Some realistic, unrealistic expectations for a first job interview
Monster’s career expert Vicki Salemi answers user questions on Quora.com. We’re republishing her answers here on a regular basis. If you have a question, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. What are some realistic and unrealistic expectations of firsttime job seekers?
A. First and foremost, it’s realistic to expect a comprehensive job description. If you’re pursuing a job that sounds vague, ask for details about it and politely push them to send an updated description before you interview.
Another realistic expectation is that employers will want you to talk about your resume. You may think, “Don’t they already have this information in front of them?” Yes, but your resume serves as a vehicle to land you the interview. Your communication skills and how you speak about your experience, skills and interests, as well as your enthusiasm, will keep that door open.
It’s also realistic to feel frustrated or impatient. Job searches are marathons, not sprints.
It’s unrealistic to think you’ll apply for a job, interview and receive an offer in a week. That’s why you should pursue several jobs at once. Another unrealistic expectation is to think you’ll negotiate a huge salary increase for your job offer. When I worked in recruiting, it was always awesome to see first-time job seekers negotiate their first job offer. If a salary increase was approved, it wasn’t for a large amount of money. Should you negotiate every job offer? Definitely. Will you land a $10,000 bump your first job? Probably not.
Finally, if you’re networking, it’s unrealistic to think you’ll get anywhere by simply saying you are looking for an entry-level job. You need to be specific. Say something like, “I’m looking for an entry-level job in marketing or PR in the NYC area.” You get more traction by being more specific.