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4 Surefire Ways to Wow Your First Post-Graduation Interviewer

Written by Cindy Bates

Let’s face it: you’ll probably have a tough time wowing your first interviewer for a full-time job when you don’t have much experience being interviewed.

You might have had a part-time job before, but this time around, it’s more serious. Don’t freak out, though! You’re more likely to get a job if you interview well than if you were more qualified or suitable for the position. Don’t underestimate how tough it can be to get a job from the interview stage, but never be afraid to rehearse and practice prior to your interview. All it takes are some good interview skills to really make an impression on your potential employer.

Don’t be an actor.

We’ll clarify this a little. Practicing and rehearsing means looking on the Internet for interview questions you may be asked and figuring out how you’d respond. Do not (I repeat, do NOT) decide what you’ll say word for word—even a great actor would have trouble spouting rehearsed lines without breaking the flow of the interview. It just comes across as disingenuous.

Practice in a way that ensures you won’t be caught off guard by a question. There is nothing more embarrassing than not having an answer for a question and shrugging your shoulders or making excuses. Don’t memorize your responses, just practice giving them off the top of your head. Do a little research beforehand to conjure a few solid responses to the classic interview questions. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be super original, since everybody else will try to be super original (so, ironically, you won’t have to be).

Show off your burning desire to be hired.

Landing a Job

There is nothing more powerful than wanting a job for something other than the money. Pure passion. If you actually want to work for the company, then it’ll shine through in your interview. You will also find that many of the qualities you need in order to get the job will naturally emerge on their own. Even the things listed in this article will manifest without you trying too hard.

There is nothing a new employer likes to hear more than the fact you really want to work for the company and that you have ambition. This can be achieved, of course, by going for jobs that you actually want. If you go for a job you aren’t too keen on applying for, then don’t be surprised if you don’t land the position.

Know something about the company.

You’ll probably be asked what you know about the place you’re applying to, and the absolute worst answers are “nothing” and “I don’t know.” Do research on the company and job you are applying for. The more you find out, the more ammo you have for any question that comes your way.

Ideally, you should start by replying with a quick rundown of what the company does and any other key information that customers and potential clients should know. Then move on to the position at hand and describe the job you expect to be doing and why you’re the best candidate.

Don’t just quote the job posting; you don’t want to sound like a walking pamphlet.

Be prepared for the “Why?”

Another classic question is “Why do you want the job?” You’ll be convincing if you’re honest.

In Season 6, Episode 12 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy ends up working at a restaurant called Doublemeat Palace. The manager asks her why she wants the job and she says it’s because she needs the money fast. The manager doesn’t react. She then says it’s because she wants to be part of the Doublemeat team and he smiles as if what she’d said was the key to unlocking his decision to hire her. It may seem like a generalization, but this episode is a melodramatic example of what happens in real life.

Essentially, your interviewers have already decided why you should want the job. They’re just waiting for you to say the right thing. If you’re passionate, informed and experienced, then you’re on the right path. If you don’t really want the job, just do what Buffy did: keep it short and sweet. No matter how much experience you’ve had with interviews, though, it never hurts to do a quick run-down of your interview skills and see what you can improve to help you land that sweet new post-grad job.

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.