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Congratulations, you got your first interview with a new employer! Here you’ll read how to successfully plan for the interview to minimize nerves and maximize hiring potential.

After networking/graduating/sending out countless resumes, you’ve finally made it: You landed a first interview with an employer. First of all, pat yourself on the back because even getting to that point can be a feat in and of itself, considering many employers will receive up to 200 resumes for a single position. This means you’ve made it past the initial HR narrowing down, and now you get the chance to prove that you are made up of more than just paper qualifications. So how do you ace that all-important interview?

You need a plan.

First of all, remember that while you’re proving yourself to a potential employer, they chose to look at you. This means you have something to offer that they want. Admittedly, for some of us, this means finally getting off of unemployment/leaving a less desirable current job/helping the family make ends meet, and that can bring on a serious set of nerves. But remember that you are qualified enough that they want to take a closer look, and let that give you confidence.

Now, to prepare yourself for the interview, you should take a few simple yet essential steps:

1. Know the company.
Once you have the interview, find out as much as you can about your potential future employer. What are the company’s goals and objectives? What is their market? How well do you know the industry and the company’s place in it? Do you know anyone who works there who could give you some insight? Aside from examining the employer’s website, check them out on social media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. Look to see if they’ve been in the news lately: This will help you know about the latest plans and innovations.

2. Know your potential position and how you fit it.
Examine the position and what it entails. What are the minimum qualifications? What do they want you to do? List them and then write down how your assets match each of those qualifications. Breaking an interview down to the basics, it really comes down to this: Your potential employer has a problem that needs to be solved. So ask yourself this key question: How can I solve that problem? What skills and experience do I have that fills the company’s need? If you can answer this, you can confidently present yourself as a needed employee.

3. It’s not Carnegie Hall, but you do need to practice.
Sit down with a friend or family member who can fairly observe and help you with your interview skills. It helps to have an outside source spot your strengths and weaknesses. You may not realize you have a tendency to look down at your hands too much or that you take a while to make your point. By practicing (and looking up some of the most commonly asked interview questions and how best to answer them), you’ll feel more relaxed and ready when the real interview happens. Get to the point where you feel you can answer comfortably but not too rehearsed.

4. Don’t forget the basics.
Get a good night’s sleep and eat well beforehand. Dress appropriately for the position — if you’re unsure, there’s nothing wrong with calling to ask about the dress code. Remember to look professional: Everything from clothing to your hair should appear clean, neat, and in good repair. Prepare your route so you get there a little early and leave your phone in the car or on silent. Make good eye contact with everyone, from the receptionist to the CEO. There’s a reason for the expression, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Thank them for the interview once it’s over — and send a thank you note (more thoughtful than a thank-you email) within a few days. It may seem antiquated, but small gestures and good manners go a long way.

A little careful preparation can help you walk in with confidence and show a potential employer they need to look no further — their next great hire is standing in front of them.

Staffing Service USA can guide you through the job search process. Check out our job board or send us your resume. We are always here to help. For more information contact us today. 

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