Do you recruit graduates? If you do, remember this: there is no lecture on preparing for professional interviews. Graduates are pretty much left in the dark when it comes to preparing for 'real' job interviews. This lack of knowledge can make a graduate feel somewhat helpless - trust me I've been there. But you can help! Enlighten them with these six useful tips beforehand and you'll feel the benefits when graduates succeed in getting placed quicker.
"Preparation is key"
Most graduates will have concerns about structuring responses if they don’t feel prepared. On a careers service run course on job applications and interviews I was told to memorise personal 'star stories'. These 'stories' are created to justify each skill within an interview that candidates have claimed to have. The 'stories' are structured by the acronym 'star', which consists of:
• The situation
• The task that needed to be done
• The action taken to get the task done
• The result of that action - always a positive outcome
If you advise graduates to prepare 'star stories' to demonstrate each of their skills then they will be ready for any competency based questions thrown at them.
“A little research will go a long way”
Demonstrating as much knowledge as possible about the place candidates are interviewing for shows an active interest in it. Remind graduates that companies will have different ways of working, varying benefits, and aspirations from others. Cultural fit is something which more and more employers are interviewing for, so make sure your candidate knows as much about the company as possible. Also, being able to answer questions on why they’d be a good fit and why they want to work there will work endlessly in their (and ultimately your) favour.
"Don't be put off by psychometric tests"
Knowing your clients’ recruitment process ensures you can help your candidates understand it fully, meaning they’re less likely to trip up at interview. Help to conquer the graduates fear by pointing them in the direction of relevant mock test sites for the company they’re interviewing for. Advise the candidates to read the instructions carefully and work briskly and accurately through the questions.
It's often underestimated how hard it is to even get an interview in the professional world. So firstly, congratulate the graduates that their CVs have managed to make the cut and that will give them a vote of confidence. If the graduate is made more confident then they will take their time and relax to clearly communicate their skills and experiences. Reassure them that an interview is more of a conversation - not an interrogation. It's OK for them to pause and think about what they want to say, have a drink of water whilst organising their thoughts, and it's OK to ask interviewers to repeat a question. I hadn't done the latter until recently as I had found myself going off track so much I had forgotten the question originally asked, and the interviewers completely understood.
The pressure eases at the end of the interview so remind your graduates that if they haven't managed to say something that they really wanted to get across, then that is the time to say it. If they fluffed a question earlier then that is the time to readdress it. Finally, they should definitely ask questions! It's the best way they can show they've been attentive, engaged with the interviewers and that they're really interested in the company. Some great ones, for example, would be perhaps 'what's it like to work here?' or 'are there opportunities for progression?'.
Language and Literature graduate Kirsty loves everything social media related. She's a currently a Marketing Officer based in Glasgow.