First Interview in Decades? Top Tips for Success

Many of us go for long periods without looking for work. When we’re happy in our careers, we might occasionally interview for promotions, but it’s never quite as nerve-racking as interviewing for a brand-new position with someone you’ve never met. If you’ve been working for yourself, you might not have had anything remotely resembling a formal interview for a very long time, and the idea of answering an interviewer’s questions might now make you exceptionally nervous.

You might have thought that you’d never need to apply for a new job or be interviewed for a position again, but things change, or new positions and opportunities present themselves. If you are approaching your first interview in over a decade, you are certain to feel a little anxious but don’t worry, things probably haven’t changed that much. Here are some tips to help you.

First Interview in Decades? Top Tips for Success

Hire a Career Coach

If you have been out of the job market for a while you might need to work on more than your interview technique. Hire a career coach and they’ll help you to understand the modern market and give you some amazing tips. Get interview help and more from Placement. Placement offers personalized coaching to support your career journey. This coaching includes 1:1 digital sessions, resume reviews, and guides and resources to help you find work, brush up your resume, and ace interviews.

Make an Effort with Your Appearance

Fashions change, but appearance is always important, especially in a formal setting. Make sure you have smart business attire that’s clean, in good condition, and neatly pressed. Make an effort with your appearance and hygiene. A good first impression is always important.

Brush Up Your Resume

You should take your resume to your interview, even if you’ve already submitted it. Make sure it contains any skills and experience relevant to the job, and that you can explain any gaps.

Do Your Research

Researching the job that you have applied for is crucial for interview success. Make sure you’ve read and understood the job description, and you can confidently explain how you could fill the role. It’s also worth finding out more about the company, its background, ethos, and any other important points to make sure it’s a good fit for you.

Ask Questions

Interviewers love it when applicants ask questions and take an interest, so make sure you’ve got some prepared. Try to think outside the box. Instead of asking about salary and holidays, ask about the company’s five year plan, their environmental impact and initiatives, and about anything that’s interested you in your research.

Prepare for Behavior-Based Questions

Behavior-based questions are when you are asked how you have dealt with certain situations in previous roles. Common behavioral questions could see the interviewer ask about a time you’ve dealt with conflict, how you’ve adapted to specific challenges, how you’ve helped other members of your team, or a time you’ve had to come up with a creative solution. They’ll ask for examples of your successes, but they might also ask you to talk about a mistake that you’ve made, how you dealt with it, and how you’ve learned from it since. Behavioral questions help the interviewer to learn more about your strengths and weaknesses, but also your attitude, how you work with others, how you manage your time, and how you adapt to new situations. These kinds of questions are very common in interviews, so it’s a good idea to think back and have some examples in mind.

Be Prepared for Different Kinds of Interview

If you haven’t had an interview for a long time, your last one might have been in the office, across a desk from the interviewer. These interviews still happen, but different options are being used more frequently, especially if an employer has a lot to get through. You might be asked to attend a phone or video call interview. In these cases, make sure you have a set time, and that you can be in a quiet room with a good connection. If it’s a video chat, make sure you are dressed for an interview. Some employers are even becoming keen to take interviews out of an office setting, meeting for lunch or a coffee instead. This can help them to get to know you in a more natural environment, but you should always remember, you are being interviewed and you need to be professional.  

Prepare for Common Questions

Common questions haven’t changed in decades, if ever. Prepare to tell the interviewer about yourself, your skills and weaknesses, your experience, and why you’d be good at the job.

Be Professional

Whatever job you have applied for, and whoever is interviewing you, you must be always professional. Make small talk if it’s called for but remember what you are there for.

Your first interview in decades might be daunting, but with the right attitude and preparation, there’s no reason why it can’t be successful.

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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, Founder of Inspired Marketing, Inc., helps overachieving women entrepreneurs conquer limiting beliefs and create marketing plans that grow their businesses. This includes one-on-one marketing plan development, digital product creation, web design and content marketing. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog,

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