How to Tackle that First Job Interview

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You've probably heard all the statistics and stories about how competitive the jobs market is at the moment but when it comes to that first interview, the right preparation can take you far. Be ready for a new opportunity with a combination of thorough research, self-analysis and determining what employers are looking for.

It's a good idea to put in some study time on the company itself. The interviewer won't require you to know everything, but will expect that your interest in the post goes beyond the salary. Find out a basic overview of their structure and history with web tools like company house webcheck, look at promotional literature or their website and check out any articles in the media about the brand.

Now turn your attention to your assets versus their needs. Go over your own experience and then look through the job description and person specification, noting down by each point the skills on your CV which will show that you have what they want.

This done, you can think about specific questions they might ask. Many interview questions are competency-based, meaning they will be looking for examples from your life, which demonstrate your suitability.

Preparing answers and rehearsing them beforehand will enable you to answer more succinctly in the room. It also works both ways; an interview is an opportunity for you to find out whether this company matches your aims, so have a few questions of your own ready.

You may have been asked to bring certain items along with you on the day, such as exam certificates and the invitation to interview. It's good to carry all the information you were sent in case you need to ask for a particular person or unforeseen circumstances require you to phone ahead. You might also want to take extra cash, in the event that you need to get a taxi.

Fortunately, there's a lot of help and advice on interview techniques out there, from tips on how to conduct yourself to what questions you might be asked.

Going for an interview can be nerve-wracking but it's important to remember that getting one in the first place is a significant achievement and can only help to build on your experience, whatever the outcome.

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