During an interview, hiring managers usually ask about your past work experience. This helps them determine your fit for the role. But what if you’re looking for a first job or switching careers and your experience is limited or nonexistent? Don’t sweat it. Here’s how to interview for a job that needs experience, without any experience.
Tips for Interviewing for a Job That Needs Experience, Without Any Experience
Going into the interview, you KNOW you won’t be the most experienced candidate. But keep in mind, the hiring manager knows this too. The company looked at your application and decided to call you in for an interview despite your lack of experience. Clearly, they saw something they liked. So, keep your confidence up. You may have a better chance of landing the job than you think.
Understand What the Job Involves
Often workers with little to no experience don’t realize what a job will be like. This presents a problem for businesses. Adding someone to their team only to have them quit a few days later is a huge hassle. To avoid this trap (which wastes everyone’s time) familiarize yourself with ins and outs of the job before you interview. Read relevant articles, talk to people in the field and/or shadow someone for a day. This way you’ll be able to talk intelligently about the position AND show the hiring manager you are prepared to take on the role.
Focus on Relevant Qualifications
Even without actual work experience, you still can bring value to the organization. Focus on the qualifications that set you apart from other candidates. Maybe you were educated specifically for this position? Maybe you participated in volunteer roles that provided similar training? Or maybe you completed a personal project using work-related skills? By describing these non-paid experiences, you’ll provide insight into your on-the-job potential.
Highlight Your Soft Skills
In addition to your lack of experience, the hiring manager also may be concerned about your lack of work history. They want to know what kind of employee you will be. Discussing your performance at unrelated experiences, like summer jobs, is a smart strategy to highlight your soft skills. For instance, let’s say they ask behavioral interview question, such as “How would you handle a difficult client?” You could give an example of how you calmed down a customer while working a fast-food job.
Ask About Training
You may not be able to hit the ground running. However, you can express your willingness to get up to speed as quickly as possible. Asking for information about on-the-job training and other professional development opportunities, shows you are enthusiastic, motivated and ready to go. You may not be the most experienced candidate today, but you could prove to be the better choice six months from now.
Are You Trying to Land a Job Without Any Experience?
If you’re struggling to find an entry-level position, the expert recruiters at FirstStaff can help. We place talented employees with top companies in Little Rock, Arkansas and beyond. Learn more about our hiring process today!