Reflecting on past experience and comparing my performance between interviews that resulted on either job offers or the dreaded “We regret to inform you that after careful consideration we will not be progressing your application” rejections, I have started compiling a list of interview do’s and don’t’s.
I am in no way an expert, nor am I a qualified career coach or consultant, but I figured – what better opportunity to share what I’ve learned so far, with those of you in similar situations? This series of tips will continually be updated – so keep checking back, or add us to your RSS feed – as I add to the list. In the meanwhile, check out the new links we’ve added to our recommended reads for further help with the interviewing process.
I’m going to start with what I have found to be the most helpful advice, specifically important for new grads to keep in mind.
Tip No. 1
Focus on how the prospective employer can benefit from you, and not just than how you can learn and develop your skills through the position. As new graduates, I think it is natural for us to talk about how we are eager to learn and grow within the profession. However, this should not be the theme of the conversation.
Employers do not hire someone so that they could act as teachers. The reason they are hiring in the first place is that there is a gap that needs to be filled in the workplace. They need to be assured that you are the right person to fill this gap. Help the employers envision you in the position and how you can contribute to the growth of the company, instead of how they can contribute to your personal and professional growth. Of course, this would potentially happen naturally as you progress in the role but this should not be the reason to what makes you an ideal candidate.
When asked why you are interested in the job, you shouldn’t respond just by saying that you would love to learn and develop new skills. You can mention it, but it should not be the initial answer. Ensure that you are highlighting how your previous experience has prepared you for this role and how you can make a difference in the organization. Prior to the interview, research the organization and learn about their mission, corporate structure, services or products they provide, and figure out what you really like about them. This is a key point you will highlight in your interview. Also, know your strengths and be confident in what you can do. Have concrete examples of past achievements and how these relate to the position you are applying for.
Stay tuned for Tip No. 2!