Attending an interview is always nerve-wracking, it doesn’t matter if it’s your very first one or hundredth. This might be one of your first interviews since graduating, which means you want to highlight what you’ve learnt and developed while studying for your degree.
Here are our top tips to prepare for your interview:
- Research the company again
You probably researched the company you’re interviewing at when you initially applied, but don’t let that stop you from doing it again. They may have updated their website or launched a new campaign/project since then. Looking at their social media again is also a great way to keep an eye on their activity and if there is anything new that would make a good talking point.
- Consider answering different types of questions
If you haven’t attended an interview before, the different styles of questions will be new to you. Questions could include ones about your CV and your career goals, there could be competency questions that want to understand examples of how you have used a skill before, or there might be hypothetical questions such as ‘How would you react if a client requested X?’ We recommend that you take some time to research these different styles of questions, think about which ones are most likely to come up for the role you’re applying for, and consider your answers.
- Practice questions with a friend
You may have considered how you’re going to answer and also thought about what you should avoid doing during an interview, but it’s another thing to answer out loud to another person. Bribe a friend with a takeaway and ask them to interview you so you can practice talking on the spot and getting feedback and advice from someone you know who will be honest with you.
This is also a good opportunity to practise being as clear as possible. Although the interviewer has read your CV, it’s always good to touch on points that are important to you, such as why you chose to study that degree and clear about what you want from your first graduate job.
If you can’t rope a friend into practising with you in time, your university should have a Careers department that offer mock interviews. It’s worth getting in touch with them to see if they can arrange this for you.
- Highlight your transferable skills
Don’t worry if you haven’t had a job before or if you are applying for a job that isn’t directly related to your degree. Gaining a degree has meant you have used plenty of transferable skills that you can apply to any role. These are skills that are vital to working effectively in an organisation and are ones that you want to highlight to show how you will be an asset to the business. Examples of transferable skills you have developed during your degree could include:
- Attention to detail
- Analytical skills
- Problem solving
- Report writing
- Collaborating effectively in a team
- Listening skills
- Communication skills
- Keep your cool
It’s natural to be nervous but don’t let it overwhelm you. If you already have something that you do that calms your nervous such as calming playlist or breathing techniques, then use them or find something that helps you to relax before the interview.
During the interview, although you might feel nervous, try not to show it. Take deep breaths and remember that there’s no rush to answer. You can pause between sentences or ask the interviewer to repeat the question or expand on what they mean if you want to give yourself a bit more time to think about your answer.
- Prepare your questions to ask them
It is a given that the interviewer will ask you whether you have any questions for them. Even if they have answered all your questions, it always makes a good impression if you have thought of additional ones so that they know you are genuinely interested in the role and business. Some questions to consider could be:
- What a typical day is like in the role?
- What’s their vision for the company over the next few years?
- What’s the most enjoyable aspect of their job?
- Is there a Personal Development Plan and if so, how often is it reviewed?
- What opportunities are there to develop your skill set?
- Plan the day
What are you going to wear? What will you have for breakfast? How will you get to the interview? What will you take with you? What is most likely to delay you? What is the name of the person you’re seeing? There are so many things to consider that you don’t want to leave until the day of the interview. Run through everything that you need to do to get ready on the day and prepare as much as you can the day before.
If you’re still feeling apprehensive, just remind yourself that it is just a conversation between you and the employer and it is also an opportunity for you to find out if the organisation is somewhere you want to work too.
Don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back once it’s done – whether you get the job or not, you’re one step closer to finding your first graduate job.