For any recent college graduate, job interviews can be nerve-wracking, especially if you haven’t interviewed in a while. That’s especially true when you’re interviewing for a position in a new industry, competing with hundreds of candidates who’re in the same or similar situation as you.

Despite of the challenges, the more you prepare – by practicing your interview skills, researching the company, being able to show why you’re qualified, and by following up after the interview – the better chance you’ll get at securing a job offer! Now let’s take a look at some useful tips for acing an interview for college graduates!

Job placement

Research The Company in Depth

The employer will expect you to know quite a bit about the company you’re interviewing for. Prior to your interview, check the company’s web site and social media pages, learn about its values and visions, scroll through its latest projects, and think about what you can do to better their products and services. You can dig even deeper by talking to a current or previous employee of the company and conduct informative interviews with them beforehand.

Customize Your Answers for Common Questions

There are some typical questions that are being asked at almost every job interview, such as “Tell me about yourself.” “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” “Tell me about your greatest accomplishments.” “Why do you want this job?” “Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years?” You can find sample answers to these questions online. Read how others answer these questions, and plan your own answers according to your situation.

Prepare 5-7 Sample Stories

Scenario questions such as “tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a coworker and how did you handle it” or “Share with us a time when you made a mistake and how did you resolve it” are a must in job interviews. Make sure to prepare some examples beforehand. Start with the situation by describing the context and problem. Then explain what you did to improve the situation and describe the results in quantifiable terms. This demonstrates that you understand the importance and the impact of your personal contributions. With these stories prepared in advance, you can adapt them to various scenarios.

Show Your Eagerness to Learn

Some of the attributes that employers look for in candidates are curiosity, eagerness to learn, as well as the ability to quickly adapt to new environment and pick up new tools. Aa a new graduate, you may not have loads of past experience relevant to your new position, but your learning ability is gold. Show your future employers that you are a fast learner (this can be demonstrated through scenarios), and that you are excited to face new challenges and opportunities in a new industry.

Pay Attention to Your Body Language

During the interview, watch your body language as your poses and gestures can reveal your personality. Shake hands firmly, make eye contact as you articulate your points, avoid fiddling, and sit up straight. If you are super nervous and don’t know how to act, remember, smile is your best weapon. Smiling isn’t hard to do during interviews, and it shows confidence and amiability, which is a huge necessity in workplaces.

Develop Intelligent Questions

Towards the end of your job interviews, you’ll be asked whether you have any questions for the interviewer. Don’t just say “I’m good” or “I don’t have any questions”. Asking questions demonstrates your level of interest in the job; it is also a great chance to show your knowledge of the industry as well as your eagerness to learn and contribute. Develop 3-5 questions ahead of time, and jot them down to memorize before your interview.

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