Interview Tips - How To Land Your First Role As A Graduate
Our HR Manager, Lucy Goddard shares her top tips for University students on how to secure your first permanent position after graduation.
I joined Pricecheck as HR Manager two years ago and have since helped the business to grow from a workforce of 75 to over 120 today. I also know that the directors have firm ambitions to grow this number to 200 employees in the next few years which means I should be kept very busy!
There are genuinely some fantastic career opportunities available here, something which I have learned first-hand. I have seen many fresh-faced University graduates join us who have since gone on to become Senior Buyers and International Account Managers within the business, looking after their own multi-million pound categories and territories.
We have also taken on a number of students as part of their Placement year and have offered many of these a permanent role once they have graduated.
My experience of interviewing both undergraduates and graduates has led me to come up with a list of top tips and interview techniques for University students, which I hope will help you to secure your first permanent role once you’ve graduated.
Tips & Techniques
1. Research the company
I can’t begin to tell you how important this is. Our business is fairly complicated when you first hear about Pricecheck, so we always appreciate it when a candidate has done their research and found out who we are and what we do. Think about our customers, our products and anything related to our industry. This demonstrates you have done your homework, but have also considered the wider picture rather than just memorising facts.
2. Who are you?
Don’t be shy to reveal a little more about yourself in an interview situation. I always ask candidates what they enjoy doing in their spare time and what they’re passionate about. We always look at the personality and approach of a person, not just what’s written on their CV.
3. Listen to the question
Yes, there are things you want to share about your past experience and skills and these are definitely things we want to hear too. However, make sure you are actually answering what is being asked as opposed to getting across the points that you want us to know about you. Running through all the things you have prepared in anticipation for what might be asked at the interview, rather than actually answering the question asked will give the impression you’re not listening.
Think about what is being asked – if you are asked situational questions (“Tell us about a time when…”), make sure you back this up with an example rather than a list of the skills you would bring to the role.
4. Prepare relevant questions
This seems a little odd, but it’s something most managers and recruiters will look for. At some point during your interview you could be asked if you have any questions to ask. You should use this as an opportunity to ask about the finer details of the role you’ve applied for, the culture and the people currently working there. However, don’t just ask questions for the sake of it – keep it relevant.
5. Be in control and relax
I don’t mean take charge and ask all the questions! This is more to do with confidence and taking ownership of your interview. Don’t rush your answers to a question. It’s fine to pause and think before answering and if you’re unsure, you can always ask the interviewer to clarify what they mean before you answer. A good tip would be to take a printed copy of your CV in with you, as this can act as a prompter for any details you may have forgotten about.
Remember, at the end of the day the interviewer has a position to fill and want you to do well in your interview. Stay calm, relaxed and composed, and you will naturally come across as the best version of yourself.
6. Be professional and honest
It goes without saying really, but most organisations will really appreciate and value you if you turn up in plenty of time, are courteous, respectful, polite and act professionally as soon as you enter the building – that is when your ‘interview’ starts and first impressions count for so much.
It’s also important to be completely honest about your skills and experience. You would be setting yourself and your new employer up for disappointment if you’ve indicated that you have expertise in an area that you then can’t then deliver on.
7. Ask for feedback
After your interview, regardless of whether you have been successful or not, ask for feedback from the interviewer. Sometimes you learn more from the interviews where you didn’t secure the role as they can help prepare you for future interviews and provide guidance on how to improve for next time.
Our Current Vacancies/Roles We Are Looking To Expand
At Pricecheck, we are always looking for bright and enthusiastic individuals to join us at our office in Sheffield. We are currently recruiting for the following roles:
If you are interested in any of these roles, or would like further information about joining Pricecheck, please visit our careers section.
You can also send your CV and a covering letter to firstname.lastname@example.org – I may not respond to all applications received but will do my best to get back to you.