Landing your first job interview is a serious competition, especially when it’s often between graduates.
Many other applicants can offer a similar skill set and education background.
So, how do you know if you stand out in the crowd?
The first step is to learn from the reception of your first job interview, whether it was a formal or informal interview.
Note how your interviewer responded to particular answers and questions, and where you think could be improved.
Once you’ve made it through the first round, that’s where the real challenge begins.
Graduate interviews are often focused on your work ethic and personality, more than your academic experience.
Read on to discover what you need to learn from your first interview to ace the next one…
1. Remember to Share Your Knowledge
Your main advantage is that you have come straight from the classroom, so your knowledge is current.
Industry trends, business models and success stories are important to draw from as they demonstrate a keen understanding of the work.
If you didn’t show your knowledge in the best light the first time, make sure you do for the next interview.
Companies are reluctant at times to gamble on a graduate student, you need to demonstrate that you can be an agile worker, able to bridge the gap because of your recent knowledge.
2. Maintain A Positive Outlook
The endless job search can get you down. Interview after interview you come across the most fantastic applicants and wonder, why aren’t I more like them?
Instead, focus on how you are different.
A positive outlook is key for motivation. If you weren’t as upbeat as you could be in your first interview, change your attitude now!
The ‘I can change the world’ attitude is often lost in other established professionals and incredibly crucial for business growth.
Use this momentum to position yourself as a great addition to their team.
Real vision requires a forward-thinking approach, so review each of your interview answers to ensure that you end on a high note next time.
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3. Value Yourself As Well
Be grateful, but not desperate that you have achieved a job interview.
Remember, you’re a graduate!
This means that this employer could only have the one shot to hire you before another business snaps you up for a lifetime. Long-term loyalty is an important value to demonstrate early on.
Succession planning plays a large part in the job process and was no doubt mentioned in your initial interview, whether in the form of promotion opportunities or wider business expansion.
The opportunity to grow and evolve in your role is something that you need to be passionate about from the get-go.
4. Be Naturally Confident
Landing your first interview requires a degree of confidence.
Did you put yourself out there as much as you should have?
It can be intimidating, even for an experienced professional. Learn from your first interview and try to have more self-confidence.
After all, what’s the worst that can happen?
To be effortlessly engaging requires a lot of hard work, confidence isn’t built overnight. Start by making small changes, introduce yourself to new people and offer your opinion more often.
The best networking is based on genuine connection and trust, both of which can be inspired by confidence.
If the problem is you don’t know enough about your industry, start by learning!
For example, take on a short course or a TAFE course if you’re short on time, and get educated. Along the way, you can meet plenty of new people and network with like-minded individuals.
5. Communicate Clearly
Good communication underpins success in the workplace.
It feeds teamwork, motivation and efficiency in every aspect of the business. Of course, sometimes in group interviews or ‘trial situations’ you can choke and fail to operate at your best under the pressure of a team environment.
Present yourself as friendly, open and prepared.
This easy attitude will lead to a smooth transition process if you are hired down the track. It will also help to set clear and realistic expectations for both yourself and the employer.
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6. Don’t Engage in Politics
Maybe your interviewer was a little sour or you felt that their questions crossed the line, so you snapped and burnt a bridge.
This is a big no-no!
Do not engage in any politics while interviewing for your position. This can be stressful, upsetting and annoying.
But it will get you nowhere.
In your first interview, you were probably asked about your work experience. If this was a bad job, try not to be bitter or get too personal in your response.
Remain impartial and highlight the positive reason to leave – you simply felt you were ready to take the next step, not that you fought with your boss.
This is a crucial part of your first interview and where many candidates fall short.
If you bad-mouth another company, this only tells the interviewer that you’re likely to do the same to them. Understand the workplace culture and brand pillars of the place you’re interviewing at – then work to uphold a stellar reputation.
Assure your interviewer through your answers that you are not there to compete against your co-workers or step on any toes, but that you are able and willing to stand up for yourself.
7. Try to Embrace Change
Speak fondly about your past experience, but don’t be too hung up on change.
The same goes for your approach to land the interview in the first place.
Try calling the business or, depending on the industry, dropping in to visit. You need to embrace a different way of doing things so that an employer can too.
A building firm is on the search for a construction worker. Yes, they want a professional with an understanding of the work. But more than this? An individual with an open mind, able to take direction and handle a new way of doing things.
Hiring a professional fresh from their apprenticeship training is one way to introduce an element of flexibility and change.
Young professionals are driving a new era of business, so make sure you convey to the interviewer that your lack of consistent experience can only be a good thing.
Caroline Schmidt writes the blogs for Kangan Institute. She is passionate about short courses, careers, and giving advice to students of all ages.