College Series: How to ace your first job interview

Friday, January 26, 2018

College is hard and graduating from college is even harder. One second you're dorming, going out with friends, and spending time studying so that you can earn a degree and the next you're venturing out into the world on your own. The time just after graduation can be scary and stressful. For me, as my graduation date grew closer, I found myself more and more stressed about finding a job post-grad. Applying to jobs and interviewing for jobs can be a scary thing, especially if you have never done it before. Here are some tips to nail your first job interview:

  1. Make eye contact - Your non-verbal language is just as important, if not more important, than what you are physically saying during a job interview. About 67% of people fail to make eye contact with the person interviewing them during a job interview. Making sure to maintain eye contact is crucial to nailing your job interview. This shows potential employers that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say and shows that you are a good listener. Show that you're not distracted or preoccupied, but also try not to overdo it. 
  2. Have knowledge about the company - 50% of people know nothing about the company they are applying to a job for. If you are going to do anything to prepare for a job interview make sure to research the company or organization you are interviewing for prior. This is something that I cannot stress enough. At every single job interview I went to, potential employers asked me why I wanted to work at that particular hospital, or what I knew about that hospital. I truly believe that having knowledge about the hospital I am currently working at helped me score the job. You don't need to know every single detail about the company, but knowing a few key things are crucial in nailing you job interview. For me, when asked why I wanted to work at the hospital I am currently employed at, I remember my boss asking me "why do you want to work here?" and I said something like, "I know that this hospital is 'Magnet recognized,' and I am looking to work in a hospital that supports nurses and helps them grow. I also know this hospital is big on patient satisfaction and that is something that is important to me." Anything that shows you know something about the company and that you are genuinely interested in working there is most likely going to score some points with the person who is interviewing you. Do all of the research!
  3. Show off your personality - A study mentioned that one of the top seven mistakes to make during an interview is to lack personality. As much as you want to be professional during a job interview, there is nothing wrong with showing your true self. It shows that you are unique and will be a good asset to a team. My first interview with my current boss was a joint interview. There was a room full of tables and managers from different units sitting at each table. We were able to choose three units we were interested in working on and interview with that manager. They interviewed us one at a time, but there was someone else sitting next to me. When I sat down the girl sitting next to me had already begun her interview. The manager asked her the same questions he asked me, but for all of the questions he asked her, she had a rehearsed answer like she was reading a script. She didn't show any of her personality, and did not end up getting the job. When I was asked those same questions, I gave honest answers. I did not have to think very hard about them, and I believe it helped me land the job I have now. Showing your personality will help you stand out from other potential candidates. 
  4. Ask the interviewer questions - At the end of a job interview, your potential employer will likely ask, "Do you have any questions for me?" This is the perfect time to find out more about the company you are applying to work at, and show your interest in working for them. Some questions I asked during my job interviews included: "What are some opportunities for continued growth that you offer here?" "Can you tell me a little about the team I will be working with?" "In what way will my performance be evaluated or reviewed?" 
  5. Know some commonly asked questions - Each job is different and each employer will likely ask you different questions, but here are the most common questions I was asked during my job interviews. Be sure to prepare the answers to these questions ahead of time.
"Why do you want to work for us?" 
"What do you know about our company?" 
"Tell us about yourself" 
"What are one of your strengths?" 
"What are one of your weaknesses?" 
"Give us an example of a time when you exemplified leadership, teamwork etc."

Interviews can be scary. I was definitely scared for my first job interview, but they got easier over time, and these tips really helped me to nail my first interview. If you have any questions, or need more advice about job interviews, please feel free to email me. I'd love to help!


  1. Such helpful tips! I think it's always important to come to prepared to an interview, like you said, know typical questions they ask.

    1. Thank you! I'm glad you found them helpful! I agree, it is definitely important to be prepared. I was not as prepared for my first interview, and it did not go well. I did my research and prepared better for the second one and got the job!

  2. I love the idea of having knowledge about hte company...I think you should do that before you even write the cover letter for your application!

  3. These tips were so helpful. I'll be interviewing at hospitals next spring so I'll definitely keep these tips in mind!

    - Justine Erica |

  4. The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought you have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy looking for attention. health


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