February 24, 2016
10 best interview tips for graduates
By: Nicola Campbell

FB comment: Need some interview help? Here’s 10 tips to help you through the process

Despite taking years of work, your academic record is only part of the story for landing a graduate position. The interviewing process is just as important.

According to Graduate Careers Australia, employers are looking to assess a number of things during the interview process, including skills, qualifications, strengths, attitude, aptitude, motivation and maturity.

To help with your upcoming interviews, we’ve summarised ten of the best interviewing tips we’ve come across.

  1. Do your homework. Learn as much as you can about the company you’re applying for. Know its key strengths, its values and locations. Read up on its history, how it’s evolved, its leadership structure and team, and how it’s currently performing. Most interviewers will ask why you want to work for the employer you’ve applied for – dazzle them by offering a well-researched response.

  2. Find a contact within the company. Do you already know somebody working at the target company? Reach out to them. If you don’t have a contact, reach out to your professional network asking for help in finding one. That one contact could provide valuable insight into what to expect about the culture of the organisation, and possibly even what to expect during the interview process. You’ll be surprised by how willing many people are to help recent graduates – and you may just set up a mentor for life.

  3. Know exactly what type of interview you’ll be participating in. Is it a panel interview? Or is it a face-to-face with a single recruiter? Will it involve some kind of assessment? Find out as much as you can about what will be expected of you, so as to avoid surprises on the day.

  4. Research potential questions. There is no one set list of questions that all recruiters refer to when interviewing job candidates. Every job hirer and employer treats the process differently. However, you can research potential questions that may come up in your industry online. In some cases you’ll find that candidates who’ve gone through the recruitment process at large organisations have even shared what they’ve learnt on job seeking forums and LinkedIn.

  5. Practice, practice, practice. Ask a trusted friend, mentor or family member to test you on some mock interview questions. Tell them to go over your CV to identify the areas that might come up during the interview, and to ask you about your strengths, weaknesses and your plans for the future. Practice speaking about your achievements, particularly how you hit specific results.

  6. Aim to arrive 30 minutes before the interview. Sit in the lobby, or grab a coffee at a nearby cafe. This 30-minute buffer will help protect you against transport delays or other problems. It’ll also allow you to relax and reflect before walking in.

  7. Walk in confidently and watch your body language. Smile and offer a strong handshake. Thank your interviewers for the opportunity. Avoid fidgeting. Get comfortable in your seat, sit up straight and make plenty of eye contact.

  8. Remember, to be interesting you should be interested. You’ve done your homework on the company, and you should have some questions prepared. Aim to be interested during the interview: pose intelligent questions, remain enthusiastic and ask about what projects some of the current graduates are working on.

  9. Market yourself. You’ve made it from the application process to the interview process, and you don’t want to miss the opportunity to sell what you can offer the organisation. You may not have the experience, but you have got a unique set of skills and strengths that can generate significant value. Know how to speak about your key achievements, and confidently articulate exactly how you managed to generate the results you did.

  10. Offer a strong final statement (and follow up). First impressions are significant, but last impressions linger. Thank your interviewer and offer a final statement on why you want to work for the organisation and what you believe you can achieve there. Be enthusiastic and excited, but genuine and honest. Follow up within 24 hours with a thank you email, reiterating that you’re excited to be pursuing the opportunity.

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