Grad Interview Etiquette: How to Make a Good Impression

Congratulations on securing your graduate interview! That in itself is no mean feat. Now that you have the opportunity to shine and show why you’re the only candidate for the role, it is vital to be ready and confident from the moments before you walk through the door. It is generally known that first impressions are formed within seven seconds of meeting someone for the first time so how can you best utilise those crucial seconds?

1. Get off to a good start – punctuality is important to employers so be sure to be on time for your interview and a little early if you can. You can spend the time composing yourself rather than flying through the door late and harassed. Don’t be too early though – turning up before the doors are open might be construed as being too keen!

2. Presentation – dress appropriately for an interview. Even if casual dress is the norm, you need to be smarter for the interview. Research beforehand what the dress code is and pitch your outfit accordingly. Don’t forget to pay attention to grooming, from facial hair to visible piercings.

3. Introduce yourself – hopefully your interviewer will know who you are but be sure to give your name with your firm handshake and speak clearly, especially if you have an unusual name. Keep eye contact too and make a connection with your interviewer.

4. Smile – we’re not suggesting you spend your interview beaming inanely at every question posed, but smiling shows you are engaged, happy to listen to and interested in what’s being said. It’s a good way to overcome nerves, too.

5. Be yourself – you will be more confident and comfortable if you’re not trying to be someone you’re not. And it will be incredibly hard (and distracting) to live up to your new assumed persona throughout the interview and more so if you’re offered the job.

6. Remember your manners – good manners go a long way. Retain a degree of formality with everyone from reception staff to interviewers. You probably won’t know until you enter the room who will be interviewing you so it pays to be polite to everyone you meet. Don’t sit down until invited, remain polite and courteous throughout. Don’t allow your body language to let you down either.

7. Take time over your answers – don’t rush in and say the first thing that comes in to your head. You should be well-prepared for this graduate interview so stay calm and think through your answer. A little time will help you stay focussed and calm as well. Remember that you know what you are talking about.

8. Keep positive – even if you’ve spent an hour jammed on a train in the blistering heat, don’t moan about that, or the weather and particularly not your current role or the people you work with.

9. Beware of being overconfident – it can be misconstrued as indifference. No matter how much research you have done, and how much you know about the role and company, ask the pertinent questions and show interest in the answers.

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10. Relish the challenge – going in to a graduate interview expecting to enjoy yourself might be pushing it, but make the most of the opportunity you have and allow all your hard work to come together.

Of course, this cannot all happen with the first seven seconds of making someone’s acquaintance, but will put you in good stead to perform well and leave a good impression with your interviewer. There are countless ways to prepare for the interview situation and the questions you may face – why not seek the help and advice of a professional or graduate interview coaching service? City CV can help with interview techniques and graduate interview training alongside a specialised graduate CV writing service and all the documents you’ll need for your job search. Call us today on +44 20 7100 6656 or email enquiries@citycv.co.uk

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