Your First Job Interview: Expectations vs. Reality

Much like death and taxes, an oh-so-dreaded job interview is something we will all experience at some point in our lives.

Whether it's something major like an internship at your dream company, or somewhere like Dairy Queen to help you save up for your first car, there will come a time when you're forced to throw on your most professional attire and try to convince an employer you're the one for the job.


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While we'd love to tell you it's a breezy walk in the park, we know firsthand that it's incredibly stressful. Even the most prepped of applicants have trouble making it through. But dealing with an uncomfortable job interview is a rite of passage—we've all been there. Keep reading for your first job interview: expectations vs. reality.

Your Outfit

Expectations: Your nerves are in full-force leading up to the big day, but at least you're in control when it comes to how you look. You make your mom take you to Nordstrom to buy some stylish slacks and a sleek blouse. The ensemble looks great at the store, but even better when you slip it on for your interview. You've never left the house feeling better, and when you get out of the car to walk into the workplace, you look at your reflection in awe from the window. Not a hair out of place, and you look like the utmost professional. You're proud of yourself for really taking the time to look your best, and you're certain your potential new boss will take note!

Reality: While you do indeed purchase a fancy new get-up, things don't quite go as planned on interview day. You leave the house rushed, so your hair isn't all the way flat-ironed. And to make matters worse, it's scorching hot outside, and your locks look like you were electrocuted! The once-ironed ensemble has wrinkles everywhere by the time you get out of the car, and the heat doesn't do anything to help the sweat under your armpits. You end up feeling frazzled as you make a dash for the workplace.

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Expectations: You give yourself hours to prep for the big day. You leave your phone on the charger and refuse to be distracted by anything. You have ample time to get ready, rehearse answers in your mind a few last times, and give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination. You end up getting there 15 minutes early, and can sense your potential new boss' stamp of approval when they see how prompt you are.

Reality: You have every intention of getting an early start, but the day just isn't going your way. When you finally get out the door, you make it to the car, only to realize you left your resume on the kitchen table. You run back to get it, which sets you back a few minutes. What's usually a light traffic day just so happens to be one of the most congested days you've experienced in the area. You're freaking out, and by the time you actually make it to your destination, you're huffing and puffing in a panic, causing your potential boss to question if you're okay.



Expectations: You're beyond grateful to have an older and wiser friend or family member to make sure your interview is foolproof. They go through a list of any and every possible question you could get asked, and you've nailed the responses to a T. When you get to the actual interview, your potential new boss is not only blown away with your character, but how well you know the company and its history. They can't believe this is your first interview, and they commend you for your extensive preparation.

Reality: When you first landed the interview, you told yourself you'd get to prepping right away—but being the procrastinator you are, you waited until the last minute. Before you know it, it's the day of your meeting and you're completely frazzled. You do your best to get as comfortable as possible in a short amount of time, but when it comes down to the actual meeting, you've accepted that you'll just have to fake it 'til ya make it.

girl goes on interview with male potential boss

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The Interviewer

Expectations: While you know bosses can be scary, you're the ultimate charmer who manages to win over even the darkest of souls. With your fashionable taste and bubbly personality, there's no way they won't be taken by you.

Reality: Your potential new boss is totally uptight. Their strictly business attitude doesn't make room for any of your jokes or lighthearted banter. You're totally intimidated, finding that whatever you say elicits a frown from them. The whopping 20 minutes of your chat feels like 20 hours, and you'll give anything to be set free.


Your Confidence

Expectations: You've put in the work and given it your all—and that's evident by how you feel through the entirety of your interview. You never let 'em see you sweat—even if you're stressed, no one can possibly tell. By the time the interview breezes by effortlessly, you leave the meeting feeling empowered. You can't wait to go home and make your parents proud!

Reality: They say practice makes perfect, and you leave the meeting feeling like this is just one of many much-needed rehearsals before you nail the art of the interview. Everything felt off, but you're using this as a learning experience. And, heck, it could all be in your head—you may be pleasantly surprised to find out you got the gig!

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Part of nailing your meeting is crushing the outfit. HERE are the DOs and DON'Ts of what to wear to a job interview!