9 Interview Tips for College Grads on the Job Hunt

new grads, interview tips

You have just graduated, and it is great congratulations! Not everyone manages to start and finish a third-level course, and you did it. You should be proud of yourself.

But now, you are getting ready for a new challenge, called “getting a proper job”. Yes, that part-time waiting position in the local diner is probably something you want to quit as soon as possible – even though you are glad that it helped you to support yourself in college.

And if you are looking for the job of your dreams and got to the point of being called for an interview, you don’t want to mess things up. So here is all you need to know so to nail the interview and be hired straight away.

Tip # 1 – Learn About the Company

The first thing that you will have to start long before going to the interview. You should use the time that you have beforehand so to learn more about the company. It will help you to find interesting things to say and also to be prepared for the type of questions that might come.

To get it done, you will start with the company’s website. Read everything that is there that you can find useful. Look for their goals and achievements, especially the recent ones – maybe there is something that you should congratulate them as soon as you get a chance.

You will also find very useful information on their social media accounts and on Google Search. If it is a big company, you might want to check the news as well. Analyze what they say about themselves and if there is any contribution that you could mention depending on the job position.

In the case you are looking for a marketing position, for instance, you might want to get academic help so to have a strong opinion about the company’s strategy. Same for any other roles as what you want is prove that you know how to do your job.

Tip #2 – Learn About the Interviewer

You will also want to find out as much as possible about your interviewer. As soon as you get the name, google it. It will provide you with valuable information that will allow you to decide how to proceed during the interview.

It is crucial that you find out their job position, so you will know which type of questions expect. If you are being interviewed by an HR person, you are likely to be asked more about soft than hard skills. Usually, the HR wants to know if you fit into the company’s culture and if you are happy with the job specifications.

On the other hand, if you are being interviewed by your future boss, there will be a lot of technical questions about the job itself. And a general manager is more likely to be concerned about how you can help the company to achieve their goals.

In any case, look for their profiles on the company’s website and on social media (especially on LinkedIn). Look for things you both share (maybe you went to the same college?) and try to guess their interview style through their posts or articles.

Tip # 3 – Understand the Job Requirements

Now it is time for you to read that job advertising again. Pay particular attention to the job requirements and analyze it as if you had never looked at them before.

The idea here is that, with fresh eyes, you try to imagine which type of questions you might be asked. Of course, they will not be checking if you meet the requirements because if they were in doubt, you probably wouldn’t have been called for an interview. But you can make an educated guess about what you will be asked if you read the ad carefully.

What your interviewer wants is that you prove that you have the skills you said you had, both soft and hard. For instance, did they require a self-driven person? Or someone who can make hard decisions quickly? If so you will know that you will be asked to show it off. You can also look for the most common interview questions in your area and take from there.

Tip # 4 – Be Punctual

Here is something that is not open for debate. If you want to be hired for any position, you must be punctual. And by punctual I mean arriving 10 minutes before the scheduled time. If you don’t manage to be on time to your job interview, when you are supposed to be at your best, nobody will believe that you show up when you should ask once you get hired.

So if you are concerned about the traffic or have to deal with an unreliable public transport service, consider arriving even one hour early if necessary. Then hang out in the nearest coffee shop until it is your time to go. It is much better to sit and relax there for a while than be running to be on time.

But don’t arrive before 10 minutes either. You want to have time to rest, go to the bathroom, and have a look at your hair and outfit. But you don’t want to sound desperate either. So make sure that you are there at an optimal time.

Tip # 5 – Be Confident

As you might have heard before, the secret of being hired to any job is not being good at the job. It is making people believe that you are the best option in the market. In other words, it is all about confidence.

It is normal to feel uneasy during an interview, especially if you are just fresh from college and you really need that job. Worse if it is the company of your dreams. But still, these are not things in which you should focus right now.

Remind yourself that if you got an interview is because they think you are good enough for the job and have a fair chance to be hired. And it should be sufficient to boost your ego and appear confident. Plus, rest assured that this is not your first and only chance to get a job for your entire life. So they behave like your life is over if they don’t choose you.

Tip # 6 – Show Enthusiasm

On the other hand, show some enthusiasm during the interview. The company wants to know that you are highly interested in working for them, that you won’t just stay there for a while until you find something better.

That is to say that while you don’t want to sound desperate, you should not hold back if you are delighted by the opportunity to join their team. Let it show in your words and body language.

Here is the time when you are going to let them know that you have read everything about the company, for instance, and that you know all their products and services. Also, ask questions to demonstrate that you are interested in their plans and challenges.

And talking about body language…

Tip # 7 – Watch Your Body Language

Your body language is your secret weapon during a job interview. And as it might be the reason why you didn’t get that job in the past even though you were so sure that you were the best candidate.

Sometimes, it is our smile (or a lack of it) or our tone of voice. It is common to talk too fast when we are excited or nervous, and your interviewer knows it. But if it gets really bad, it can prevent him or her to understand what you are saying, for instance.

Some people also feels like they are being interrogated and sit and talk in a defensive manner. Arms crossed and frowned foreheads are an example of it. And if you know you get sweaty hands when nervous, remember to wipe before offering them to your interviewer.

Tip # 8 – Dress for the Occasion

Each event requires a particular outfit, and a job interview is no different. So you need to ensure that you are going to wear appropriately to the moment. But it is understandable if you are unsure of what it means.

Some careers are quite obvious about the dress code. Lawyers are expected to be on suits while IT personnel is allowed to wear more casual clothes. But it can change a bit depending on the company. So the best thing to do is go back to your research and check how their employees are dressed on their website.

If there isn’t anything useful there, stopping by their building on the day before and watch people leaving the building – but do it quickly, so they won’t remind you as the “yesterday stalker”. And then copy their style.

Final Tip – Breathe and Be Honest

As a last tip, I suggest you to remember to breathe and be honest. Breathing is a great thing to do when you don’t know how to answer a question, giving you time to think, or you notice that you are talking faster than a locomotive. It will also relax your muscles and adjust your body language.

And, above all, be honest. Be aware that you did your homework, and so did your interview. Lying or even exaggerating your skills won’t give you the job you want. Experienced interviewers have special techniques to spot liars, and you won’t be able to trick them.

So do the best you can and follow the tips above. Then fingers crossed!

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Norman Arvidsson

Norman Arvidsson is a recruiter at the writing services companies and freelance writer from Atlanta. His articles are related to e-learning, career tips, entrepreneurship, and tutoring. Contact @NormanArvidsson via Twitter.

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