How New Graduates Should Prepare for Interviews
Interview preparation is always important. The more you practice interview questions, research the company, and learn as much as you can about the position, the more prepared you are to interview with potential employers.
Interview preparation is vital for recent graduates. It is the tool you use to get ahead. Employers have low expectations when interviewing for entry level jobs, because more often than not the applicant pool is filled with young men and women who have not had interview or work experience.
That is why you NEED to prepare for your interview. When you show up prepared for an interview, you will easily stand out from your competition and show employers that you are the best candidate for the position.
Research, Research, Research
Learn as much as you can about the company. Study them from top to bottom, paying special attention to where your role fits within the company and how you can contribute to the role and to the company. The more you know about the company, the more you will stand out in your commitment compared with other candidates who fail to research the company.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice answering common entry level interview questions to the best of your ability. Keep practicing until you have every answer memorized. Pay close attention to how well you follow general interview answer tips, including:
- Remaining Positive – Do not complain about school, work, family, traffic, or anything.
- Showing Commitment – Never imply that the company is only a temporary job for you.
- Highlighting Your Benefits – Make sure that you are consistently discussing the reasons that you are a great fit for the role. Tout what you have accomplished in every answer.
Another tool you can use as a graduate is providing documents that highlight your skills. For example, if you are applying to an entry level marketing position, and you created a marketing proposal in one of your classes, bring the proposal with you to show the employer your abilities. A few notes:
- DO NOT hand over class papers with no relevancy to the position.
- DO NOT show papers that have grades written on them.
- DO NOT show employers papers that do not resemble exactly what your final work product will look like (e.g. if the paper has your name, the class, and the teacher in the top left corner, these need to be removed).
If you have documents that are exact copies of the types of documents you will be creating in the workplace, and additional copies of your resume and letters of recommendation, all of these documents will help you appear more professional.
Create Questions to Ask the Interviewer
Your employer is not that interested in your GPA. Your employer is far more interested in how intelligent you appear in conversation. One of the best ways to show that you are both intelligent and a good learner is by asking great questions to your employer. Good questions also show commitment to the company and a willingness to grow. Sample questions include:
- Does your company have any programs designed to encourage positional growth?
- How would you describe the culture of the office?
- Does the company offer any additional training to its employees beyond the skills needed for the job?
Graduates have their youth and their education on their side. All that remains is showing the employer that you will be able to translate the education into action. Preparation for your job interview is the best way for recent graduates to make that impression.