You have mastered the art of drafting flawless cover letters, resumes and job applications and are now receiving invitations for interviews. But do you know what it takes to succeed in the job interview to kick start your career at one of the blue chip firms?
For most fresh graduates, interviewing for a job is a scary, nerve wracking experience for many reasons. While some may find selling themselves unnerving, others have difficulty putting up with unexpected questions.
Fortunately, with the right tips and tricks, interviewing is a skill you can learn. We often hear tips like ‘dress smartly’, ‘be confident’, ‘sit up straight’ and other standard tips and tricks but here we dig deeper to help you ace your graduate job interview and come one step closer to getting the job you want at any organization.
Thorough Research on Financial Reports, Earnings Calls & Blog Posts of the Organization
Most individuals find themselves in a sticky situation when they are asked questions about the organization’s strengths, opportunities and its current standing in the industry. This is because they haven’t done thorough research on the organization and its current standing in the industry.
Content is gold in today’s world and all the big companies like Goldman Sachs and Microsoft have blogs where they publish earnings calls, quarterly reports and all the latest happenings. Even new start-ups have blogs nowadays which is why it is important to gather as much information as you can by spending a couple of hours perusing through the company’s blog.
Take a look at the latest media releases, service and product information and anything else that can help you in the interview. Focus on the company’s core values to impress the interviewer by discussing situations that shed light on those highly sought-after values.
Suppose you’re interviewing for Google and you’re asked a question, ‘What is the biggest opportunity for Google in the next five years?’ You can answer this question in two ways:
You could either come up with a run-of-the-mill answer that wearable technology will be big since the Apple Watch and Google Glass has already become increasingly popular now or you could refer to Google’s quarterly earnings call and say how Google has currently spent a staggering $5 billion dollars only on display advertising for Google Glass.
The latter shows that you have done your homework and your answers are backed by current happenings in the industry.
Tell the Interviewer What He Wants To Hear
No two interview processes are identical. You may be interviewed by a partner, line manager, recruitment consultant or the HR department depending on the firm and the role. You may be invited for an interview with them individually or in combination. Each of these individuals will have a different agenda for the graduate job interview and so, your approach with each should be tailored accordingly.
The recruitment consultant’s role in the recruitment process is to screen out the unqualified applicants from the ones that meet the employer’s requirements. Essentially, the role of the recruitment consultant is to sell the job to the ideal candidate and sell you to the client if they believe you are a good fit for the job.
When a recruitment consultant calls you, woo them by highlighting your strengths, achievements and pointing out why you are an ideal candidate for the job in question. On the other hand, the HR consultant is the recruitment procedural expert whose job is to make sure the firm complies with all the legal requirements.
They are the ones involved in setting up the recruitment process so you can expect to face a more structured interview from them than anyone else. The HR consultant serves as the first screener from the employer’s side. Your interview with the line manager matters the most because they will determine whether you are the perfect new addition to the team or not.
Here are the two best techniques you should keep in mind to ace the interview:
- Focus on building a good rapport with the line manager and point out your previous work-related accomplishments during the interview.
- Brainstorm at least 3 PAR (Problem Action Result) anecdotes in which you highlight a problematic situation that you faced, what you did to solve it and what changed afterwards.
Treat each interviewer differently as if they don’t talk to each other and you will be surprised to see the difference it makes.
Prepare For the ‘Deal Breaker’ Question
Many of us over think and give run-of-the-mill answers like ‘I’m a perfectionist’ when asked, “What’s your weakness?” Others believe that honesty is the best policy and give genuine answers but still fail to understand what this ‘deal breaker’ question is all about.
This question does not require you to admit your weaknesses. It is all about showing how you identified your weakness, what you did to overcome it and what progress you’ve made in turning that weakness into strength. Getting through the job selection process can become a piece of cake if you come up with a compelling answer at this stage.
For instance, don’t just say that you struggle to run efficient meetings. Tell them how you’re trying to improve by drafting an agenda prior to the meeting. Emphasize on how you send the drafts to all the participants to make sure everyone knows what happened in the last meeting and what to do next.
Keep Your Body Language in Check
How you respond to the interview questions is paramount but poor body language may make you seem nervous, under confident and show that you have a tendency to crack under strain.
The best way to combat this problem is to smile, maintain eye contact, listen attentively, nod from time to time and maintain a solid posture. Avoid doing these – slouching, fidgeting with the pen, mumbling and chewing gum.
Think Aloud When Solving Analytical Questions
Sometimes analytical questions are included in the interview as well. Instead of staying silent for a minute and exploding with an answer suddenly, think aloud. Share your calculations and assumptions so the interviewer understands where exactly you’re coming from. Also, the good thing about thinking aloud when answering an analytical question is that it shows your communication and problem solving skills.
Keep these 5 surprisingly effective graduate job interview tricks in mind when you’re interviewing to get the job offer you always wanted. Check out www.graduatemonkey.com for SHL aptitude test tutorial packs today!