How to ace your graduate job interview

If you are coming to the end of your university degree and the next step is finding a job then you are in the right place! The application process for a graduate job can be quite stressful at times… believe me I know. If you manage to make it far enough and get to the interview stage, then congratulations. Even getting to the interview stage is a big accomplishment. But there are a few simple steps you can follow to ace your job interview and get the role.

I have included lots of little tips to help with the preparation process for your interview.

Prepare interview questions and answers

When you have secured your interview, the next step is to start thinking about the types of questions you may get asked and to come up with some answers.

TIP: Go onto Glassdoor and search what people have to say about the interview process and see if they mentioned any questions they were asked. This might be a big help when it comes down to looking at the type of questions you need to practice.

Types of questions:

There are different types of questions that you could get asked in an interview, so it is important to come up with answers to all types.

About you/ about your CV questions

Your interview will mostly start off with questions about you. They will want to know your current situation. Sometimes they will start by asking questions about your CV by looking at your work experience or your hobbies for example.

TIP: If an interviewer asks you to tell them about yourself, when you end your answer, sum it up with three words that you think describe you.

Competency based questions

Competency based questions are questions that get you to explain how you have used a certain skill before. This would include questions like:

  1. Can you share a time when you worked as a team?
  2. When have you gone above and beyond of what was expected from you?
  3. Have you ever led a team?

It is recommended to use the STAR technique for these types of questions. This means describe the situation, explain the task you were given to complete, then let them know the actions you took (explaining the skill asked about), finally talk about the response.

Try and think of situations in the work place or at university where you can explain how you used these skills.

Company based questions

The next set of questions will usually be about your knowledge on the company, the job role and why you want to work there.

So come up with a few answers on why you think you would fit in the role well and into the company. A good place to start is with the job description and by looking at the company values. Make sure to mention these in your interview!

Get a better understanding of what the company does and what they offer along with the type of work you would be doing.

Research based questions

In some industries, you might get asked about your external knowledge about the industry. For example, if you are going for a business role, you might get asked about if you know of any recent events that have occurred that would affect the business.

Outside the box questions

There may be the occasional out of the box questions. It is hard to prepare for these kinds of questions but just knowing that they can crop up will be helpful. These questions might include things like:

  1. What type of animal would you be and why?
  2. What type of drink would you be and why?
  3. What is your favourite film?
  4. What is your favourite movie?

Practise practise practise

When you have come up with answers to the questions, make sure you write down all your answers. This will help you when it comes to practising.

Practise by reading through your answers and doing questions and answers with your friends or family.

Come up with your own questions to ask

At the end of your interview there will be a chance for you to ask your own questions. This is important as it shows that you want to get to know more about what is expected of you. A good thing to ask about is any of the challenges the company faces and whether your role could help with this.

Plan your outfit

The night before, the good thing to do is set out your outfit and pack your bag. This means you will not have to think about anything in the morning and you can focus on answering your questions.

Stay calm and confident

When you get to the interview there are a few things you need to think about. Make sure you stay calm and confident. Take some water with you, if you get nervous then take a few sips to calm down.

The best thing to do is to walk into the interview with a smile on your face, shake your interviewer’s hand and be yourself.

Try and get to know the way the interview is going and understand your interviewers a bit more. This way, you can try and relate to them a bit easier. A little bit of humour can also be great in an interview. But of course, don’t overdo it. Just try and show you as a person.

Final Thoughts

The concept of an interview can be a super scary thing, especially if you are going for your dream job. But if you follow these simple steps around a week before your interview then you will be feeling more than ready to give it your all and get the role!

Try and see if your family and friends have any tips for interviews. maybe they have some tips on ho they got into the job role they are in now!

If things don’t go your way, then don’t worry! It just wasn’t meant to be. But this doesn’t mean you can’t keep trying and find an even better role. So happy interviewing and good luck!