Congratulations! You’ve put heart and soul into your studies for years, earned your moment on the stage in your convocation gown, and set your sights on the working world, well-deserved degree or diploma in hand.
Once you’ve conducted your initial job search and gathered a list of promising companies, it’s time to thoughtfully consider your interview techniques. After all, this is your first big career move. You know you have the academic qualifications – the graduation gown hanging elegantly in your closet reminds you every day. Still, interviewing for that critical first “real” job can be intimidating.
In today’s blog we’ll provide some insider tips, from experience, that should help you nail that first interview.
Don’t Sell Yourself Too Long…
Here’s a common job-hunting sin. Under pressure, with a tough question at hand and an intense interviewer gazing at us across a desk, we spew forth verbal torrents. We prattle through our many achievements, qualifications, relevant experiences, academic clubs, courses, favourite novels, what we like to do on a sunny Saturday afternoon, and how we prefer our coffee.
That’s all a bit much. Instead, listen carefully to the questions, and feel free to pause before giving your answer (pro tip: a brief, confident silence is preferable to “umm”). Consider the intent behind the interviewer’s question, and answer that – while keeping self-aggrandizement in check.
…Or Too Short
Of course, there’s the opposite problem. Under that same pressure, you might feel inclined to take a somewhat meek position, especially if the interviewer is using a dominant tone of voice and body language. Remember that some companies do this intentionally, both to test your mettle under fire and, possibly, to justify making you a lower offer. Stay confident and answer thoughtfully, providing ample but not excessive detail.
Listen As Much As You Speak
Great interviews are really just great conversations, albeit in a formal and structured environment. Every great conversation consists of a natural, organic flow in both directions. That’s exactly what you’re after. Be sure to listen just as much as you speak, and try to find that natural rhythm.
…And Ask Questions in Return
One of your interviewer’s final questions is likely to be “do you have any questions for me?” The answer should be a resounding “yes.” If you’ve been listening, and if you did your research beforehand, you’ll be able to pose smart, insightful questions (two or three should be plenty). These could be anything, from market strategy, to technology infrastructure, to corporate governance. The exact questions you ask matter less than showing that you’ve paid attention, and really thought about what you’ve heard.
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