Graduate Job Interview

So, you've finally graduated from university and - better still - secured an interview for the dream job that you've been working towards for the last few years. Problem is, you don't really know what to expect or how to prepare yourself for the interview.

Many people think that job interviews are high-pressure situations where a single slip-up can ruin one's chance of success, but with the right preparation, you will be ready for whatever is thrown your way. So don't panic - Hyper Recruitment Solutions are here to help!

Follow our essential graduate interview tips to give yourself the best possible chance of impressing the interviewer and getting the job you want.

Research

  • Learn about the company's history and the work they've done in the past.

  • Find out what the company's goals and values are.

  • Ensure that you understand the role you're applying for (including responsibilities and requirements).

Rehearsing

  • Decide which of your skills and qualities you would like to highlight to the interviewer, and make sure you can prove that you have them (e.g. by mentioning achievements and experiences where you demonstrated those qualities).

  • Find a list of commonly-asked interview questions and write out your own answers in advance.

  • Get someone to ask you questions that you haven't specifically prepared for - this will practice your ability to improvise and bring every answer back to your key skills and qualities.

Appearance

  • Dress smartly and appropriately for the job. If you're struggling to pick an outfit, read our What to Wear guide.

  • Make sure that your clothes are washed, dried and ironed prior to the interview.

  • Ensure that your hair is neat and tidy - get a haircut if necessary.

  • Do not wear excessive make-up or accessories.

Travel

  • Find out where and when the interview will be held.

  • Plan your route and method of travel (walking, driving, or public transport).

  • Set off early and allow plenty of time for delays/traffic.

  • Stay dry! Take a coat and/or umbrella just in case it rains.

Miscellaneous

  • Take an extra copy of your CV so you have the same information in front of you as the interviewer.

  • If necessary, prepare a copy of your certifications and/or examples of past work.

  • Make sure you can provide strong references on request.

We hope these tips will help to put your mind at ease and bring you one step closer to the job of your dreams! If you have any questions or queries regarding your interview, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the HRS team - one of our advisors will be more than happy to help. Good luck!

Further Reading: Why Didn't I Get the Job?

Why Didn't I Get a Job Interview?

Virtually every job seeker experiences rejection at some point in their journey. No matter how much time you spend fine-tuning your CV...no matter how much effort you put into writing your cover letter...no matter how much you really really want the job...there's sadly no guarantee that you'll make it to the interview stage. Sometimes you'll get a politely-worded rejection email from your prospective employer, but sometimes you just won't hear back from them at all.

In either case, you'll probably end up asking yourself:

Why didn't I get an interview?

Today, we'd like to suggest some possible answers to that question. Of course, there are all sorts of reasons why an employer might choose not to offer an interview; it might be that other applicants were more experienced, or that the position had been filled before you even expressed an interest. Sometimes it's just out of your control.

For the purposes of this post, however, we're going to focus on things that you can control. Take these five things into account the next time you apply for a job, and with any luck, you'll be rehearsing answers and picking out an outfit for that big job interview before you know it!

1. Your application was too long and rambling.

It's important to keep your CV and cover letter reasonably concise. When an employer has a huge stack of job applications to go through, they generally won't want to spend too long on each one, so make sure your documents are easy to skim-read. The important details—relevant qualifications, impressive achievements, similar positions you've held in the past—should leap off the page, and that won't happen if they're buried in paragraphs and paragraphs of waffle.

2. Your made spelling / grammar mistakes.

You don't need us to tell you that spelling errors and bad grammar can torpedo even the most qualified candidate's chances of securing a job interview. Always double-check your documents for typos before sending them (and ask a friend or family member to check them too, just to be sure).

3. You didn't tailor your application to the job you were applying for.

Employers can usually tell when you send them the same generic cover letter that you've sent to dozens of other companies. Writing a new document every time you apply for a new job is tedious and time-consuming, but ultimately, you're more likely to get the interview if the employer feels like you're specifically interested in (and suitable for) the role they're offering. Consider tweaking your CV each time you send it, too – you may want to highlight different experiences / achievements for different jobs.

4. You didn't make a convincing enough case for yourself.

The main aim of any job application is to argue that you are the right person for the job in question. When you get rejected for a role you really wanted, go back and read the job description – did your CV and cover letter convincingly argue that you meet the stated requirements? Could you have done a better job of explaining how your previous experiences made you a better prospective employee? Did you shout about your unique talents and skills, or could you have made them clearer?

5. The employer wasn't able to view your application.

It doesn't matter how sensational your job application is if the hiring manager can't open it. When submitting a CV / cover letter, make sure it's in a common file format, and send it to yourself first to make sure it opens without any issues. You might want to view it on a few different devices, too.

Need more job application advice? Read our CV & Cover Letter Checklist, or contact the HRS team to find out how we can help you to get the job you want!

Image from pixabay.com

Handing in your notice

If you’re in the process of looking for a new job, you may not have considered how you will go about handing in your notice to your current employer. But searching for a new job while working is a big hurdle to get over first!

However, handing in your notice at the correct time and in the right way is incredibly important to your long-term career goals. The thought of having to tell your employer that you’re leaving them may make you uncomfortable, but keep in mind that companies are accustomed to this - it's all part of running a business.

Good references from past employers are paramount to your career progression, so here’s a brief guide to when you should hand in your notice and how to resign professionally.

The best time to hand in your notice

It is vital that you do not hand in your notice until you have received a formal job offer in writing. If something falls through with your potential new job before the written offer and you have already handed in your notice, you may be left jobless. Even if you think your new job is near enough secured, background checks or even company changes could affect your verbal offer.

If you have not yet received a formal job offer from the company and seem to be waiting a while, ask them politely if they know what date you may be starting and if they know when you will receive the formal job offer.

The best time to hand in your notice is when you have your formal offer in writing and when you know your manager will be available to talk.

It is best to hand your notice to your manager in person if this is possible. They will appreciate it much more than an email or a letter left on their desk. It will also give you a chance to express your gratitude to the company and ensure that it is an amicable parting of ways.

Prepare for all outcomes

Handing in your notice may come as a shock to your employer, so be prepared for their reaction. They may be upset as they now need to start looking for your replacement, which could be a costly undertaking. If this does happen, it is important to maintain composure and be professional throughout.

You do not have to go into your reasons for leaving, but if you would prefer to let them know why, try to not get too personal. Try to be as neutral in the conversation as possible and do not direct anger towards your manager. Upsetting your manager further is not a good way to gain a good reference.

You should also be prepared for a counter-offer. If your manager can’t bear the thought of you leaving the company, they may offer you more money or a promotion. To be prepared for this outcome after handing in your notice, make sure you measure up the pros and cons of both businesses prior to your meeting.

Furthermore, you should be prepared for your manager to ask you to leave with immediate effect. In some jobs, this may actually be an easier transition than you working out your notice period. If you are dismissed, you can ask why but try not to get into an argument. You will still be paid for the notice period time.

Stay professional at all times

In case we haven't already made this clear, it is very important stay professional when you hand in your notice and during your notice period. Even if you absolutely hate the job you’re in, now is not a good time to express your contempt. You’re already leaving the company, there’s no need to make it more awkward for your employer.

Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Your notice should be worded professionally and should not go into specifics
  • Be sure to work out your notice period and offer to tie up any loose ends
  • Prepare yourself to train someone else to fill your role
  • If you want to tell your colleagues, be respectful
  • Continue working as usual up until your leaving date - don’t slack off

If you follow these steps, your resignation should go smoothly and you should be well on your way towards your new job with a good reference in hand.

If you are currently looking for work, take a look at our latest jobs here. Hyper Recruitment Solutions are a leading recruitment agency specialising in science and technology and we’re here to help.

Thumbs Up Thumbs Down

So you've applied for a job and secured an interview - congratulations! Now it's time to prepare for the interview process that will determine whether or not you actually get the job.

Though that may sound a little intimidating, if you can avoid these common job interview mistakes, it should all be plain sailing:

1) Forgetting to research the company

This mistake is the mark of an amateur interviewee. You know the job description off by heart, you know you're the perfect match for the role, but you don't know a thing about the company itself.

It may not matter to you what kind of organisation it is, but it'll matter to your employer. If you don't know the company values or their aim, how can they know whether you'll work to achieve their vision?

Be sure to conduct plenty of research prior to your interview. Learn about the company history, what they're working to achieve, and how you will fit into their team.

2) Not dressing appropriately

Even if your interview invitation said to dress casual, this does not mean wearing your favourite hoodie and torn jeans. Not making a good first impression may be a mistake that you cannot rectify no matter how well you actually perform in the interview.

Apparently, 6 minutes and 25 seconds is how long it takes for an interviewer to make up their mind about a candidate. So if you wear somewhat questionable clothing, you don't want the employer to spend those six minutes wondering about your dress sense instead of listening to your responses to their questions.

3) Failing to make yourself available during work hours

If you are in the process of leaving your current job, it can undoubtedly be difficult to find time for interviews. However, it's important to keep in mind that your potential new employer probably also works during usual office hours. Suggesting they stay late to interview you or do it on the weekend can be a major faux pas.

The best way to avoid this is to try and take your annual leave on the days you've been asked to an interview. If this is not possible, ask the potential employer if they would be happy to conduct a phone interview during your lunch break instead.

It's important to show your potential employer that you're willing to go out of your way for them.

4) Speaking negatively about a previous employer

Even if you didn't have the best time at your last company, a job interview is not the time to discuss this.

Though you may want to be honest when asked 'why are you leaving your current job?' or 'why did you leave your last job?', you should always try to stay positive. For example, if you left due to personal reasons, just say 'I did not feel like it was the right company for me' rather than airing your personal views.

5) Showing off

Yes, the employer wants to know about your experience but they don't need to hear that you single-handedly saved the company from almost certain doom. Egotistical remarks will do nothing but leave a bad taste in your interviewer's mouth. Remember, they already have a lot of information about you thanks to your CV.

If you did achieve something notable at your last job then by all means mention it, but only do so if it comes up naturally. Randomly interjecting a brag into a normal question is a job interview mistake that's best avoided.

To see more things that could put off a potential employer, check out this Buzzfeed article:

10 Things That Turn Employers Off

Are you looking for a new job? We specialise in recruitment here at HRS, specifically in science/technology sectors. View our latest vacancies here.

See also: Why Didn't I Get the Job?

What Type of Scientist Am I?

Have you ever wondered whether you'd make a good scientist? More to the point, have you ever wondered what type of scientist you'd most enjoy being?

If so, we at Hyper Recruitment Solutions have just the thing for you: our new What Type of Scientist Am I? quiz!

Our company founder, the one and only Ricky Martin, will be your quiz host - all you need to do is answer 10 questions about your personality and the things you enjoy. These questions will help us decide what type of scientist we think you are best-suited to be.

Once you've finished the quiz, you'll get your own character profile and a list of the different fields your type of scientist might work in (plus a few well-known scientists from those fields).

Of course, this is just a bit of fun - for serious careers advice that's specific to the science industry, we strongly recommend that you speak to a member of our team!

To take the quiz, just click on the following link:

What type of scientist am I?

type of scientist

Once you're finished, we'd love it if you shared your results with us using the #HRS hashtag! You can share it with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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