5 Interview Tips for Graduates
If you’re reading this, you’ve officially joined the job hunt. You’ve no doubt spent hours crafting the perfect CV, days looking for your dream job role and sent off a load of applications.
You’ve just landed yourself an interview, and congratulations are definitely in order! You have won the first battle… but how will you win the war?
Interviews can be extremely nerve-wracking which is why it’s best to be prepared and make sure you’re ready to perform at your absolute best on the day, so you can impress your potential employer and land yourself a new career. Here at Prime, we specialise in placing graduates in sales and recruitment roles. We give interview preparation to all our candidates, so if there’s one place to go for interview advice it’s definitely here. To get you started, here are 5 PRIME interview tips each from an experienced member of the Prime team.
P – Punctuality/Preparation
This may seem like an obvious one, but you need to be on time for your interview and be prepared. As well as this, a less obvious piece of advice would also be to not turn up too early. Some employees can often be irritated by an interviewee turning up too early. It can actually demonstrate poor timekeeping to some, which is a trait you don’t want to be associated with. Additionally, it’s also a good idea to prepare your answers in advance to a certain extent. Whilst it may be difficult to predict what you’ll be asked, it won’t do any damage if you just take a few minutes to think about your strengths and weaknesses and go over exactly why you’re right for and passionate about the role you applied for.
Cecile is one of Prime’s Sales Resourcers and gives candidates interview prep on a weekly basis. Her advice… ‘the more prepared you are, the more relaxed you’ll feel meaning you will come across more natural in the interview.’ A good rule of thumb is to arrive 15 minutes early. This not only gives you extra time to prepare for your interview and go over your notes but also gives you a chance to relax and gather your thoughts before the interview begins. Also make sure to bring extra copies of your CV/Resume, make sure your phone is switched off and bring any additional portfolio work you have done that may be relevant during the interview. On top of this make sure you dress to impress; all the classic rules apply. Dress smart: nice shoes, shirt tucked in and make sure all your clothes are ironed. Doing this means you’ll be doing yourself a massive favour as you will already look professional to the employer before the interview even begins.
R – Research
Going back to the metaphor used at the start of this article, if a job hunt is a war, company research is your ammo going in. Doing research for an interview is a MUST! You’d be surprised how many graduates go into an interview without conducting proper research on the company and role they are interviewing for. You need to think to yourself, if you don’t have any knowledge of the company/role you’ve applied for, why are you going to the interview, to begin with?
On top of this, doing the research on the company and role means you’ll be ready for anything the interviewer throws at you, and it, therefore, gives you a chance to demonstrate your interest in the role by showing you are willing to go that extra mile. Also, thanks to the internet, finding information is easy enough! The team manager at Prime Christina, advises all her candidates to conduct research before an interview saying the best place to look is, the company website, LinkedIn and all other social media. She also advises using the research to prepare some questions for your interview. Look at the company history as well as how the business is run. This will impress the interviewer and give you a chance to learn more about the company.
I – Insightful questions
Chris at Prime is famously known for constantly talking in the office, normally about himself, and while he may get grief for this at work, it makes for great interview advice. Chris says, ‘in an interview always make sure to ask the interviewer insightful questions and get them talking about themselves.’
At the end of the interview, you’ll normally be asked if you have any questions. Make sure the answer is always ‘yes’. You could ask what the work environment is like, what recent success the company has had? You could even ask the interviewer what they like about working for the company. All these questions can make you stand out amongst other candidates, showing that you have the confidence to take the lead of the conversation and give you a chance to genuinely go into more detail about the company, role and people who work there.
M – Make a good impression
The first thing you want to do is walk into the room and lick the interviewer’s face… of course, I’m joking, definitely do not do that. One thing you should do though is making a good lasting impression, build a rapport with the interviewer: tell a story, make a joke! Employers base a lot of their decision making on whether they like a candidate and can see them fitting into the company culture, so don’t be afraid to show off some personality.
Someone who agrees that this is a must for an interview is Nick Gandhi who is one of Prime’s senior sales recruiters. Over time Nick has placed tons of candidates in successful roles and says body language is key in making a good impression. ‘Most hiring managers make their initial decision about a candidate in the first 5 minutes of the interview. Looking the part is essential and without good body language, i.e. if you look uninterested or bored, you may as well not bother turning up to the interview.’ Make sure to keep good eye contact, a good posture and nod to show you’re listening to what they’re saying. DO NOT have chewing gum in the interview or slouch and fidget! Be aware of how you answer questions too: look confident, sound upbeat and friendly, and remember building a good relationship with the interviewer will significantly increase your chances of getting the role.
E – Examples
Finally, it’s essential that you use clear and relevant examples during your interview. Competency-based questions are common in most interviews, so a smart idea would be to think of some examples where you have demonstrated desirable qualities that an employer would look for. Sam, who is one of Prime’s sales recruiters says some potential questions to be prepared for are ‘think of a time when you demonstrated: leadership skills, sales skills, people skills. A time when you have taken control of a situation.’ Variations of these questions will likely come up and employers are looking for clear examples which will back up your points, thus helping you sell yourself even more.
And there we have it. 5 PRIME interview tips from 5 of Prime’s most successful employees. Follow all these steps and it won’t be long until you’re earning away in your new role. All of us at Prime wish you all the best in your job hunt, now go out there and smash it!
Was this article helpful? Prime specialise in graduate recruitment and have a market-leading success rate, so if you’re looking for a career in sales and recruitment we can help you even further with your job hunt. How? Well take a look at our website or contact a member of our team on LinkedIn and see for yourself. This could be the first step to your future career, make it happen…