5 Tips To Help Ace Your First Job Interview After College

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Millions of college students will be graduating this May and entering the workforce. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed, searching and applying for your first full-time and part-time employment opportunities.

Whether your interview is in person, over the phone, or via video chat, the first conversation with a potential employer is often nerve-wracking. But the more you prepare, the more confident you’ll feel — and projecting confidence is essential to doing well in a job interview!

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Tips To Help Ace Your First Job Interview

Andres Lares, Managing Partner at Shapiro Negotiations Institute, shares the following tips to help new college graduates ace their first job interview.

Research the company and the position you're applying for before your interview.

Ahead of your interview, research the organization and the responsibilities of the role you're applying for via a quick internet search or browsing through LinkedIn. Refer back to the job posting you applied for to review the requirements and qualifications of the position.

Also, you should familiarize yourself with the company's products and services so that you understand how the position you're applying for adds value to the business. Don’t forget to research the company culture as well on review sites such as Glassdoor.

Be ready to answer those “typical” interview questions.

Research typical interview questions and prepare your answers ahead of time. Script and frame your answers for what they are looking for. For example, a recent grad, they are looking for eagerness to learn, good attitude, etc rather than knowing a lot already.

Once you script out your answers, practice answering these common interview questions with a friend or family member. This is much more effective than simply reading the questions and crafting answers in your head.

Example questions look like this: “Why are you interested in working for this organization? What role are you applying for and why? How can you help the company reach its goals? What is your biggest weakness?” They also ask questions about your skills, qualifications, work history, work style, and salary expectations.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate the compensation.

It may seem daunting to request more money at such an early stage of your career, however; that less-than-stellar offer for an entry-level job is negotiable.

So many college graduates are just grateful to get that first job offer that they miss one critical factor: You can negotiate salary — even for your very first job! One easy way to find out if your offer is competitive is to research the median salary for a starting position in the industry, then add some.

As many jobs move to reflect the Salary Transparency Laws, you now have the leverage to negotiate more. Bring hard data to the table (e.g., “Glassdoor shows the average starting salary in this industry is $60k” or “your salary range for this position is XYZ).

Numbers don’t lie, and the more information you have, the more legitimate your end goal will seem to others. Don't forget there are areas employers can negotiate other than compensation: consider health insurance, 401k contributions, expensing commuting costs, increasing paid time off, etc.

Communicate Value.

Simplify the desired end result in your mind, but use that as a starting point to map out the ways that goal is beneficial for everyone involved. For example, you've interned at multiple companies in the industry and you have an impressive resume.

Communicate your desire clearly at the start of the meeting, and then highlight your ambition and eagerness to work at the company. Don’t think of this as bragging but instead showcase your confidence. Hiring managers appreciate a candidate who knows what they want and how they plan to achieve their goals.

Prepare questions for the interviewer.

Don’t hesitate to ask the interviewer questions. Asking questions shows you're engaged and interested in the opportunity. Consider drafting the list of questions you want to ask ahead of time while you research and prepare for the interview. These can be questions about the job you're applying for, the company culture, professional development, etc.


Above all, remember that you’re worth what you’re asking for. Self-confidence provides the foundation upon which all great negotiation is built!