First job interviews after college can be terrifying, after all, one wants to land a successful entry-level position in their industry of choice, but often lacks the experience in the professional world. In simple words, the process of preparation for a job interview is ensuring that one is a close match to meeting both the professional qualifications that an employer is seeking as well as having the personal qualities that fill well within the organization and its purpose. This paper will describe the preparation for a first job interview through the steps of perfecting the resume, preparing one’s dress and body language, and self-reflection, which will ensure the best outcomes for an interviewee as they cover aspects that employers seek both outside the process as well as competent engagement during the structured interview.
Process 1 – Perfecting the Resume and Job References
Prior to ever meeting a candidate, employers formulate a first impression about them based on the resume and potential references. Regardless of one’s experience and accolades, it is vital to present a well-defined resume, elements of which are likely to be brought up in the interview. Even if the resume holds some imperfections and gaps that are typically seen as red flags for employers, one should be forthcoming, with the ability to explain potential challenges and lessons learned through a cover letter, and later in the interview if brought up (Ratigan 36). Job references are also a good aspect that can vouch for one’s character and competency, supplementing the resume. In his book, Powers suggests carefully considering who one lists as references, ensuring that they are both relevant in a professional sense but will be beneficial for the job search (Powers 101). It is best to approach and prepare one’s references ahead of time to discuss the topic and give them time to prepare as well if they were approached by an employer. Meanwhile, for the resume, the key is to shift the perspective in one’s favor while remaining transparent in the communication which indicates significant competency and responsibility to the employer. These preemptive elements are key to a successful hiring process and are more likely to guarantee an in-person interview.
Process 2 – Dress and Body Language Preparation
A professional appearance and behavior (even unconscious habits) are vital in a job interview process, affecting an employer’s assessment of the interviewee as being able to work in a professional setting. Yate presents evidence that 9 out of 10 employers will make lightning judgments on the character of the employee based on appearance and will reject those inappropriately dressed without a second thought (71). Meanwhile, body language should be maintained as confident and professional, ranging from speaking voice to etiquette appropriate gestures and handshakes, as studies find that more than 50% of effective communication relies on body language (Yate 93). Even if the position does not encompass office work, unprofessional appearances, and behavior outside of etiquette may be at the least a demonstrator of one’s competence, and at the very worst, repulsive to an employer. Dressing professionally and showing positive body language allows the interviewee to look better and feel more confident, likely to receive better treatment and command respect. Appearances and body language are key indicators of how seriously the interviewee is approaching the position and demonstrates respect for the employer.
Process 3 – Self-Reflection and Ability to Answer Tough Questions
The job interview process, particularly in a respected company, is known for the questions, some of which may be tough while others are simple but require self-analysis and reflection. Behavioral interviews are a part of almost every interview asking a candidate to describe themselves, reasons for job searching, and behavior in certain situations or scenarios (adversity, conflict with a client, etc.) (Ratigan 43). The key is sufficient knowledge about the organization and industry so that one can tailor the answers to questions, both broad personal ones as well as specific ones, to present oneself as a good candidate that will contribute to the company in a way that the position requires you to do (Powers 68). Companies ask these questions with a specific purpose to evaluate skills and competencies that one should be aware of and preparation can go a long way to insure confidence during the interview. Self-analysis in combination with knowledge is important to answering these potentially challenging questions honestly while meeting the professional expectations that employers may be seeking in an employee. In combination with the measures undertaken to look good on paper and dress professionally, this is the final element that makes a perfect candidate.
The preparation for a first job interview is complex and will require significant effort on behalf of the interviewee to establish themselves as a viable candidate. As seen, all steps of this process are part of a whole image that makes up the candidate. The resume is the background of the person, the dress code and body language formulate the initial impression, and the responses to interview questions represent the inner-substance and professional competencies of the interviewee. In the end, bringing together all the steps in preparation are meant to create a well-rounded candidate for any position that they seek and ensure success throughout all stages of the job interview process.
- Title of source: Aced: Superior Interview Skills to Gain an Unfair Advantage to Land Your Dream Job
- Type of source: Book
- Overview of the source: A broad and modern perspective on the job interview process, offering tips on various types of interviews and comprehensive advice regarding some of the lesser-known nuances of the process.
- How you plan to use this source in your essay: Used in the section regarding the preparation of resumes and then in the self-analysis for job interview questions.
- Title of source: Knock ’em Dead Job Interview
- Type of source: Book
- Overview of the source: A comprehensive overview of the job interview process, ranging from the psychology behind the hiring to practical tips and implications.
- How you plan to use this source in your essay: The source is the only one that explores dress, behavior, and body language during the interview in-depth and that is one of the main points in the paper.
- Title of source: Winning Job Interviews
- Type of source: Book
- Overview of the source: Describes the basics and nuances of the job interview process, including psychological motivators as well as the actions to take prior, during, and after the interview.
- How you plan to use this source in your essay: Used in the section regarding job references and some in terms of self-analysis for job interview questions.
Powers, Paul. Winning Job Interviews. Career Press, 2010.
Ratigan, Gerald. Aced: Superior Interview Skills to Gain an Unfair Advantage to Land Your Dream Job! CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2019.
Yate, Martin John. Knock ‘Em Dead Job Interview: How to Turn Job Interviews into Job Offers. Adams Media, 2013.