Almost all new graduates dream of getting a place on a coveted graduate programme. With so much competition, however, it’s unsurprising that only a small percentage make it through. There are a lot of reasons why so many graduates aren’t accepted. Some fail due to lack of experience and others due to lack of passion for the job. However, the most spectacular way to fail is to screw up at the graduate job interview.
If you have an interview coming up that you’re looking to ace, don’t stress. We’ve put together a guide of the most common job interview blunders. Simply avoid doing these at your interview and you could be signing your contract in no time.
Graduate Job Interview Blunders to Avoid
Lying about Achievements
As a graduate, your employer isn’t expecting you to have experience managing a marketing department or implementing a successful sales strategy. Remember that graduate jobs are designed for twenty-somethings who are straight out of university. If you’ve taken the initiative to do some work experience before applying for jobs, then that’s great. But managerial experience isn’t expected.
Rather than telling tales about things you’ve never done, work with what you’ve actually have done. If you’ve spent a lot of time doing extra-curricular activities at University, talk about that. Employers are looking for evidence that candidates have particular skills – not direct experience. It might require a bit of creativity, but you’ll definitely have examples of times that you’ve displayed these skills in your repertoire.
Don’t forget that the people who are interviewing you are experts in recruitment. They’ve spent years being trained in how to find the right people. So, let’s be honest, they can pick out a fraud (a lie) when they see one.
Not Asking Any Questions
There’s a particular question that comes up in every interview that can potentially make or break your success. That question is:
“Do you have any questions for us?”
Recruiters want to know that you care about the job and asking questions is a great way to show that you’re interested. It’s a good idea to prepare a question beforehand. This can help you feel relaxed through the interview before being put on the spot. If you’d rather choose your question on the day then that’s fine, too. The employer will spend some time explaining the job to you so it’s only natural to have something that you want them to elaborate on.
By asking questions at the end of the interview, you can add a more conversational tone to the procedure. This will humanise the interviewers making you feel more relaxed. In turn, this will allow you to show a more natural version of yourself in the interview room.
Not Preparing in Advance for Graduate Recruitment Tests
Although recruitment tests such as numerical, verbal and abstract reasoning tests aren’t common in traditional interviews, they should be expected at any stage of the graduate recruitment process. Many graduates think that their work with aptitude tests is complete after the online reasoning test stage. However, it’s still wise to prepare for them later in the recruitment process – especially so in the lead up to the assessment centre.
There is no shortage of practice graduate recruitment practice tests available online so there’s no excuse not to be prepared!
Failing to Research the Company
In the internet age, we have a wealth of information at our fingertips – sometimes too much, actually!
There’s no excuse, then, not to research the company before your interview. If you can sneak little snippets of information into your responses, the interviewers will be impressed by your interest and knowledge.
Some graduates go along to interviews knowing barely anything about the job and this is apparent in their answers. It’s best to be as clued up as you can be.
The company’s “About” page on their website is a great place to start your research. It will concisely explain all the most important information about the company. To expand on this, have a look at some of the press releases that the company has produced that year. It’s also worthwhile to do a quick search on the news section of Google for the most up to date information about the company. Plus, social media addicts will be glad to hear that Facebook can also come in handy in their preparation. Most companies are very active on social media. There’s definitely no harm in following along!
Just be careful not to bring up any controversial information that you find. If the company has been involved in any recent scandals, then keep that information to yourself. This is especially true for financial companies who often find themselves on the wrong side of the press! Just mention the good things and win them over with flattery.
Dressing too Casually
If you’ve just graduated from University, it’s unlikely that you’ll have a wardrobe full of smart casual office wear. However, that’s not to say that you have the green light to show up for your interview wearing jeans, converse and a hoodie.
The old saying goes that we should dress for the job that we want and not the one that we have. So, take this opportunity to buy yourself some smart looking clothing. This is a wise investment that could make or break your success. Better still, it will make you feel more confident, too. They say that we only get one chance at a first impression so make sure that you wow the interviewers the moment you walk in the room.
Plus, you’ll probably have a lot more chances to wear these clothes in the future, too, so it definitely won’t be a waste of money!
If you’ve got a graduate job coming up, then we wish you the very best of luck. By simply avoiding these five common job interview blunders, you’ll be miles ahead of the rest of the pack. We hope that these tips will help you feel more confident on the day and lead to you finally signing that coveted graduate job contract!
Have any tips for your fellow graduate job seekers? Share them in the comments and join in the conversation!