eye contact and keep your posture open. to make a good impression. Avoid fiddling, fidgeting, chewing gum or looking down. An interviewer wants to see confidence; project it through your body language.

6. When Things Go South

You’re likely to have a few first interviews that don’t go well but keeping your cool can make all the difference. Don’t be afraid if you stumble a little, or to ask an interviewer to repeat or clarify a question.

7. Know Your Resume Inside and Out

During your first interview, you will likely be asked about any discrepancies on your resume. Practice answers to questions regarding gaps in work history, low GPAs or an abrupt departure from a job. These things aren’t always a negative, especially if you are prepared to answer the questions clearly and honestly.

8. Ask Questions

A first interview is about more than the company learning about you. This is also your chance to learn more about the job and the company. When the interviewer shifts gears and gives you the floor, often they expect you to take the reins and ask for more details about the position and the company. Again, do your research about the company and the job before going in, and prepare questions in advance about anything that might have been unclear.

9. Put Together Previous Work Samples

Make it easy for the interviewer to see your experience and education in action by bringing in examples of previous work and projects or tasks you’ve successfully accomplished to highlight your skills.

10. Be Clear About What You Want

Don’t go into a first job interview ambivalent about your needs. Know the job you want, the benefits you expect and the salary you hope for. While these topics may not all come up in the first interview, you should be prepared to discuss this information.

11. Prepare Stories That Highlight the STAR Method

When you’re asked interview questions, use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method to clearly define how you overcame problems and completed tasks successfully.

12. Practice Makes Perfect

No matter how much you prepare, interviews are nerve-wracking and you may be thrown for a loop when the interview starts. Practice your interview as much as possible in advance with a career counselor or trusted individual before the interview is scheduled. Repeating your responses to certain questions will make you feel more confident during the interview and will make your answers sound more polished than if you are saying them for the very first time.

13. End on a High Note

Show your interest in the job with questions that are well thought out and that reflect the research you’ve done on the company. Once all your questions are answered, close the interview with a handshake, a smile and a sincere thank you for the time and consideration from the interviewer.