Your career guidance classes in school have probably already equipped you with sufficient knowledge on how to prepare for your first job interview. You have heard it all before: there is no such thing as too much research, it is important to dress for the occasion, and you should match your attributes to the job description in question.
While these are fundamental things to adhere to, there are other factors that can boost your employability:
Knowledge of Current Affairs
This might help to give you an edge over your competitors, especially if you are looking to enter the civil service, financial, or media industries. Your interviewers might want to test your familiarity with daily events and global happenings by asking about your thoughts on these issues. The purpose of this is to determine whether you are a person who takes the effort to stay informed. You don’t need to be extremely knowledgeable about such things – an awareness of their existence and some of their implications should be adequate.
The last thing you would want is to arrive at your interview late and disheveled. Tardiness is only telling of your weak time management and lack of eagerness at securing this job. Make a trip down to the interview location during your free time to familiarise yourself with the route and amount of time needed to get there. This should help you manage your time and expectations better, but don’t forget to set aside some buffer time for circumstances such as traffic jams and even security clearance at the building of the interview.
Most people conduct research on the company by scouring corporate websites and, for the more diligent, annual reports, and then call it a day. Go the extra mile by following the company on social media. This will give you timely insights into the things the company concerns itself with – for instance, recent Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts – which you can use to slip in during your “air time”.
Highlight Your Goals
Aside from preparing responses to typical interview questions such as “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” and “Why should we hire you?”, ask yourself what you would like to achieve in this job. Perhaps it is the chance to contribute to the company’s overall mission, or perhaps it is to use it as a springboard for greater opportunities five years down the road. In any case, you can weave your goals into your response to your interviewers’ first inquiry: “Tell us more about you.”
The last thing your interviewer would probably ask is “Do you have any other questions?” Don’t shy away from asking questions at this point. If you have put effort into preparing for the interview, you should have at least one thoughtful question about the organisation.
If everything you wanted to know was already addressed during the interview, don’t miss the opportunity to ask a question anyway. You can ask the interviewer about the next CSR effort the company is initiating or for feedback on your answers.