Interview 101: Your guide to nailing your post-grad job interviews
It doesn’t matter how old you are or how many jobs you’ve had, interviews will always be scary. That’s just a fact. But they are even scarier if you’re fresh out of uni and it’s your first time in a situation like this.
That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to make sure you smash your first post-grad job interviews and find yourself that dream role. Let’s get going, shall we?
Introverts vs Extroverts
Historically, the process of face-to-face interviewing has often favoured candidates who were more naturally extroverted, whereas introverts often missed out on roles by seemingly appearing “awkward” or “lacking confidence”.
But in recent times, we are now seeing a huge push on DEI across all industries (hallelujah!), which means more and more people are not only aware, but are actively opening up about their neurodivergence and their ADHD or autistic tendencies.
If this is something you’re nervous about before an interview, communicating this in advance will allow the employer to understand you more deeply and potentially provide accommodations on the day to make you feel more comfortable.
And this isn’t a dig at extroverts, by the way. I know you guys get nervous, too. This is just a tip for our introverts and neurodivergents out there!
If You’re Not Early, You’re Late!
This is an important one. Whether it’s for a face-to-face meeting or a Zoom call, always aim to be at least 5 minutes early. Employers usually have very tightly packed days and you only get one chance to make that crucial first impression. It also means you can prepare and compose yourself for the interview first, rather than turning up last minute with your jumper on backwards, sweating profusely, and covered in coffee.
Naturally, public transport can be delayed and you can’t control the traffic, but if you think you’re going to be late, then contact them and let them know. Trust me, they’ll appreciate it way more than being left hanging.
If, like many of us, you really struggle with timekeeping, set the meeting in your diary 15mins earlier than it actually is. Thank me later.
Knowledge Is Power
Psychometric testing is now a key factor in many businesses’ hiring processes. Despite the scary sounding name, these are actually just tests that assess your abilities, behaviours and personality. This can show a potential employer vital information such as:
- What type of learner you are
- When you work best
- What type of management style you prefer
- How you prefer to communicate
Heading into an interview already knowing this information gives you an instant advantage with employers, as you can be incredibly specific about how you operate and how they can get the best work out of you. That level of self-awareness is incredibly attractive to a business owner, as it makes their job 100x easier.
But hey, if you’re totally new to psychometric testing, do not panic! Simply download the NotACV app where you can complete and see your psychometric profile for FREE.
Be Ready To Get Your Hands Dirty
Many businesses now operate a multi-stage interview process. The first is usually to get an idea of who you are as a person and whether you’d be a good fit for the team. Dependent on the role you are applying for, the next round could well be some form of practical test.
Our advice here is to be over-prepared. Some employers will tell you what this test is well in advance, but some may want to drop it on you at the last possible moment to try and gauge how you perform under pressure. Rude, I know.
This is where you can rope some friends or family members in for some role play. Ask them to grill you with the most difficult and awkward questions they can fathom. It’s completely ok to be uncomfortable and fluff your lines when you’re in a safe space, and when it actually comes down to the genuine test, it won’t be anywhere near as difficult. As the boxers say: Train Hard, Fight Easy.
Let’s Get Quizzical
In almost every interview you have, you’ll be asked “do you have any questions for me?”
This is a big decision for you, so it’s important that you take this chance to ask your potential employer all the important questions that you’d like to know. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- What are the opportunities and criteria for progression within the business?
- Do you partner with any charities or do any community work?
- Where do you see this business in 5 years?
- What is your position on personal branding within the company?
- How often do we have performance reviews?
- What is your stance on flexible/remote working here?
- What DEI processes do you currently have in place?
Nothing is off the table here. Being inquisitive also shows your potential employer that you have a genuine interest in the company, and they will often take pride in showing off all their incredible success stories.
Don’t forget to mentally note down any red flags here, too. You may need them for the next point.
Don’t Show Your Hand Too Soon
When you get that elusive offer, it can be incredibly tempting to silently scream in your mind, snap the interviewer’s hand off, and do a highland jig out of the building screaming “yes, yes, yes” as you realise you’ll finally be able to afford something more substantial that spaghetti hoops on toast next month.
But I need you to stop for a second. If you still have 3 interviews to go that week, you don’t want to cash your chips in too early. Most decent employers will give you deadline to accept their offer. It’s much wiser to wait and see the full lay of the land.
Should it go incredibly well, you might well be sat with 2-4 different offers from different companies, and that’s where it gets interesting. Because that’s when the power is in your hands.
It's not uncommon for employers to significantly improve their offer when they know that there are other interested parties.
And why wouldn’t there be? Let’s face it, you’re a catch!
Don’t Overthink It!
This is the single most important piece of advice we can give you. That first interview can be incredibly daunting, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. I promise.
You aren’t going to fall in love with every employer you meet, and that’s ok. Take your time, stick to your values, and choose a business and a culture where you feel like you can really flourish.
If you found this article useful, don’t forget to head to our Graduate Hub where you can dive into many more blogs just like this to get you interview-ready and raring to go.
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