3 months ago by Lewis Manners

How to ace your graduate interview

Interview Pic 3

Did you know that on average graduates apply for 29 graduate schemes during their final year of university? Which is no surprise as the pressure of finding a job straight after university is immense.

In the last 2 years, the application process for graduate roles has become more complex and rigorous, as employers attempt to recruit the best possible candidates. The main reason for this is because there are too many graduates chasing too few jobs, and this imbalance is likely to continue worsening. You can now expect to go through at least a 3-stage interview process after applying for a graduate role. What can you do to stand out and make a great first impression?

Preparation- Whether you are preparing for a face-to-face or a telephone interview, it’s important to prepare answers to common interview questions such as:

“Tell me about yourself”

“What is it about this role that made you apply?”

“What are your strengths and weaknesses?” 

“What are your career goals for the next 5 years?”

“What do you know about our business? “ 

​​Questions like these are almost guaranteed to come up so it’s important to be as prepared as possible. It’s important that you take the time to research the company, look at their website and social media to understand their missions, goals and culture. It’s vital that you do this research prior to your interview so you can demonstrate your interest in the role and the company, and it also allows you to determine whether the company is the right fit for you.  

While this point may seem obvious, if the interview is face to face, ensure you have directions to the site and leave yourself plenty of time to get there (there’s nothing worse than arriving late) or, if it is virtual interview, ensure your mic and camera are working and the correct video software is downloaded onto your computer. 

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Now you have prepared for your interview, how do you ace it on the day? Arrive in good time and dress appropriately (many companies now have a more relaxed dress code after lockdowns and working at home so I would recommend you check with the interviewer first on what is expected), display positive body language, (like a firm handshake – again could be a change in expectation after covid – need to try read the room and mirror behaviour – not everyone might be comfortable with a handshake even now!) and maintain eye contact. Did you know, up to 93% of human communication is conveyed via body language and your tone of voice.

​​At the end of the interview ask relevant questions about the company and the role:

“Do you offer any training? If so, what is it?

“What career progression opportunities could there be?

“What do you personally like most about working for this organisation?” 

“How would you describe your company culture?” 

“What are the biggest challenges the company is facing right now?” 

“Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of the role?” 

Remember to thank the interviewer for their time and it’s also good practice to follow up with an email restating your gratitude for the interviewer’s time, expressing your enthusiasm for the role, and asking for any feedback/updates.

This is just a short guide to help you prepare for your graduate interviews and to help boost your confidence and knowledge which will hopefully land you the job!

At Cherry Professional, we aim to provide everything you need to succeed, helping you with every aspect of securing your next role and developing your career, so register with us today!

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