How to Wow Your Post-Graduation Interviewers


So you finally have the degree in your hands and now you are ready to start working on the position you’ve been preparing yourself for. Get ready to deal with mixed emotions: anxiety, excitement, fear, disappointment, and patient anticipation will become part of your daily life. The market is a tough place for young graduates, but you cannot give up on your goals now that you’ve came so far. Sending applications with different motivational letters is an energy-consuming, but necessary part of the job hunting process. Once you get a call for an interview, you can get ready for the real excitement.

You can expect the interviewer to be experienced in dealing with different categories of applicants and estimating their eligibility for the particular position. You already provided information about your degree in the application; that helped you get an interview, but it won’t be the factor of determination. The way you present yourself during the short interview is what really matters.

The following guidelines will help you get ready!

 Anticipate the questions

You cannot predict all questions the interviewer is going to ask, but there are several universal clichés you can rely on:

  • What are your strengths? What about your weaknesses?
  • Why did you apply for this job? What makes you interested in working for this company? (Hint: don’t say the money!)
  • What are your career goals?
  • How will you contribute towards our organization’s growth?
  • What do you do in your free time?

In order to answer the questions successfully, you’ll need to do some homework before presenting yourself at the interview. Research the company’s programs and find out what its goals are.

 Work on your handshake

If the interviewer encourages a handshake when you enter the room, you should know that this is a test. People with flabby handshakes undermine their chances for being hired right from the start. A nice, firm handshake tells a lot about your personality; it presents you as a focused, reliable person with healthy self-confidence.

 Dress as a person who wants to be hired!

You thought that a potential employer would be interested solely in your capacity, knowledge, and motivation? Snap out of the utopia; looks are still important. Make yourself presentable with decent clothing suitable for the position you are applying for. This doesn’t mean that you should wear a boring suit that makes you uncomfortable, or pick the most expensive clothes you have in your closet. Investigate the company’s culture and think of a way to dress as a perfect fit. If you are having style doubts, just go for something classic and professional looking, but add a twist: a nice watch, tie, glasses, or subtle jewelry.

 Ask your own questions

Before wrapping things up, the interviewer will probably ask if you have any questions. Don’t say no! Your response in this situation shows if you’ve done a proper research of the company’s goals and values. Don’t be pretentious; ask two or three simple questions that will show that you are interested in the job.

Here is an example of a good question: “What are some of the greatest challenges your employees deal with?”

 Don’t talk too much… or too little

It’s hard to find the right balance here. You are expected to answer all questions without making the interviewer bored, but you should still present yourself as an eloquent candidate who can think fast and provide a meaningful response.

 Show some enthusiasm!

No one likes those candidates who complain that they haven’t been able to find a suitable job for years after graduation. Don’t let the interviewer label you as a disappointed person with lack of inspiration. Be positive and lighten up the room with your presence. Think of the interview as a chance to “sell” yourself as a person anyone would be glad to work with.

 Your personality is important!

The human resources department already reviewed your application and decided that you could be a suitable fit for the job. They called you for an interview to learn something more about you and see how you react in the company’s environment. You can tell an anecdote about yourself, but make sure it relates to the job you’re applying for.

Remember: you are allowed to let your personality shine through. You don’t have to act like the perfect candidate; just be natural and let the interviewer sense how awesome you are!       

About the Author

Michael McPherson is a graduate student from Boston University, freelance blogger and a regular contributor at http://www.scholaradvisor.com/. You may follow him on Twitter: @McPhersy