Interviews at any stage of your career can be nerve-wracking. In the post-covid world, there’s the additional factor of whether your interview will be on-site and face-to-face with your interviewer(s), or if you’ll be interviewing virtually. When you’re also a recent graduate these unpredictable conditions can be a recipe for unpreparedness, fumbled replies, and ultimately, missed opportunities.
Before diving into some of the more intermediate and advanced interview tips, let’s be sure to cove some of the basics.
- Know Where You’re Going and Get There Early – especially if you’re going on-site! Practice your route and factor in traffic and weather.
- Bring Multiple Copies of your Resume – for yourself and whoever may interview you
- Dress Professionally – you don’t have to show up in a $1000 suit, but make sure your clothes fit well, are wrinkle-free, and meet the company’s standard for dress-code.
- Be Prepared for the Interview – Research the company and the role
- Practice – campus centers often offer mock interviews for practice. Take advantage of these tools so you can prepare yourself for an interview environment.
- Be Well Rested – make sure you get a good night’s sleep! There’s such thing as being too prepared, so give yourself a chance to relax and refresh for the big moment.
Now that we have an understanding of some of the more basic, must-have interview strategies, let’s look at some more involved thinking.
Interview Starts Before the Interview
Keep in mind that the interview starts before the interview. You should do your research on the organization that you’re applying to, and the role that you wish to obtain. Likely, they’re also doing their initial research on you. That means it’s time to either make those social media accounts private or ensure your potential employer won’t be scrolling through those embarrassing-but-funny memories you’d prefer keep between friends.
At a minimum, read through the company’s website, marketing materials, and testimonials from clients and employees if they’re available. You’ll likely be asked why you want to work at the company in question, and you don’t want to be blindsided by not knowing what they do! If you’ve leveraged your LinkedIn presence, you can reach out to some of the company’s current employees and get an insider’s perspective on the company, culture, and maybe even a helpful hint to help you get your foot in the door!
Avoid Being Overly Casual
One of the most common complaints that hiring managers have expressed about interviewing recent graduates is that they’re often too casual with their interviewer after developing initial rapport. Maintain your professionalism at all times and do not refer to your interviewer as “dude,” or “bro,” and refrain from using slang when communicating your responses to interview questions. Your interviewer is your potential employer, not your friend (at least, not yet).
This is especially important while in a virtual interview. Ensure that your posture is erect, and your attention is on your interviewer. Portraying casual or nonchalant body language in a virtual interview can be detrimental to how an interviewer perceives your ability to focus as well as your commitment to obtaining the position.
Identify and Prepare
Identify what skills are needed to successfully perform the role that you’ve applied for. Do you posses those skills? Be sure to communicate these skills to your prospective employer during your interview. Be prepared with real-life examples from previous experiences to support your statements.
Ask Intelligent Questions
At some point during your interview, you’re going to be asked if you have any questions. You’ll likely want to say no and wrap the experience up as fast as possible, but don’t. Take this opportunity to be inquisitive about the company and the role. Take time beforehand to develop a few questions you may have about the role, the company, the environment you’ll be working in, and maybe even your interviewer’s reasons for being at the company themselves to demonstrate your level of interest. At the minimum, don’t leave the interview without finding out next steps.
Virtual interviews offer some challenges that first-time interviewees may not consider when setting up their space for the big moment. Building rapport and credibility through a screen can be difficult, but not impossible. You want to present your best, professional self, even from the comfort of your own home. Once you’ve taken care of the menial items like dressing professionally and practicing your answers to common interview questions, it’s time to consider the technical, and often overlooked, elements of a virtual interview.
Be sure that your background is professionally staged. Consider using a green-screen feature to produce a professional looking environment if you’re not able to have a clean, organized background.
Test your computer beforehand. Ensure that your camera is functional, and your audio isn’t disruptive and causing echoes. Do this with multiple video-conferencing platforms to ensure that no matter what platform your interview is hosted on (GoogleMeet, Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, etc.) your connections are clear and as glitch-free as possible.
Additional Tips for Interviews:
- Be consistent in your answers
- Show your personality
- Don’t speak poorly of your former positions, managers, or companies
- Use examples, situations and results from your experience when answering questions
- Have answers for common questions like, “Why are you interested in this role” or “What interests you about XYZ company”
- Understand your strengths and weaknesses
- Don’t assume they know what you do in your current role
Contact BANKW Staffing Today!
If you’re embarking on your first post-graduate job hunt, or even if you’ve already begun your job search, gain additional support with the help of a knowledgeable recruiter! BANKW Staffing and portfolio companies offer resume assistance and interview coaching for a variety of positions across a wide array of dynamic industries. Get in touch with us today to jump-start your job search and meet a recruiter who facilitate interviews with top employers in the region.
Check back next week for Resume Tips for Recent Graduates!
About Alexander Technology Group
Alexander Technology Group is the leading provider of technology staffing and recruiting services across Greater Boston and New Hampshire. Since 2007, Alexander Technology Group has provided qualified technology professionals, on a temporary and direct-hire basis, to thousands of organizations throughout the local market.
Learn more and search jobs at https://www.alexandertg.com