Nail your first job interview

So you applied for a job and got a call for an interview, congratulations! But now its time for the real show to begin…  First impressions are always important but when it comes to an interview, first impressions are EVERYTHING!  Lucky for you, we have come up with some helpful tips that will guide you in nailing your first job interview!



  • Research the Company
    Before arriving at your interview, be sure to visit the company’s website and read up on their history, values, policies, mission, and more. You want to be very familiar with the organization before your interview so that you know what they might be looking for in an employee. Also, the person who interviews you will be impressed that you did your homework and already understand who the company is and what their purpose is.



  • Dress for Success
    Show your interviewer that you are mature. Don’t just show up in jeans and a t-shirt or with a messy beard. I know you may think this doesn’t matter, but remember, your interviewer does not know you personally. All they get is these thirty minutes to see who they may be hiring for the next thirty days, thirty months, or even thirty years. For them, your outward appearance affects how they view your ability in the job. If you can’t even dress for the interview, how can they expect you to be a responsible worker?
  • Be Early
    Be 10 minutes early. An employer is not going to take you as seriously if you cannot be on time. It just shows them they you may not be able to handle the job responsibilities or that you don’t care enough. Now the unexpected does happen—bad traffic, car breakdown, etc. If it does, call your interviewer immediately. But it is better to plan ahead and leave extra early to give yourself cushion in case of an accident.


  • Watch Your Body Language
    • Give your interviewer a firm handshake (but not too hard)
    • Sit up straight and don’t slouch
    • Don’t put your elbows on the desk
    • Take notes if you need to
    • Ask questions if you want something clarified
    • Don’t chew gum
    • Come in clean-shaved and with a trimmed haircut
    • Dress formally
    • Act Professional
      Show them that you are taking the interview seriously and that this job is important. Be professional in your attitude and in appearance. Be respectful and use your manners: “yes ma’am and yes sir; thank you and please.” Just use common sense on how you think you should act in front of the person who may be writing your paycheck!
    • Think Before You Speak
      Be careful of using words like “uhh, umm, and like.” Also be careful of slang words like “ain’t and he don’t know.” Silence is actually better than using “umm” so it’s okay if you need to take a couple of seconds to think about a question before you answer. It actually shows the interviewer that you are thoughtful.



  • What attracted you to this organization? What do you know about it?
  • Can you please describe a project or task you were involved in that made you proud, or where you really exceeded expectations?
  • What goals did you set for yourself last year? Which goals did you achieve and which did you miss?
  • What is your greatest strength? What is your greatest weakness? If I ask this same question to a reference, do you think they will agree?
  • At this point given your current knowledge of our company, what would be your expectations for yourself? How would you be an asset? Why do you think we should hire you?


  • Thank the interviewer for their time and wait for them to contact you.
  • Even if you don’t hear back from them and don’t get hired the first time, Never Quit! Keep applying and keep interviewing.

Finding your first job

At our High School Center we have had the pleasure to host several successful business men over the past few weeks as they prepare our students for the workforce.  We wanted to share some of these tips and best practices to land a job, specifically our first job!

First of all we know it is tough out there, and there does not seem to be many jobs to be had—even fewer good jobs. So how does one find a job especially if you have never had a job before?  It’s important to never quit and more important than finding the perfect job is getting an employer to realize you are the perfect employee.  When you are unemployed then your full time job is finding job. You have to be working just as hard, if not harder, to secure the job as you would be when you actually have the job.


People are your greatest resource. Your family, friends, community, and church are the place to begin. The old saying goes, “It’s not about what you know, but who you know!” And although it is imperative to have the “knowledge” to do the job, it is still true that you must also know people in order to get those jobs. Networking is crucial in the career world. The people you know or meet could be the difference in nailing that next job interview. Especially take care in your references and who you use as a reference for your potential employer. And ask everyone around you, “Hey, do you know of any job opportunities?” You may be surprised to find out what others may have to offer.

  • It’s not always about what you know; it’s about who you know
  • Other people and their connections are the key to finding a job
  • Fill out the “Who You Know” part of the worksheet – 4 people that can help you find a job


  • The following are just some examples of places where students can find out about jobs:
    • High School
    • Church
    • Mall
    • Community Center
    • Online
      • / / /
      • Fill out the “Where to Go” part of the worksheet – 6 places where you can go to find a job; refer to the “Where to Search” part of the worksheet for online websites to search

This one should be obvious, but check out your local Temp or Staffing Agency. Look, we have all got to start somewhere, and we cannot just be waiting around forever for the perfect job to fall in our lap. Besides, many times a temporary job can turn into a more permanent position. Part-time jobs can develop into full-time jobs if you are diligent and a hard worker. Or maybe you just work the temp job until you can find something more substantial. Remember, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much…” (Luke 16:10, ESV).

At the same time that you are doing everything else and searching everywhere else, pick up your local newspaper and check out the Wanted Ads. And keep looking. Every week new opportunities may arrive and new doors be opened. Job Postings can also be found in magazines, at your local college’s Career Board, and online.

In our technology era, the web is probably one of our most practical tools in researching and finding a job. There are many websites out there designed specifically to help people find not only a job, but the right job. Even Craig’s List can be a great place to find a job. Just be careful as there are many sketch and con jobs on this site.  Check out some of these sites, or simply do your own online search.



Search for a job that works for you and your priorities. The following are the priorities for choosing the right job in order of most important to least:

    • Location – if you don’t drive, be sure to find a job that’s close enough so that you can:
      • Ride your bike
      • Walk
      • Take the bus
    • Schedule – School is a priority. If your job will interfere with grades and homework, then you should not take the job.
    • Pay – this should be last on your priority list. Of course, it would be nice to get a well-paying job. However, chances are that since you are so young and do not have a lot of experience, you should not expect more than minimum wage through $9 per hour.