Seven top tips for graduate job interviews
At interview, employers are trying to find out if you can do the job, want to do the job and if you are a good fit for their organisation. Here are some top tips from Newman University’s Careers Team to help you prepare and give you the best chance possible at securing that role.
1. Be clear on what is expected of you
Check the instructions provided and find out as much as you can about the logistics of the day and what is expected of you. Check if the interview is face to face, via telephone or video. If you need to travel to the interview – make sure you know how to get their and how long it will take. If it’s via video, check which platform they will use and familiarise yourself with it if you can. If you are told in advance that you will need to complete any tasks on the day, be clear on what these are and prepare for them.
2. Research is key
Make sure you research the organisation you’re applying to as thoroughly as possible including looking on their website, social media platforms and the news. Find out about their values, ethos, goals, structure, what sector it’s in, who their competitors are and the services they provide. Consider why it is that you want to work for this organisation, as this question will come up. Also research the people interviewing you if you know who they are, LinkedIn can be a good way of doing this.
3. Look back at your application and the job requirements
At interview you are likely to be asked questions to see if you have the skills and experience needed to do the job. The good news is you can prepare for these in advance. If you’ve kept a copy of the job description and person specification, look back at this to see what they are looking for in a candidate and consider examples from your experience that you have to evidence this. Also, think about why it is you want this job, as it’s important that you can articulate this.
4. Give examples from your experience in your answers
As mentioned you are likely to be asked questions to assess whether you have the skills needed for the role. These could be strength based, situational or competency questions such as “Tell me about a time when you’ve worked successfully in a team”. When providing answers to evidence skills, use specific examples from your experience and the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action and Result/Reflection) to help structure your answer.
5. Do a practice interview
Once you’ve done your preparation it can be useful to do a practice interview before the real thing, and get some feedback on your answers. If you are one of our current students or a recent Newman graduate, you can access the interactive ‘Shortlist Me’ interview platform through your My Career
6. On the day be punctual, professional and positive
This includes both acting and dressing professionally. Make sure you arrive on time. Remember first impressions count so be professional, polite and friendly throughout the day. Be confident in your body language and positive in your answers. Nerves are normal but try to stay calm and not to let these get in the way. Finally, try to enjoy it if you can, as well as them assessing you, it’s also your chance to get a feel for the organisation and if it’s right for you.
7. Reflect on the interview process and ask for feedback
Use every interview as a learning opportunity. After the interview, note down questions you were asked and your responses. When you are told the outcome of the interview ask for feedback and act on this. On the day it’s useful to ask when you will hear the outcome so you know when to expect this.