First Interview Preparation Guide: Tips, Tricks, and Common Questions 
Tech Insights
First Interview Preparation Guide: Tips, Tricks, and Common Questions 
First Interview Preparation Guide: Tips, Tricks, and Common Questions 
Tech Insights

First Interview Preparation Guide: Tips, Tricks, and Common Questions 

You’ve been searching for a job for a while now and just got your invitation to an interview. Congrats! What are you supposed to do next? Don’t take your first touchpoint with the recruiter lightly. It may be just the first stepping stone in your potential career at the company, but an important one at that.  

In the first round of the interviewing process, you will most likely be competing with a large pool of equally experienced professionals – according to Zippia research, up to 20% depending on the number of applicants and their qualifications – that will be condensed into a shortlist of candidates for the second round. That’s why you should start asking yourself how to best present yourself to your interviewer, what are some common first interview questions, and start preparing right now.  

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The first interview with a recruiter, also known as a screening interview, is a meaningful conversation that helps identify the best candidates for further consideration. It allows candidates to demonstrate their qualifications and suitability for the job. Being well-prepared for this interview is crucial because the recruiter’s decision determines if you will move forward in the hiring process. Here’s where this preparation guide might be useful! Continue reading to get the insights, tips and tricks to pass the interview with flying colors. 

How to Prepare for Your First Interview 

Before heading out to your first interview, here are a few things you might want to do to come prepared: 

  • Prepare answers for typical interview questions. It’s easy to find online lists of typical interview questions to get a peek at what you may expect once you meet up with the recruiter for the first time. Look for resources created by recruiters themselves, as who else is the best candidate to give you all the insight and relevant information on the topic? In fact, this is the exact reason why this article has come into being. 
  • Practice speaking your responses aloud. Confidence is a trait that you want to express during the interview. If you are second-guessing yourself and don’t want to trip over your answers, practice them ahead of time. 
  • Thoroughly investigate the company and position you’ve applied to. Have a clear understanding of why you have chosen to apply for the position, what made the company stand out, how you see yourself fit into the team, etc. This shows your enthusiasm and makes the time you spend with the recruiter during the interview worthwhile for both parties. 
  • Review your resume. Get ready to be asked about your experience. This is the information that you should know off the top of your head. However, it’s a good idea to go over it before the interview and look at your work experience with the eyes of a recruiter. Does your resume showcase your expertise? Is your experience consistent and industry relevant? You may want to customize your resume to fit the job you are applying to so that it is a good representation of yourself as a professional.
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Common First Interview Questions 

To help you in your preparation, here is a list of 14 common interview questions frequently asked by recruiters in the initial screening process. By knowing these questions and preparing answers to them, you could improve your chances of getting the job you want.

1. Can you tell me about yourself? 

This common question helps the interviewer evaluate your communication abilities and get an overview of your background and experiences.  

2. What do you know about our company? 

Don’t hesitate to do your research before showing up at the interview. This shows your sincere interest in the company and its mission and helps you present yourself as a good fit for the role. 

3. What interests you the most in our position?   

By answering this question, show your enthusiasm and understanding of the position, highlighting how your goals and values align with specific aspects of the job.  

4. What motivates you professionally?   

Highlight what motivates and engages you, whether it’s the challenges, personal growth, making a meaningful impact, or working in a collaborative environment.  

5. What made you decide to switch to another company?  

It’s important to maintain a positive tone throughout your response and avoid speaking negatively about your previous company or colleagues. Focus on the opportunities and growth the new company offers.  

6. What are your professional goals for the next 1 or 2 years?   

When answering the question, it’s important to demonstrate your commitment and dedication to the role, as well as your ambition and alignment with the company’s needs.  

7. Could you provide more information about your experience with …?  

Share details about your specific experience, expertise, or any relevant accomplishments related to this question. To prepare for this question, think about your expertise and align it with the job description of the company.  

8. Could you describe a project in which you were involved?  

Please provide a small description of a specific project you have previously been involved in. Include information about the project’s purpose, your role, responsibilities, and key challenges you faced. Take this question as your chance to showcase how you can bring value to the company, deliver valuable results, and problem-solve.  

9. Could you please provide more details about the team composition of your most recent project?   

This should include information about the team hierarchy, roles, responsibilities, and the number of team members involved. Kindly highlight your understanding of the team dynamics and structure within the project.  

10. What is your level of proficiency in English?   

This question is commonly asked when applying for international or English-speaking business opportunities. It’s important to accurately evaluate your skills and provide an honest response. You may mention relevant language proficiency certification, experience working in an English-speaking environment, communicating with international clients, etc. 

11. What are your salary expectations for this position?   

Before the interview investigate the market, evaluate your value as a specialist, and consider the total compensation package, including benefits, bonuses, vacation period, and professional development opportunities. A good idea would be to provide some specific number or a range, however, still be flexible.  

  12. What type of employment contract are you able to sign?   

It’s important to research and understand different types of contracts available based on the country and context. Think about your preferences in advance while being open to alternative options.  

13. How soon can you start a new job after accepting a Cooperation Offer?   

Think about your existing commitments and any practical factors that might influence your start date. At the same time, it’s good to show your flexibility in meeting the organization’s needs if necessary.  

  14. Do you have any questions for me about the company or the role?  

Before the interview, make sure to research the company. Look into their mission, values, recent news, and job description. This will help you come up with relevant questions.  

By preparing well for the interview with the recruiter, you will be able to make a positive impression and stand out among other candidates for this position. 

Questions to Ask Your Potential Employer During Your First Interview 

The interview isn’t over with you answering all the tricky questions and logic puzzles. After all, it is a conversation. So, once the recruiter asks if you have any questions, take the chance to show just how seriously you are considering this position. Show your sincere interest and investment in the job. Here are some examples to ask a recruiter at the end of your first job interview: 

  • Can you provide more details about the responsibilities and day-to-day tasks of the role? 
  • What are the key skills and qualities you are looking for in the ideal candidate? 
  • How does the company support professional development and career growth for employees? 
  • Can you tell me more about the company culture and values? 
  • How does the company measure success and performance for this position? 
  • What are the biggest challenges someone in this role may face? 
  • How do you support work-life balance for your employees? 
  • Can you describe the typical career path for someone in this position? 
  • How does the company handle remote work or flexible work arrangements? 
  • Can you tell me more about the company’s mission and long-term goals? 

Remember to make this a conversation, practice active listening and ask relevant questions.  


While you are still in the recruitment stage for a new job, your first task is to prepare for the first interview and cover all your bases. You need to be well-informed about the company and position you’ve applied for, and just as well you need to know how to present yourself as the best candidate for the job. Review common first interview questions and take your time to prepare for that first meeting with the recruiter you’ve been waiting for. Luckily, recruiters are just as interested in talking to qualified professionals, so you can engage in a conversation and derive a lot of value at each stage of the interviewing process if you take your time to prepare and treat it as part of the job. 

After the interview, a good idea would be to send a thank you email to the recruiter, express your appreciation for the interviewer’s time and consideration, reiterate your interest in the position, reiterate key qualifications that make you a strong fit for the position, and address any concerns that popped up during the interview by providing clarifications and extra information in a positive and concise manner. 

Good luck with your job search! If you fancy learning more about opportunities at Symphony Solutions, check out our open vacancies


The article was written by Roksolana Stupen,
Senior Recruiter at Symphony Solutions