You’ve just picked up a voice message saying you’ve been called for an interview. They haven’t given you much notice and you’ve got dissertations, coursework and lectures to juggle, not even mentioning a whole load of psychometric tests that are piling up; so how do you prepare yourself. The good news is your CV has passed the test, so don’t panic, here’s some quick tips to help you prepare.
Recruiters Have One Task – To Find the Right Person for the Job. Yours is to make sure that person’s you!
Recruiters are judged on how efficient and effective they are at finding the right graduates to fill the job. You’ve made the first cull, now you need to be aware that first impressions count, last impressions last! and you’ll need to convince them that you’d fit into their team.
Not everybody asks skills-based questions, but if they do remember to the STAR based structure when you are replying
- This is the Situation
- These are the Tasks I need to complete
- These are the Actions I would take
- and this is the expected Result.
Employers want reliable, committed and competent employees that fit in with their existing team and ethos and are easy to manage. Recruiters hire people they like – so make sure you leave them with a positive lasting impression by following these easy steps.
- Be prepared to talk about some recent event or deal and how that is likely to affect both the firm and the industry as a whole
- Go over you’re CV and be prepared to answer any questions in relation to it
- Know what the company does and how it’s graduate scheme operates
- Know what the job description asks for
- Know which of your skills makes you the right person to fulfil their remit
- Have your own questions ready to ask
To make life easier create your own cheat sheet:
A current news story I’ve found interesting is ______________________________________________________
The reason it drew my attention was ____________________________________________________________
It’s potential impact is _______________________________________________________________________
The company’s graduate scheme offers (training support, rotation, opportunity to work abroad, an average APC pass rate of … etc.) ________________________________________________________________________________
The company operates in the following markets/sectors _____________________________________________________
They pride themselves on the following company ethos ______________________________________________
They are (new to the industry, established in the industry, largest privately owned etc.) ______________________
Their major clients/service providers are ________________________________________________________
Their major competitors are _________________________________________________________________
Recently, the company did ___________________________________________________________________
Next you need to make sure that you understand the job description inside out and refer to it in the interview. That way you can show you’re engaged and interested. Don’t be one of those interviewees that just sit there waiting for the next question. You are the best person for the job, so fill out the next section and you’ll be able to tell them why.
The Job Title is ____________________________________________________________________________________
They need someone who can (summarise from the job description) _____________________________________
These experiences ________________________________________________________________________
make me the best person for the job because ___________________________________________________
Think about what is it you understand and do better than the other candidates? Think of the jobs and roles you’ve had and relate back to them. The more you talk (within reason – don’t waffle) the less time they have to ask you awkward questions. You’re looking for examples of the times you’ve fulfilled the skills require in the job advertised. You’re applying for entry level jobs so nobody is expecting you to have exact role comparables, but if team work’s required and you’ve played team sports, joined a society or taken part in the amateur dramatics’ group mention it, the same applies to any work experience regardless of whether it’s industry specific.
Finally, you should ask questions before you leave but make sure the answer isn’t on their graduate recruitment website. Here are a few examples of questions you could ask:
1. What would you expect the successful graduate to deliver in the first 3 months in the job?
Three months is generally the length of time it takes anyone (from CEO to graduate) to make an impact. If you can get this question in early, you’ll be able to gear your answers effectively.
2. How is performance measured and reviewed?
This shows that you appreciate the importance of reaching targets and delivering results. You will be seen as someone who understands the value of commitment, reliability and returns.
3. Do you have any doubts about whether I am suitable for this position?
This is a brave question but shows you are open to constructive criticism and willing to learn. It also gives you a chance to address any weaknesses the interviewee may think you have.
4. When should I expect to hear from you?
A good way to close the interview. Thank them for their time, tell them that you think the job sounds great and that you look forward to hearing from them.
Finally, take your cheat sheet with you and arrive early so you can refresh your memory and not be late for your interview.