6 Tips for New Interviewees

Are you new to the working world? From my first job interview at a smoothie shop to my recent college internship search, I have found the interview process can be intimidating!

As I approach my college graduation and search for a full-time job, here are six tips I’ve learned so far to help alleviate interview stress:

1. Do your research

Before interviewing with a company, take time to prepare. Familiarize yourself with their mission, history, notable achievements and recent updates.

To refresh my memory before an interview, I review the job description and note what interests me in the position. I also outline relevant projects or experiences I can talk about during the conversation.

2. Communicate and confirm in advance

Before the interview, reconfirm the time and what phone number or video platform to use. Are you and the interviewer in the same time zone? Make sure to check with the recruiter.

As someone who is from the West Coast who goes to school on the East Coast, I’m always double-checking the clock. If you’re working with unfamiliar technology, test it in advance so you can smoothly log on when it’s time.

3. Optimize your interview space

With so many interviews still occurring virtually, thinking about your environment is essential. If you have a video interview, consider the lighting and background in advance to avoid a last-minute scramble.

Be sure to use a neutral and professional background, or at the very least a neat and tidy space. If my interview is during the day, I prefer to set my computer in front of a window for natural light. If it’s dark, I’ll play around with different lamps. I also keep a glass of water nearby during the conversation.

4. Practice, practice, practice

The best way to beat pre-interview nerves is to practice! Although you probably won’t know all your interview questions in advance, you can likely expect to talk about your previous experience, goals and interest in the role and company. I find it helpful to talk aloud with a family member, friend or roommate to get my ideas flowing.

Wondering what questions might come up during an interview? Get some insight here.

5. Prepare your own questions

An interview is a two-way street — consider this your chance to interview the employer, too. Prepare questions for the interview to help you assess whether the role is right for you.

Don’t be afraid to ask about various aspects of the position, including the company culture, mentorship opportunities, day-to-day responsibilities or long-term goals.

6. Follow up after the job interview

After the interview, follow up with a thank-you note reaffirming your interest. You can send a note via email, and it should mention something discussed in your interview for a personal touch.

If your interviewer requests more information, such as a writing sample, be sure to send it promptly.

Once the interview stress is over, I like to decompress with a walk and a phone call to a family member or friend to clear my mind.

Check out this post for more tips on writing thank-you notes.

Interviewing can feel unnatural at first, but like other skills, it’s a muscle that you can strengthen over time. With practice, you will become more accustomed to discussing your experiences and goals.

Some interviews will go better than others, but even the more challenging ones are a good exercise for the future.

Get additional tips for interview success here.

Charlie Keohane is a summer 2023 Robert Half corporate communications team intern. She is an incoming senior at Middlebury College in Vermont, majoring in environmental writing and minoring in psychology. She is from the San Francisco Bay Area.