How to Nail Your First (or even second!) Interview

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If any of you have ever been to an interview, you will know the stress that comes in the days or hours leading up to the big moment. A few weeks ago, one of my former classmates, who is also a friend, helped me connect with the supervisor at the agency she works at. I submitted my resume and cover letter earlier that week, but for some reason, my resume never went through. Regardless, I landed an interview because of my connection.

As excited as I was, I felt a lot of pressure to succeed. I knew I had one shot, and that if I were to bomb the interview, I would not only embarrass my friend, but the school in which I graduated from... oh, and most importantly, myself.
I went into the interview a nervous wreck, and coming out of it, I was no better. During the drive home, I replayed every answer to every question. I thought my worst fear had come true... that I bombed the interview. Little did I know, the interviewer actually liked me, and ended up calling me back for a second round.

This time around, I was determined to not make the same mistakes I did the first time. To calm my nerves, I began to Google different articles about how to prepare for a second interview. The most helpful article I found was this one. To briefly summarize, the article and its comments talk about how preparing for an interview is similar to preparing for a test. I don't know about you, but I'm a visual person. When I study, I like to organize things in boxes and circles, and use a lot of different colors. The article suggests preparing a "cheat sheet" that consists of a grid with 6 different sections: five things you want the interviewer(s) to remember about you/what you uniquely bring to the table, five examples of your best work (usually anecdotes), five ways you can continue to develop, two brilliant ideas you have for improving the company (this doesn't apply to every job, so be careful!), two points about your philosophy of working in a team, and two questions to ask.

Some of the points in the "cheat sheet" may seem tedious, but as weird as it sounds, you can't ever assume that you know every aspect of your past experiences to a T, especially under pressure. So if you're like me, it is better to over-prepare, than under-prepare, and the grid is a pretty solid way to go about it. Oh, and for those of you that can just "wing it", props to you!

With this cheat sheet, and a pep talk from my classmates, I went into my second interview with my head held high. I could see a difference in myself, and so could the supervisor. Although I may or may not land the job (I find out later this week), I feel that I nailed the interview.

Have an interview coming up? Good luck!

**UPDATE: I got the job!

1 comment

Justine said...

I'm so happy to hear that you found something that worked to calm your nerves! Thank you for sharing your tips. I hope to put this into use (soon!) I got my fingers crossed for you! ;)