Interview techniques for graduate job hunters

Last updated: 22 Jun 2023, 13:19

Golden rules for preparing for a job interview, and how to maximise your performance when you get there.

Five professionals seated at a table clapping, possibly after a successful job interview presentation.

These tried and tested tips will help you to show yourself at your best during a job interview.

In advance

  • Think about the company: review the research you did when you applied for the job; check their website and others for up-to-date news; re-read the job advertisement; think about the questions you might want to ask them.
  • Think about yourself: review your application, think about the skills you can offer and some examples to back this up; prepare some answers to commonly asked questions. Imagine yourself in the job: this will help you to be convincing about your ‘fit’ for the role.
  • Practise: rehearse answering interview questions. Get a friend or careers adviser to play the role of the interviewer. Try out some calming and confidence techniques.
  • Practical: check the location and how to get there; check that your interview suit is clean.

The day before the interview

  • Review the preparation that you have done, and revise your particular strengths for the job.
  • Realise that they think you can do the job – you would not have an interview otherwise.
  • Then clear your mind by taking a brisk walk, concentrating on another task, taking a relaxing bath or listening to music.
  • Relax, and get a good night's sleep.

On the day

When you get there

  • Be friendly and courteous. Initial impressions are important: you never know who you might be talking to.
  • Leave your coat at reception, and freshen up before you enter the interview room.
  • Switch off your phone.

Body language

  • Make eye-contact, have a firm handshake, and smile.
  • Sit upright: don't slouch.
  • Use gestures sparingly.

How you speak

  • Speak clearly and slowly.
  • Take time to think before you answer a question.
  • Appreciate others' points of view.
  • Don't interrupt other speakers.
  • Listen closely, showing you are responsive to the interviewer’s questions.

The best answers to interview questions

  • Be prepared to elaborate on something the interviewer seems to be interested in; keep things short if they don't. If you are asked a question which demands a yes or no answer, do not leave it at that – provide some supporting information.
  • Emphasise the positive aspects of the things you have done; play down the negative. Use the ‘but’ technique, eg ‘we haven’t covered that yet but we will have by the end of the course.’
  • Have ready some questions of your own.
  • Remember the interviewers are not there to interrogate you. It’s in their best interests to put you at ease and bring out the best in you.

Finally – the golden rule for job interviews

  • An interview is not just about the employer assessing you: it's also about you assessing the employer. It's not an exam that you pass or fail – it's a chance to find out if you and the job make a good 'fit'.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

People reading this also searched for roles in these areas:

Related careers advice

undefined background image

We've got you

Get the latest jobs, internships, careers advice, courses and graduate events based on what's important to you. Start connecting directly with top employers today.