The Good And The Bad From My First “I Really Want This Job” Interview

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Reflecting on a past interview can help you figure out how to ace your next interview.

As you know, I’ve been job searching for a while, applying for positions that I really, really want before I apply to just anything. I haven’t had much luck getting interviews in the field I’m interested in.

That is, until now.


I recently interviewed with a newspaper publishing company. The job would be any journalist’s dream starting point, and the more I learned about it, the more excited I felt. It seemed like a great fit for me—and a great way to start my career.

I should hear back within the next few weeks. Until then, I have to play the waiting game, which gives me a chance to reflect on the interview. Overall, I feel it went well, though I could have done some things better.

Whatever happens, though, I know that going through this exercise will help me in the future. If you’re getting ready for an “I really want this” job interview too, hopefully my reflections will help you too.

Things That Went Well

Researching the job: I feel like I did a great job preparing myself for the person-to-person interview. I researched the company and my interviewer a bit, so I knew what I was getting into and was slightly prepared if asked anything about the company. I also researched interview questions that might come up (some of which you can find here on the SALT™ Blog) and practiced my answers. Hey, they came in handy!

How I presented myself: I made sure I looked professional while still having a bit of my stylistic flare, showing off my personality as well as my professionalism. Then, at the interview, I kept my handshake dry and firm, my posture straight, and my responses slow, strong, and educated. I wanted to give off a feeling of interest, intelligence, and confidence, which I feel I achieved.

Post-interview thanks: After I went home, I sent an email thanking the company for having me come in for the interview and restating my interest in the job and working for the company. I researched the appropriate length and tone for this message, so that it would be received well. My interviewer answered back right away—and it seemed to be a positive response!

Things I Could Have Done Better

Knowing the area: I should have researched parking by the company or driven there ahead of time to see what it was like. Most of the lots were for employees or needed payment, so I drove around for 15 minutes before choosing a metered space. Luckily, I still arrived about 10 minutes early, but I wish I hadn’t had that stress right before my interview.

Preparing my portfolio: I had plenty of newspaper clips to show, but I stuffed them into a folder the day of the interview (because I couldn’t find a binder at my house). Luckily, my interviewer didn’t ask to see my portfolio, having already looked at the links that I had sent him. Unfortunately, he did get a glimpse of the scrap of paper I wrote all my questions on; with its frayed ends and my scribbled handwriting, that wasn’t a great look either. Next time, I’ll make a more presentable portfolio and write my questions on an iPad.

What was your first “I really want this job” interview like? Did you learn anything that could or did help you in the future? Let us know in the comments!

(Photo: usfbps)

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