Let’s face it, graduate level jobs are incredibly hard to come by. Many companies expect job applicants to have a few years prior experience, which prompts the question “How do I get experience when no one will hire me without experience?” This age-old conundrum seems to be here to stay and other than interning, personal work and job shadowing there doesn’t seem to be much of an answer for this.
However, if you are lucky enough to find an entry level job and your resume has been accepted, then you’ll get to the interview stage and it is here that you really need to make an impression.
We wanted to know what tips would give 2016 graduates their best shot so we sat down with Sherri Hatfield, the head recruiter of HajocaCareers.com who hires 50 graduates a year for Hajoca’s management training program and asked her for her 5 best tips.
Preparation is key
We could repeat this until we are blue in the face – that’s how important it is. Preparation for any job interview is an absolutely essential part of the process. Research the company you are going in to and find out everything that you can about the role that you are applying for. Speak to someone in the industry and get inside knowledge from them and even hold mock interviews with your friends or family. The more you prepare the better you will feel going into the interview.
While this may seem like an obvious point, you would be surprised at the amount of people who dress in the completely wrong manner for a job interview. We always say that you should err on the side of caution and wear traditional business attirerather than going casual. It’s ok to keep a little bit of individuality in your dress code – whether that’s your favorite pair of smart shoes or a well-loved tie. While interviewers want you to look great – they also don’t want you to be generic, besides we all know that being comfortable goes a long way in our body language.
Confidence not arrogance
Interviewers typically say that candidates have ten minutes to impress them – this means that your first impressions are vital. Be confident in your abilities, and believe that you are good enough to get the job. There is nothing worse than a meek and trembling graduate in an interview room, but similarly if you go in with a chip on your shoulder – you are unlikely to get a call back.
Body language is also a part of appearing confident. A firm handshake, a friendly smile and a relaxed manner goes a long way in an interview. Make sure not to touch your face nervously, sit with your arms folded or tap your feet. Try keep calm and have an open demeanor.
It’s great to get your interviewer chatting, and this is done by asking interesting and relevant questions, even if you have to prepare them in advance. Don’t ask about travel, time off, lunch breaks or parking – rather ask about how they started at the company, what their training or upskilling programs are and what the next step up the ladder would be for the role you are applying for. A new career is a big life decision and they want to see you’ve been thinking carefully about it.