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Although formal education is generally understood as training and skill-building for future careers, it is also a treasure trove of experience for post-graduate interviews. The general college curriculum develops students’ ability to interact with colleagues, improve their language proficiency, develop their research skills, and many others. If used correctly, those skills will be enough to get graduates through their first bout of entry-level interviews.
Before you show up for your first interview, you have to prepare yourself for any possible scenario. You can’t just show up and be grateful for a chance to sit with the hiring managers. You have to be prepared enough to make a mark and get called in for the next phase of your interview.
Preparations for Post-Graduate Job Interviews
There are several things that you need to prepare for your first interview. That includes your appearance, your demeanor, your approach to building rapport, and possible answers to standard and random questions. The hiring managers will eventually find out that you are new to the employment process, but a good way to proceed is not to look like a newcomer.
Hiring managers expect you to present yourself in the best light, but they are also preparing to pin down your weaknesses before they decide to hire you. In that case, it is best for you to prepare for any eventuality by doing proper research and practicing your interview skills before showing up on the day itself. How, you ask? Here are some tips from career experts from universities and companies.
Decide what to wear for your interview
Some companies prefer to dress in corporate-casual attire, while others are more formal. In any case, you must present yourself in proper interview attire. This includes collared button-downs, closed shoes, pressed pants or skirts, etc. If the company is more formal, make sure that you bring a suit-jacket. It also helps to check the company’s website and emulate the image of their current employees.
Practice how you want to look and sound like
Wear your interview clothes and practice speaking to yourself in front of the mirror. Notice the things you do that may look disagreeable to recruiters, such as poor posture, grim demeanor, lack of confidence, etc. If you notice any of these, comport yourself in a way that makes you look and act like a stellar employee. As for your voice, practice different tones until you feel comfortable and sound more confident. Speak clearly, but do not shout. Use a low tone of voice, but do not whisper. In order to judge how well you are doing, repeat this process several times.
Practice possible answers to common questions
It is not always practical to give cookie-cutter answers like, “My greatest weakness is that I am a perfectionist.” Instead, you should consider the rough outline of questions that interviewers usually ask. Write down your possible answers and choose which ones are the most effective. If you are not satisfied with what you wrote, edit and rewrite your answers until you think of the most effective option.
Find someone that can help you stage a mock interview
Aside from practicing in front of a mirror, it also helps to stage a mock interview with an actual person. This will help you express your answers to an audience, who can give you feedback after your practice session. University careers services also offer mock interviews for students, who need advice from people who know more about the employment process.
Research the companies you applied to
Most recruiters are disappointed at applicants who know nothing about the company they are applying to. It shows the applicant’s lack of organization, which translates into a lack of genuine interest in the company. This is the ideal time to use the research skills you learned in college. Learn more about the company you want to work at and take note of important details, like how the company has developed since its establishment, how their products and services have evolved, who their competitors are, and what they are planning in the future. If the opportunity presents itself, use this knowledge to provide better answers to the recruiters’ questions.
Re-read your application, CV, and the company’s job description
Take note of the skills and experience you have that will resonate with the company you want to work at. Identify the parts of your CV that matches the qualifications needed for the position you are applying for. Use this information to show your future employer that your contribution to the company will help them achieve their goals.
List down your achievements and prior work experience and reflect on certain situations that you can share during your interview
It is possible that the recruiters will ask you to give specific examples of instances when you applied your skills in a practical setting. It helps to prepare a list of events that demonstrate different skills like problem-solving, initiative, creativity, leadership, etc., in order to answer any possible questions about your ability to perform the job you are applying for. You may also think of events that can serve as examples for the qualifications of the job description.
Even without any prior experience in job interviews, any fresh graduate can use their existing skills to acquire their dream job. All you have to do is work on your skills and emphasize their value to the company that you are applying to. Even if you make a few mistakes on day one, remember that employers want you for your long-term value and not just your ability to impress them in the hiring room.