How to Nail that First Interview after Trade School

That first interview after graduation can be one of the most terrifying things you’ll ever experience, but it doesn’t have to be.


Instead of spending the night before biting your nails and feverishly watching movies, you should spend it perfecting your interview look and brushing up on knowledge about the field and the company. This is the time to be your smartest and most sophisticated self, not the time to panic.


What to Do before the Interview

After a potential employer has called you to schedule an initial interview, you should prepare yourself by doing the following:

  • Research the company. You should know what they do, what their reputation is and who the major players are inside the company.
  • Learn about your possible role inside the company. Employers like it when potential employees know exactly what they’re getting into. If you appear knowledgeable about the job, you seem more prepared for it. Employers hire prepared people.
  • Practice the interview with your roommates. Find a list of common interview questions online and have your roommates quiz you. This will help you sound more natural during the interview.
  • Pick an outfit. You need to look sharp when you show up for the interview, even if the company is usually casual. You should look as professional and sophisticated as possible.
  • Gather necessary items. You’ll need a copy of your resume (even if you sent one to the interviewer), a pen and note pad, and printed/mobile directions to the company’s location. You need your resume for reference, the pen for notes and the directions to make sure you arrive early.

What to Do During the Interview

Once you’ve arrive 15 to 20 minutes early for your interview, keep these tips in mind:

  • Stay calm. You’re trying to impress these people; you need to at least look calm on the surface.
  • Remember that you can pause to think about your answer before speaking. Giving a thoughtful answer after a pause looks more professional than blurting out something that doesn’t make sense. Stay calm and think before you speak.
  • Be confident. You won’t have a lot of professional experience, but you will have learned valuable skills during your schooling. Sell yourself, but don’t do it in such a way that you brag about irrelevant facts during the interview. Answer the questions directly and elaborate if prompted.
  • Make eye contact while listening or speaking and don’t fiddle with anything. Impress the interviewer with how attentive and focused you are. Employers hire attentive and focused people because those traits often come with an excellent work ethic.
  • Take notes. This shows that you care about this potential employment opportunity. It also shows that you’re motivated and that you’re attentive.
  • Thank the interviewer at the end of the interview. Be cordial about it. Don’t just say “thank you.” You need to thank the interviewer for his or her time and you need to express your gratitude for his or her consideration.

What to Do after the Interview

When you arrive home, you need to send a quick thank you note to the interviewer. Don’t draft an elaborate, flowery note that makes you sound desperate. Simply reiterate the thanks that you gave at the end of the interview and state that you look forward to hearing the company’s decision.


Contact Us!

If you don’t have the skills for a significant career advancement yet, Alberta Business & Educational Services (ABES) can help. We’ll give you the education you need to start a bright new career. Call us at 403-232-8758 to learn more today!


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