Interview Information for Recent Graduates
After college it is time to enter the workforce. Despite your education, you are starting out at a disadvantage – you do not have a great deal of work experience to draw from to demonstrate what you can achieve at the new company, and most likely, you have not had many interview experience.
Luckily you also have a number of advantages. You are:
You are also trained in the most up to date information in your field. Those are tremendous benefits. In addition, employers interviewing recent graduates tend to have lower expectations, and if you can exceed those expectations you have a great chance of beating out your competition.
Review the Basics
It is important that you review and practice basic interview skills including making eye contact, smiling, answering questions in positive and productive ways, projecting your voice, sitting up straight, and other interview tips that are known to be effective regardless of the role you are interviewing for.
Job turnover with younger hires is common and expensive for the company. The company is going to look for people that who are committed to remaining with the organization. If you are not committed you should pretend that you are. It is a bad idea to talk about leaving for graduate school or planning to move or pursue other endeavors. If asked where you plan to be in 5 years, your answer should be staying with the company and working hard to move up to senior roles.
Speak Highly of the Courses You Took
Employers are likely to ask you about your classes. Discuss the ones that you liked, avoid the ones that you didn’t, and certainly highlight all of the upper level classes you took in the field. It is best if you focus on classes with fancy names, so rather than discussing your “Introduction to Statistics” class, you should focus on your “Advanced Metrics in Statistical Design” class.
Ask Yourself – Does the Company Care?
There are aspects of your school history that may seem interesting to friends, family, and even graduate schools. But companies are completely different entities. All they care about is what helps them grow and sustain their business. The company cares about your experience and what you bring to their success.
If you were applying to a job in computer programming and you had the choice between discussing your time as vice president of the multicultural club or a class you took on advanced HTML design, you should discuss the class because being in a club is not as likely to play a part in how well you will succeed in your role in the company, unless you can draw from any leadership skills you’ve gained. Ask yourself if the company cares every time you are asked a question.
Ask Questions Throughout
Finally, it is a good idea to ask questions throughout the interview. Show the employer that you are interested enough in the position to care about how the company works, and make sure that you listen and respond positively to the answers.
If you do all of these things during your interview, you are sure to impress the employer and give yourself a leg up on the competition.