Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries
Serving Greater Cincinnati

5 Interview Tips for First-Time Job Seekers

You’ve been applying for jobs for weeks, and finally scored your first interview. Now what? If the thought of interviewing makes your palms sweaty and your head spin, it’s okay!

At Ohio Valley Goodwill, we’re part of the world’s largest and most successful network providing employment and training services for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment. We know how to help local job seekers find, obtain, and maintain community employment.

If you’re looking for a few pointers, check out these five first-time interview tips:

#1: Research the company

Before the interview, get online and research the company where you’re interviewing to work. Find out what they do, read about its mission, and understand its customers. This will help you cater your answers to what the manager might be looking for, but it will also show you’re truly interested in the job. To a hiring manager, if a job candidate has done some homework before the interview, it’s likely that candidate will also take pride in their work. That goes a long way!

Having background information about the company will also help you come up with questions to ask during the interview, which is a must. Asking informed questions proves you’ve thought about the job and the company’s culture.

#2: Practice the Interview

You may feel silly doing it, but a practice interview really does help! Ask a friend or family member to role-play with you. Tell them a little about the company, and then act it out, from your arrival to your departure. When it’s all over, ask for feedback. Practicing the interview will help you feel more prepared when the time comes, and might even help calm your nerves!

#3: Dress for Success

When you’re interviewing for a job, it’s important to look the part. This means different things for different positions. Think about what you might be expected to wear for the job you want, then elevate that look for the interview. It really is true that dressing for success helps you get there!

#4: Prepare Transportation & Be Early

Being late for an interview is the last thing you want when you’re trying to make a good impression. The hiring manager might wonder if you’ll also have trouble getting to work on time. To avoid this problem, plan on arriving at the location 10-15 minutes early. It’s also a good idea to scout out the location beforehand, so obstacles like traffic, parking, or navigating a large building don’t set you behind.

#5: Send a Thank You Note

After your interview, be sure to send a thank-you note within the next day or two. The hiring manager might be moving forward quickly, so you want to make sure the note arrives before a decision is made if possible. An email is acceptable, but if you really want to stand out from the crowd, send a handwritten note. Make sure to include something in the note that reminds the hiring manager about you and the conversation you had!

Goodwill Makes Career Connections

For individuals with disabilities, a first interview can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. At Ohio Valley Goodwill, our vocational programs are designed to help job seekers receive the skill training and preparation they need to obtain jobs in the Greater Cincinnati area. 

Our Employment Specialists help set the individuals in our programs up for success in every phase of the employment process, from the beginning stages of career exploration to finding the right employment opportunity and supports while in that job. They can even provide assistance with finding the perfect interview outfit and transportation to interviews!

It’s all a part of Ohio Valley Goodwill’s mission to change lives through the power of work, helping individuals with disabilities experience the sense of accomplishment, self-esteem, and true community inclusion that comes from meaningful employment.

Learn more about Ohio Valley Goodwill’s vocational services and the many ways we help make career connections for those who need a helping hand.