GAP’s Guide to… Acing the Interview!
Want to feel confident in your interview? We have one word for you that will solve all of your worries – Preparation. Here are 7 crucial pointers to put you on the path to interview preparation success!
Do Your Research
Learn who the company are, what product, service or function they provide and how they go about it. Use their website and social media pages as revision materials, and don’t forget that Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin can be a great indicator of the company’s brand and how they are interacting with customers. It may also be useful to make yourself aware of the company’s direct competitors and of the wider market they operate in!
Don’t Ignore the Job Description
The job description and person specification provides a template for the company’s ideal employee for that role. It’s okay not to be a perfect fit (employers are likely to over-estimate to ensure a good standard of applicants!), but a good place to start is a brain storming activity to match their required skills and qualities to what you can offer! This could be anything from soft skills and brief past experiences, to technical skills and personal strengths.
Embrace the Presentation!
If you face the daunting task of preparing a presentation, practise presenting it to your friends and family, and ask them to be critical! Make sure you have printed copies to take with you and save it to your memory stick if you are presenting digitally. In a presentation situation you will usually have a certain amount of time to deliver it so try not to go beyond that time frame; they may be assessing you on time management skills and delivering under pressure!
Practice Makes Perfect
Practise some interview questions in the run up to the big day, both generic and the industry or role-specific questions that you anticipate being asked. Generic questions may include, ‘What qualities can you bring to this role’, ‘Can you give one example of where you have solved a problem that has arisen’ and ‘How would you develop this role further’. For more specific questions, write a list of core topics and issues within your chosen industry or specific to that role – this will make it much easier to come up with potential interview topics!
Seek Out Insider Knowledge
Utilise your contacts, whether that be someone who already works within the industry or a former Tutor or Lecturer, those on the inside may give up some of their time to coach you on potential interview questions. If you don’t have access to this, It may also be useful to have a conversation with someone who works in a similar environment to discover which transferable skills you could bring to the table.
There is no point preparing your mind, without preparing the rest of you! This begins with your appearance, which should be tidy, professional and non-distracting, and your manner, which should be confident, pleasant and again, non-distracting (specifically you, nail-biters!). Arrive in plenty of time too. There is nothing like a good first impression, and if you ARE running late, ring ahead and brief them on the situation. From here on, just do what your mother always told you; sit up straight, speak clearly and switch off your mobile phone!
And Finally, Don’t Forget to Bring Your Personality!
The one thing that will make you stand out from a very large crowd of graduates is your personality. Whilst the employers are looking for those vital skills and assets, they are also looking to hire someone they can have a productive conversation with, that will bring something positive to the work environment, and someone that will ultimately impress and attract stakeholders, clients and customers to their company. There’s nothing wrong with injecting a bit of personality into your interview or presentation, but be careful of overdoing it; sharing your embarrassing office Christmas party stories might be one step too far!
Are you a graduate, and would like to learn more about how to make the leap from university to employability? The Graduate Accelerator Programme could be for you! Visit the Contact page of this website to get in touch and find out more.