4 tips for succeeding in graduate jobs interviews

Having spent time writing and meticulously proof-reading our internship and job applications, we can all relate to the feeling of delight experienced when you finally get offered an interview. However, writing excellent applications doesn’t necessarily lead to complete and unwavering interview success.

Interviews require preparation and practice. The path to success can be daunting, but we’re here to help. Check out our top tips below!

1) Research.

It’s common knowledge that it’s vitally important to demonstrate genuine enthusiasm and interest in working for the company you are interviewing with. The best way to demonstrate these qualities is through thorough and uncompromising research.

A useful technique is to create a brief firm profile containing key information. Exactly what questions you need to ask yourself about the firm and what you can expect to find out will vary depending on industry sector but try starting with the following information, which is necessary for any interview:

  • The services/products offered by the firm
  • The firm’s growth strategy and future commercial direction. This is often found in the company’s Annual Report (if available) which is produced for shareholders
  • How the role you are interviewing for fits within the organisation
  • How the firm intends to train you (assuming it is an entry-level graduate job)
  • What it’s like working there, and what the company culture is like. This includes their core values, and whether they have a more relaxed or more corporate atmosphere. Have a look at their website, blogs, and social media to get a better sense of this.

2) Know your application and your CV.

Having completed the time-consuming process of making sure you know the company inside out, it can be easy to forget that interviewers are interested in finding out about you – most importantly, whether you are a good fit for the team and what you can bring to the organisation.

A top priority, alongside showing enthusiasm for the company, is showing that you have the skills to carry out the job at hand. Read and reread your application and CV in order to be able to further elaborate on the skills discussed and advertised in the job specification.

If the job requires the candidate to review certain documentation or to display certain competencies, such as teamwork or working under pressure, then be ready to discuss a time that you did this or a time where you demonstrated the skills necessary to carry out such a task.

3) Use all resources at your disposal.

Interview technique is tricky to master and takes practice, something that recent graduates who are just entering the job market often lack. The best way to compensate for this lack of real interview practice is to learn from those who have been through the process and also those whose job it is to recruit candidates.

Reading internet resources (like the Inspiring Interns blog!) is a good start. There is a variety of interview tips and guidance available on the internet which can point you in the right direction during your interview preparation.

Also equally important is to practice responding to questions and answering clearly and briefly in order to improve your performance in the real thing. Rope in your friends or family to give you a mock interview, and try talking in front of a mirror so you can analyse your own body language.

4) Develop the confidence to embrace rejection.

One of the toughest things to learn about the graduate job search is embracing failure and rejection – both of which are a natural part of the learning process. Having worked tirelessly to secure a university degree, invested time in developing skills through extra-circular involvements, and spent time preparing for the interview, it’s easy to become frustrated when things don’t go as planned.

It’s important to remind yourself that being able to interview well is a skill and all skills take practice, perseverance and time to develop. For this reason, it’s crucial to enter each job selection process with the mind-set that whatever the result is, you will have learned and improved from the experience. This will take away a large portion of the pre-interview jitters and will eventually give you the confidence and skills to tackle each interview that comes your way.

 

Kirila is a recent law graduate from Queen Mary University, who is currently interning at AT&T’s legal department. Find her on LinkedIn.

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