The employment market for graduates today is tough. Many people leave university without a fixed idea of what to do next and, even for those who know where they’re going, options can be limited by factors such as economic uncertainty and fewer jobs. That’s why it’s so important to stand out from the crowd as a graduate – and one of the ways to ensure that you do that is via the interview process.
Be the person who has done their research
So many people today show up for job interviews ready to talk about themselves as much as possible but having learned little about the business they’re interviewing with in advance. If you want to stand out then do as much research as possible about your potential employer company – what challenges do they currently face, what is the business culture like and what recent products or services have they launched?
Show up and be present
Maybe you’re not 100% sure this is the job for you or perhaps you’ve got other things on your mind at the moment – no matter what is going on in your life around the time of the interview it’s important that you show up for yourself and are present throughout. That means:
- Be on time – check your route the night before to make sure you won’t be late
- Look the part – dress appropriately and make sure everything is clean
- Act the professional – no slang terms, no slouching and no talking over people
- Don’t drift off – it’s important to make sure that you listen to what’s being said as well as giving the interviewer information about you and answering questions
- Turn off your phone – it shouldn’t really matter but a phone going off during a conversation always irritates and it’s just not worth creating a bad impression
Remember that communication is not always verbal
In fact, according to the experts 93% of communication is non-verbal. Facial expressions, gestures, whether you maintain enough (or too much) eye contact and how you sit could all be key to the overall impression that you create on the person interviewing you, and whether or not this means that you stand out from the crowd.
Asking the right questions is key
The answers that you provide during an interview might not always distinguish you from others who have similar skills and qualifications – but the questions that you ask can. It’s a good idea to go prepared with specific questions in case you’re not inspired during the interview itself. Avoid asking about money or benefits until you actually have an offer on the table and instead focus your questions on what you’re genuinely curious about within the business. Ask about goals, progress, culture, innovation and growth, for example.
Standing out as a graduate can be difficult to do. However, the interview process offers a wealth of opportunities for giving a potential employer some insight into why you’re not the average candidate – and, ultimately, why they should choose you.