Home Guide: 10 Things to Do as a First Timer on Job Interview (Before, During and After)

Guide: 10 Things to Do as a First Timer on Job Interview (Before, During and After)

10 Things to Do as a First Timer on Job Interview (Before, During and After)

Your first job interview as a fresh graduate would most probably be your most challenging. But ensuring you ace it is as simple as putting in a little time and practice. Whether you’re preparing on how to ace your first interview, or simply curious about what to expect throughout the hiring process, we’ve curated these tips that can help you.

The list below will help you prepare for the interview, present yourself in the best possible light, and follow up after the interview.

Before the Interview

Preparing what to expect on your first job interview will help you succeed.

Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses before a job interview is essential as it enables you to confidently articulate what you bring to the role and identify areas for improvement. This self-awareness allows you to face an interview for the first time, for thoughtful preparation, ensuring genuine and relevant responses to questions about your professional abilities. 

Set Goals

Setting goals before a job interview is crucial as it provides direction and focus, helping you articulate your aspirations and demonstrate your commitment to personal and professional growth. By defining clear objectives, you can align your skills and experiences with the role’s requirements, presenting yourself as a motivated candidate with a clear vision for the future. 

Research the Industry, the Company, and the Interviewer

Preparing for a job interview as a first timer primarily means taking time to thoughtfully consider your goals and qualifications relative to the position and employer. If you can figure out who you’ll be speaking to before the interview, you can do some research on them as well. And if your point of contact doesn’t mention names, it’s totally reasonable to ask for them.

Practice Answering Interview Questions

Practicing your responses to common interview questions is vital for interview success. For instance, when asked about your strengths, emphasize your effective communication and organizational abilities, while addressing weaknesses with a focus on ongoing improvement. Tailor your responses to showcase alignment with the company’s values and goals, demonstrating enthusiasm for the role and commitment to personal and professional growth.

During the Interview

The moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived: how to face an interview for the first time.

Body Language

Handshake, eye contact, eye movement, posture, facial and hand emotions are key nonverbal cues on how to ace your first interview. Body language conveys much of our communication:

  • Eye contact – Keep eye contact during the interview. You can look away on occasion but try to maintain eye contact. It boosts confidence and faith in your words.
  • Smile – A smile relaxes your face and helps you relax when you are nervous. An initial or occasional smile suggests you enjoy the talk and boosts confidence.
  • Handshake – Keep your handshake firm and businesslike. Before shaking your interviewer’s hand, discreetly wipe your sweaty palm on your pants leg or skirt if you’re nervous.
  • Posture – Sit up straight with shoulders back and feet planted. Cross your legs if you feel comfortable, but don’t look relaxed. It would help if you were calm and attentive to the interviewer, answering all questions well.


Interview success increases with focus. Analyze the question and respond clearly. Request clarification from the interviewer if you fear you’ve strayed off course. Your answer should have a start, middle, and end with a real, tangible, and preferably good result. 

Authenticity and Honesty

Any job interview, especially a first timer job interview requires honesty and authenticity. Genuinely presenting yourself without pretense or hyperbole lets the interviewer see the person behind the CV. Communicating honestly and authentically shows potential employers your integrity and self-awareness. It also fosters genuine ties and meaningful interview encounters.  

After the Interview

You can take specific steps after an interview to increase your chances of being called back for a second round or receiving an offer for employment. 

Send a Thank-You Note

Sending a thank-you note within 24 hours of the interview is crucial in the post-interview process. Expressing gratitude for the opportunity to interview shows professionalism and appreciation for the interviewer’s time and consideration. In the thank-you note, as a first timer job interview reiterate your interest in the position and briefly mention critical points discussed during the interview to reaffirm your qualifications and suitability for the role.

Evaluate Your Performance

Reflecting on your performance post-interview is essential for continuous improvement. Take note of any questions that stumped you or areas where you needed more confidence in your responses. Consider why these questions posed a challenge and brainstorm potential improvements for your answers. By identifying improvement areas and actively enhancing your responses, you’ll know what to expect in your next interview, feel more prepared and confident in future interviews, and  increase your chances of success.

Send a Follow Up

If you do not hear from the employer after the hiring timeline they initially indicated, follow up once. Call or email the interviewer or human resources contact. Reaffirm your interest in the position and inquire about the new hiring timeline.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I prepare for my first interview? 

To ace your first interview, follow these steps: Know your strengths and weaknesses to articulate your value; set clear goals aligned with the role; research the industry, company, and interviewer; and practice tailored responses to interview questions.

What are the 5 C’s of interviewing? 

The 5 C’s consists of the following:

  • Confidence – Exuding self-assurance during the interview.
  • Clarity – Communicating your thoughts and experiences clearly.
  • Conciseness – Being direct in your responses.
  • Courtesy – Maintaining politeness and respect throughout the interview.
  • Connection – Establishing rapport with the interviewer.

What is usually asked in a first interview?

Final Thoughts

By dedicating time to understand your strengths and weaknesses, setting clear goals, researching the company and interviewer, and practicing interview questions, you can present yourself in the best possible light. During your first job interview, focus on maintaining positive body language, staying authentic and honest, and addressing questions with clarity and focus. After the interview, sending a thank-you note, evaluating your performance, and following up can further demonstrate your professionalism and interest in the role. Remember, common questions in a first interview often revolve around personal background, strengths and weaknesses, motivations, and aspirations. By following these guidelines and staying prepared, you can approach your first interview with confidence and increase your chances of success.

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