Months before graduation, I was applying to jobs nonstop, hoping I would be part of the fortunate few with a signed contract before commencement. No one bit on offering me a job, but I did set up a few interviews to get my feet wet.
The first was last week at a media agency in lower Manhattan. It was my trial and [hopefully not an] error. Here’s how it went down.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
I arrived days before my interview and strolled around the city to the company’s headquarters. With that in mind, I picked an outfit that seemed appropriate. In this particular case, the company is located in a 29-floor building with golden elevators—classy, right? I chose a blazer. Corporate loves blazers.
I then focused on research, remembering all those tips my professors gave me on “how to land a job.” I started an in-depth examination of the company. “It’s like Facebook stalking but for corporations,” they said. Clearly this company had gotten fatter with time. I then contacted friends who work in that field through LinkedIn to get a little play-by-play on what to expect. I felt pretty good after meeting with a high school friend who works as media buyer.
Double Check EVERYTHING
The day before the interview, I reviewed all that I had learned in the past few days about the company. I filled out the application. My résumé looked nice. I had my outfit all lined up and ready to go. I organized myself to go in and go out without any hiccups. The only thing left was to rest and look fresh and ready.
The day of the interview, I got there 15 minutes early. I checked in, was friendly with the receptionist, and even got a few laughs out of her. The HR person I was set to meet with was out sick so his boss interviewed me instead. This made me a bit nervous, but I kept my composure. A few minutes in the waiting room and I hear: “Miss Guzmán. We’re ready for you.” I turned my charm on and off I went to my first interview in the city.
“Tell me a little bit about yourself.”
As I began my ramble, I remembered to keep good posture, smile, and look at my interviewer’s eyes. I tried to engage and listen very carefully to what I was being asked. First interviews are done to get a feel of the company and to see if you’re a right fit.
After that initial introduction, we moved to more position-specific questions. I got a better idea of what they’re looking for and what the job really means. I got a quick intro of the benefits, and we talked about experiences and what they can offer to better my career. It was a smooth interview. Not that long and pretty positive. It ended with a firm handshake and some jokes.
Later that day, I got a call to schedule my second interview.
Whatever Happens, Happens
I don’t know if my future is at this media agency or even in NYC, but getting that first interview done was a great experience. I definitely feel more prepared for the next one—and the one after that.
From this particular interview, I learned to be comfortable with myself and what I can offer. I will stay positive and believe in my talents. The job-hunting process is a long one but with some good help and some positive attitude, I’m sure I’ll be hired in no time.
Got any interview tips? Share them below in the comments.
(Photo: Carmen Guzmán)