• By Wu Xueting •
You did it, you finally graduated from university! Now comes the next big challenge: finding a job. As a fresh graduate, the job interview is often a source of anxiety, especially when you have little or no experience in it. Entry-level jobs are a much bigger and more level playing field compared to an internship, too, because you’re competing with a huge number of recent graduates. How can you stand out in the interview? By preparing and practising. Follow these tips to get ready and make sure you ace that first job interview.
Research the company
You probably know quite a bit about the company before you applied for a job there. Once you’ve secured an interview, it’s time to really do your homework and find out more about the job, the organisation, their values and mission, what they have accomplished, and the industry. Having a better understanding of the organisation can help you impress the interviewer and prevent you from saying something not quite accurate. Reading through their website is the first step, but go beyond that: Google the organisation’s press releases and what has been written about them, and take a look at their social media. If you happen to have a connection to someone who works there or has worked there before, even better! Ask them about the organisation and get some insider’s knowledge.
Get ready strong answers to typical questions, and rehearse
There’s a high likelihood that your job interview will begin with, “Tell me about yourself,” or “Why do you want to work for us?” You could also search some websites such as Glassdoor for examples of interview questions from past interviewees at the same or similar organisation. Take some time to prepare answers that highlight your strong personal qualities and skills. They should also be of a good length, not too short or too long. Once you have your responses, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
Identify your assets that make up for inexperience
During your job search, you’ll realise that almost all the “entry-level” jobs ask for a few years of relevant working experience. If you still manage to land an interview at that job, don’t try to hide or apologise for your lack of experience. Know your potential and a good fit for the job. A common counteracting strategy is to highlight that you’re an eager and fast learner. But more than that, you can also share your rich experiences outside of work, such as when you studied abroad or in your volunteering. How are the skills and experiences you gained relevant and transferable to the job you want? Dig into your personal passion that makes you interested in the job. If you’re applying for a position at a travel agency, for example, let the interviewer know about your love for travelling and the favourite places you’ve been to.
Make a list of questions for the interviewer
At the end of the interview, you’d most likely be asked this final question: “Do you have any questions for me?” Having a few questions to ask shows the interviewer your sincere interest in the job and organisation, as well as letting you sneak in a bit of impressive knowledge you’ve gathered about them in your research. If there are specific projects or features of the organisation you’re curious about, here’s the time to learn more. If not, a good general question to ask is, “Can you tell me about the work culture here?” Remember, a job interview is also the chance for you to interview the organisation and evaluate if it’s a place you really see yourself working at.
Show your interest in your body language
Sit up straight and smile! Your body language often forms the first impression for your interviewer, so be sure to let your enthusiasm shine through. Start off with a firm handshake, maintain an appropriate amount of eye contact (with all the interviewers, if there are more than one), and keep your tone light and cheerful. And don’t forget to smile genuinely! As with the verbal language you choose when sharing your strong qualities, the goal with your body language is to exude confidence and professionalism, but