Graduate interviews can be nerve-wracking. The only thing standing between you and that dream job. However, the more you do of them, the better you get, so don’t fret if your first interview doesn’t turn out the way you wanted.
Put simply, the more you prepare, the better chance you have of landing that job. Sounds obvious right? Well, you’d be surprised; I met up with a friend recently who works as a hiring manager, and they told me that the majority of candidates don’t really know what the company they’ve applied to actually does!
At their core, interviews are essentially a code that can be cracked. So read on for our top tips on how to ace your graduate job interview…
Research, research, research
Now, I really cannot emphasise this enough: do your research! Read up about your potential employers online, find out who their target audiences are and look into whether they have any
upcoming products/services. If you do your research, you will feel prepared and confident in the interview and that will come across.
Also, make sure to familiarise yourself with your CV and be ready to expand on anything that you’ve written down.
Get ready to talk about you and them.
You know those annoying graduate interview questions: give me an example when you’ve done this, give me an example of when you’ve shown that? Well, they’re asked because the interviewer wants
you to show them that you’ve demonstrated the skills they’re looking for. So before the interview, spend time brainstorming some key examples. Were you on a university society
committee? That shows the ability to work with others. Did you plan socials? That shows event management skills.
It’s also important to demonstrate that you can bring something new to the team. So in the interview don’t be afraid to bring up where you think your potential employer can improve, along
with ideas on how they could do so. Is their social media strategy lacking for instance? By bringing fresh ideas to the table before you’ve even been hired, you’ve demonstrated how you take the initiative, are a self-starter and (if hired) would hit the ground running.
Practice makes perfect
So, you’ve done your research, you’ve brainstormed key examples of your skills in action and you’ve got some ideas you can pitch. Now it’s time to put it all to the test. Ask friends/family to
interview you, and treat it as the real thing.
The day of the interview arrives…
When the day of the graduate interview comes around, eat a good breakfast (for energy), wear smart clothes (but make sure you feel comfortable in them), and make sure to factor in plenty of extra
time in case of delays.
When you arrive, make small talk with the receptionist, talk to other candidates, smile, practice power poses in the bathroom – whatever it takes to make yourself feel more confident. There’s a
reason people say ‘fake it till you make it’, it’s because it genuinely works.
The other thing to add here is the importance of being yourself in the graduate interview. Don’t try and cram your personality into something you think the employer will like. They’ve seen that a million
times before, plus it hardly demonstrates self-belief. Instead, just be yourself; you’ll come across as more relaxed, more honest and it’ll make you more memorable.
During the interview, have open body language (no crossed arms), bring in some paper to make notes, make eye contact (but don’t be too intense, look down to write some notes now and
again if you’re concerned about this), accept water (talking can be thirsty work) and make sure to take time to compose your answers – try not to speak too quickly!
Finally, remember an interview is a two-way thing, you’re also there to see whether the job position is right for you. Bring a list of questions to ask, remember the interviewer’s name(s) and
try and enjoy it! It’s all an experience at the end of the day.
Good luck! You’ve got this.