Top 5 Interview Tips for Graduates #interviewtips #graduatejobs

on 02 June 2017
The Applause IT family on graduation day

Graduating this summer? We want to send huge congratulations to everyone donning their graduation gowns. For all the highs and lows of university life and the stress of exams- you did it! You’ve graduated!

We’re sure you’re getting advice from all sides on how to take your next steps, but we all know you are the only person who can decide where and how you want to work and what skills you want to use, progress and learn.

As a recruitment agency with years of consulting experience, and as a graduate employer training graduates to become specialist IT recruitment consultants, we wanted to pass on a few tips we’ve picked up over the years on landing a job. As you can see from our Applause family collage- we were graduates once! 

1. Take time to set out a clear vision of what you want

This may not be specific to a certain role, but it should at least be pinned down to a specific industry or common aim. When an interviewee says they’ve applied to a number of different roles and industries, it can read ‘noncommittal’ and ‘indifferent’, rather than the ‘open’ and ‘enthusiastic’ response you were hoping for.  Be smart when disclosing where you are interviewing to showcase your drive and commitment and preface any seemingly disparate roles with the clear vision of what you want and what you are looking for.

2. Curiosity never kills the interview

Perhaps you find yourself interviewing for a role which seemingly matches your vision, your skills and your experience- how do you know it’s the right role for you? Rather than mulling it over post-interview with hypotheticals, use the pre-interview time to research everything you can about the interviewer and the company so that you can use the interview time to gather information that will better inform your decision. LinkedIn is your under-utilised secret weapon, use it to research others at the company and especially your interviewer and company directors. This can help to inform more specific questions which might arise such as a change of discipline from university to work as well as more general questions: ‘what attracted you to the role?’, ‘what got you into the industry?’ and ‘why did you choose this company?’ which will offer you a valuable insight into whether the role is right for you and will always impress the interviewer.

3. Be forward-focused

Hiring can be costly for companies, even if the company has an internal recruitment team, you will still most likely be interviewed by those who you will be working with directly and often by the most senior people of that team. Their time is valuable and attending interviews is probably not their favourite task. This isn’t to say that you should apologise for being there, or be disheartened, they need a new member of their team and this is a necessary part of that process, but be mindful that you do not want your interviewer to be thinking “how long are they going to be here?” or “how long till we go through this process again?” during an interview. If you leave 3, 6, 9 months down the line, then their investment in recruitment and training costs (both time and money) is diminished. Showcasing your longevity and your commitment doesn’t only show loyalty but also makes sound financial sense for the business.  Listing off the ways in which this role is a stepping stone to help you develop skills for another role or industry will not get you far. Be smart with your answers and mindful of the recruitment process.

4. The devil is in the detail

1) Be on-time, 2) Give a firm handshake, 3) Know your interviewers name and the job description you are applying for like the back of your hand 4) Not all companies will require the suit and tie treatment for an interview (you can clarify the dress code beforehand with whoever is arranging the interview) but always be presentable and professional in fresh, clean and modest clothes even in more casual working environments. 5) Smile, listen and have positive, engaged body language! It may sound simple, but you’ll be surprised how often small missteps on basic etiquette can influence hiring decisions. 6) Install Grammarly! Even the most competent in the English language can slip up in email correspondence, covering letters and CVs, don’t let it distract from your hard work and proofread everything!

5. Interviewing is a skill to learn!

Don’t worry if you’re nervous, to begin with. After time, you will gain confidence and be able to talk about your skills, what you have to offer and what you want with more finesse. Take a look at the job description and think of the kinds of questions that you would ask someone in your position, then go through how you would answer them. Even breaking it down on paper to get ideas together can help. Interviewing is a skill which we can all improve on with practice, so don’t forget to ask the recruiter or whoever is handling the interview to pin down tangible advice and feedback to help you in the future. Be kind to yourself and enjoy the process as much as you can- every interview will teach you something along the way!

For all of those graduating this year, we wish you all the best in finding a career which suits you and your career aspirations. Have any questions? Give us a call and check out our latest graduate-level vacancies.

Thinking of a career in recruitment? Talk to our in-house training consultant Yasmin [at] applauseit.co.uk



Share