Shhhh, keep it schtum! In the third episode of our graduate podcast series, we reveal the secrets of job interview success.
The interview is the final hurdle in landing that all important job. The problem is, when it’s your first job interview, it can be hard to know what to expect. That’s why we have revealed all this week’s podcast…
What to take away:
Secret 1: Fake it till you make it:
Your first interview can be a scary prospect, as you come face-to-face with your potential new boss. The key is to remember the interviewer just wants to see what you’re like, find out if you’ll be a good match for the job and will fit in at the company. Even if you’re nervous, try not to let it show, instead let your personality shine.
Tops tips are, give a firm handshake and keep eye contact with the interviewer. Take deep breath after each question they ask and always look interested and attentive when the interviewer is speaking.
Always arrive 15 minutes before the interview and find a seat in a nearby coffee shop, this will give you time to collect your thoughts and calm your nerves. Head into the office 5 minutes before the interview is due to start. Don’t worry if there are butterflies in your stomach – no one knows they’re there apart from you. Just believe in yourself.
Secret 2: It’s revision time again:
You may have thought your revision days were over, but reading up on a company before the interview is a must if you want to impress.
The trick here, is to know more than the interviewer expects you to, so looking over the company website and the job description isn’t enough. Know the name and position of the person interviewing you, their career industry and background – you can find this out from their LinkedIn profile and a quick Google search. It will give you an idea of where you can find common ground.
Don’t forget to cover the basics – what the company does and its vision for the future. For extra points, identify the company’s competitors and what makes the company unique in its market – this will highlight to the employer you have a good degree of commercial awareness.
When you’ve brushed up on the company, it’s time to think about how you can add value. Look at the job description and for each responsibility listed, note a time you demonstrated that skill in the past. A good way to test your knowledge ahead of time is to talk about the company to friends and family. But don’t think of it as a test, by simply sharing what you know about the company, you’ll find that when it comes to the interview, your responses will sound more genuine and less like you’re reading from a script.
Secret 3: Know what to share and what to hold back:
Putting yourself in the interviewer’s shoes is a helpful way of deciding what to say (and what not to say). E.g. speaking badly of a past employer is a big ‘no’ – it creates instant alarm bell for an interviewer.
Think of the questions they’re likely to ask and how you’ll respond – but don’t over rehearse, remember you don’t want to sound like a script. An interview isn’t a one-way street; come prepared with a mental list of questions you would like to ask them, e.g. “What kind of projects will the company be working on over the next year?” or, “How do you see this new hire fitting into the team?”. This will show your eagerness for getting stuck into the company long-term.
Secret 4: The closer:
Ending an interview can be a bit like ending a first date, as you wonder “Did they like me?”, or “Do I like them?”. So if you want to avoid that awkward “So, this was fun” moment, just remember at the end of the interview to:
- Ask the interviewer about your application: to see if they have any concerns or if they would like to know anything else. It also gives you the opportunity to get valuable feedback and show that you’re attentive.
- Always get a business card: it looks professional and means you have direct access to the person who interviewed you.
- Don’t play hard to get: you don’t need to gush about everything, but if you’re interested in the role and company, you need to let the interviewer know.
- Send a follow up email: if you get a business card, it means you can email the interviewer directly. Do this the day after the interview so you’re still fresh in their mind
Interviews can be tough, but what they really come down to is practice. The more you do them, the better you get at them, so get out there and get practicing!
Author: Give A Grad A Go have been changing the graduate jobs market for the better. We’re consistently working with some of the best graduate employers in the UK and have started well over 1,500 careers. So whether you’re fresh out of university, or you have a few years’ work experience – we’re the graduate recruitment agency that can help you land the job that’s right for you.