By Paul Martinez
Paul Martinez

Paul Martinez

I must admit, going straight from graduation to landing that perfect job can be a bit overwhelming for some—the fears of being the new guy or girl, the challenges of fitting in, and the questions you’ll ask yourself, like, “Will I fill the last employee’s shoes?” This all becomes a reality when you receive those follow-up calls and go through the interviewing processes. But not to worry: Being the new person at work might be a little easier than you might think. In this article, I’ll give you a few methods I used to help me transition into the new job.

To start with, you can’t be the new guy or girl if you don’t pass the interviewing process. So how do you satisfy the interviewing committee? Well, this actually is the easy part. Most students these days spend most of their spare time during college on their cell phones making birds crash into some sort of construction or even watching videos of people who will do anything to increase their number of viewers. Don’t get me wrong—I’m an official bird throwing expert and can give you a few links that will make you say, “I didn’t even know this was on the web.” But there comes a time when you have to depart from the norm and start paying attention to the things that will make you successful, not only in your career but as a person. And to do this, you have to focus on your past. I strongly believe that learning and using your past experiences can make you a stronger, sharper individual.

Preparing for the Interview

Yes, it’s true: The Internet is full of resources that may help you get through an interview. But it’s what you say and how you present yourself under pressure that counts. Tell the truth: How many of us are guilty of repeating word-for-word the language we just heard on a video about preparing for an interview? This method might work for some companies, but what happens when you’re confronted with a question you didn’t prepare for? What will tell them you’re a quick thinker and a motivator when you’ve never been in the situations you will see in this job before?

Look, the videos are there to help prepare you, so you should use them. Review and write down as many questions as possible to help you get prepared. But most importantly, you should always use your previous work and life experiences to help you get through the interview. This will help keep you honest and let them hear a little more personal stuff about you. I guarantee that almost all of the answers you’ll need during an interview can be found in your past life experiences. Whether you’ve had many jobs or just started looking for your first doesn’t matter. Think back to all the activities you have taken part in or the times you put a small group together to get a task done. You’re basically looking for any memory of when you were active and interacting with others. I can’t think of one company that wouldn’t want to hear how you interact socially.

Now that you’re focusing your responses on previous experiences, you don’t have to worry about remembering anything word for word. You can relax and put your energy into that first interview question that will break the ice. You know, the, “So, tell me a little bit about yourself,” question. Take it as your opportunity to tell the interviewers everything about you and what you’re going to bring to this company in a couple of short, well-organized sentences. It should always start with two or three words that describe you. Good examples include words like energetic, self-motivated, well-organized, good with deadlines, or always up early and ready for the day. The point is to choose two or three that describe you honestly.

Then try to include your overall experience in the job you’re applying for, such as, “More than 5 years in sales, customer service, retail, or public speaking”—whatever the job you’re applying for requires. Next, you should throw in what first interested you in the job you’re interviewing for. It could be about how you’re always reading books on the newest technologies to keep you up to date, or how you’ve always been the type of person that can make someone with no sense of humor smile.

Fitting In

And finally, after you get the official acceptance phone call that seals the deal, you should be ready to show off your skills. At this point, some people let their nerves get the best of them and start to worry about fitting in. But one thing to remember is that of all the candidates the company interviewed, you were the one who had the most potential to fit their need. Being the newbie might be easier than you think when you think of your company as being your new family. Look at it this way: The group you’re going to work with won’t see you as someone trying to come in and outperform them. Instead, they’re looking at you as another helping hand who can take some of the load off of their plates.

Come into the job on your first day with an eagerness to learn their way of performing daily tasks, and always pay attention to what the veteran employees have to say. Veteran employees are not necessarily the ones who have been with the company the longest, but those who have been doing the particular job you signed up for the longest. They know the ins and outs of the workplace, and, if you listen, will help you learn. If, instead, you stubbornly insist on doing it yourself, you will have to learn through your mistakes.

So what it all comes down to is that you were chosen from many possible candidates to be a part of their family. That is the highest form of acceptance that I know of. So be the best employee that you can, and always strive to be the employee who will one day pass on what you know to the next new guy or girl. 24×7

Paul Martinez joined the biomed team at Baylor Medical Center, Garland, Tex, in February 2013. For more information, contact jbethune@allied360.com.