Interview Tips for the New Graduate
For the new graduate, a job interview is a tricky business. With the number of college graduates increasing every year, your chance of making an imprint as a new graduate diminishes. It can be stressful when you want to get your chosen career off to a good start. There’s so much at stake and it’s only natural that you want to be prepared.
To convince the hiring manager that you’re the one for the job, you have to show that you can meet the requirements and that you can do it better than everybody else. So how do you do that? Here are some tips to remember so you can impress your interviewer, even if you lack the professional experience that your competition may have.
1. Know the company. If you thought the word homework would be deleted from your vocabulary after you graduate, think again. Doing your homework and researching about the company prior to the interview is a must. Showcase that knowledge during the interview by formulating intelligent questions to ask the interviewer when it’s your turn to ask questions. This will increase your credibility in the eyes of the interviewer.
2. Dress and act like a pro. Remember that it’s an interview, not a fashion show, so dress appropriately. Wear a suit if you have one (and if the corporate culture of the company demands it…otherwise, dress down without looking too casual…this is where doing your homework helps!). Walking in there with a professional attitude says you may be less experienced, but you have what it takes to make it. Show confidence with a smile, eye contact and a firm handshake. Being on time is a sign of professionalism so don’t be late. Answer questions concisely and avoid irrelevant replies accompanied by too much laughing. You want to show the interviewer that you are a competent adult, so be one.
3. Emphasize your coursework. Even if it seems that most of your classes have little relevance to the real world, there must be something you’ve learned that you can benefit from apply on the job. Talk about your team projects, creative papers and your study skills. The knowledge and experiences you gained from them indicate your discipline and your ability to learn and perform, which are qualities that impress most employers.
4. Focus on your experience and make it matter. You probably have had part-time and volunteer work experience, too. Don’t belittle your scant experience or think it makes you a less desired employee. Potential employers look for: initiative, reliability, teamwork, competence and above all commitment. Talk about those experiences and make them count.
5. Show your interest and ask questions. The interview is not only a venue for you to sell yourself but also to find out all you can about the company and the position you’re interested in. This where your research and preparation finally pays off. Make sure you have one or two well-crafted, well-informed (yes, intelligent) questions that will make the interviewer remember you. Topics that may suggest genuine interest include: responsibilities, training, career progression and so on. Just a reminder: don’t ever mention salary at this point.
As a new graduate entering the workforce, you probably feel hampered by some significant disadvantages. But by displaying a positive attitude, competence and professional quality to a well-prepared interview, you can downplay your inexperience. You just have to convince the hiring manager that you are what they need.
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