Graduate Interviews on the Horizon? Here’s What to do!

Elizabeth Whittingham·16 May 2018·6 min read
Graduate Interviews on the Horizon? Here’s What to do!

Here are some top tips on how to deal with interviews so that you will be able to cope with anything that is thrown at you on the day.

Identify the type of interview that you are going to face

It’s really important to identify the type of interview that you are going to face on the day, as the process can take a variety of forms.

If you are expecting a phone interview, make sure that you are completely free within the allotted time slot you have been given, you don’t want to answer the phone on a busy, noisy bus, or have to be excused from a university lecture.

It’s best to be at home, with your phone next to you on as loud as it can go, therefore you will be prepared to answer when they call.

Phone call interviews usually take place at the start of the interview process to check whether a person is right for the role, so you want to make sure that you make an impact.

Instead of a phone call interview, you might be expecting a face to face interview with one member of the company. These usually take place further into the interview process so it’s important to know that you are progressing towards your chosen job.

It’s always important to double check what the dress code for the office is- although if in doubt it’s always best to dress smartly. Arrive in good time for your interview and make sure that you remain polite, maintain eye contact and that you come across as professional.

Finally, you may experience a panel interview, which basically consists of a group of people interviewing you at the same time. These can be quite daunting as they do involve a lot of people looking your way. As panel interviews can be a bit of a shock on the day, it’s always best to contact your interviewer to check with them whether you will be facing one.

Research the company extensively

It’s always a good sign for any employer to know that their candidate has an informed and extensive knowledge of their company.

Educate yourself on what exactly your possible future employers do, as well as double checking what your specific role will be in the company. Make sure to understand the company’s ethics, values and what they hold important. Understand what the job role expects of you and endeavour to make it clear to your interviewer that you are the right person for the position.

Employers tend to take it as a compliment that you know a good amount about their company.

Be complimentary and polite

It’s okay to be completely freaking out on the inside, just make sure that on the outside you are polite and collected.

There are lots of calming exercises that you can do before the day to stay calm. Have a good meal so that you’re not distracted by hunger pangs half-way through; have a good sleep the night before so that you’re not dozing off or easily distracted by the process and give yourself plenty of time beforehand to get ready and to travel to the destination.

Job interviews tend to be in locations that you previously haven’t been to before- so it’s always best to double check where you are off to.

Plan your day around your interview

Plan your day entirely around your interview. Try not to double book the day, you don’t want your interviewer to sense that you have somewhere pressing to be afterward.

Alongside freeing up your day of other commitments, make sure that everything is in place for the actual interview. Purchase any travel tickets in advance, lay out your outfit, know exactly what type of interview you will be facing and organise your CV or any other documents that you will be taking with you. Try to completely clear your mind.

Make sure that you are in control

Remind yourself that you are completely in control during the interview. It’s really natural to be nervous but make sure that this doesn’t inhibit any of your answers, or cause you to speak quickly before thinking.

Remember that it’s completely fine to have a pause and a think before you talk. If you would like prompts, then it’s always handy to bring in a copy of your CV, your interviewer will most likely be using this for questions so there is no reason why you shouldn’t also.

Try to always stay professional (you can relax when you leave)

Try to maintain a professional air at all times. Although it can be tempting to run from the building after a bad interview or to skip joyously out, telling everyone the news as you go after a good one, it’s important to stay calm and collected until you have left.

Likewise, if you are shown around the workplace afterward for a quiet chat with your future workmates, remember that this could still be part of the interview process, so do not say anything that you wouldn’t normally say in an interview type setting.

If you need to let off some steam just make sure you’re a good distance away from the interview room…

Remember that you can always learn from the experience

Whether your interview is successful or not, spend some time afterward thinking about how it went and what you can learn from the experience overall.

Getting feedback from unsuccessful interviews, although hard to hear sometimes, can actually be really beneficial and many employees appreciate the handy tips for next time.

Don’t be too disheartened if the feedback is quite general, you could always ask afterward: ‘Would it be possible for you to please give me any tips for improvement?’ which is usually a question that many interviewers are happy to answer.