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Thursday, 15 March 2012

Dealing with difficult interviews

Guest post from Edward Mellett of the graduate jobs website
I hope this article will be useful for everyone looking for graduate jobs and worrying about how to deal with difficult interviews.
For anyone going to an interview they can be quite a nerve-racking experience! Whether it’s your first ever interview or your twentieth, every interview is different from one another. The interview process varies from company to company as every business has its own way of carrying out candidate assessments.
Some of the basic things to do before going to any interview are:
  • Thoroughly research the company and assessors who will be interviewing you.
  • Have questions prepared to ask about the role/company.
  • Aim to get to the location of the interview early in case there are. problems/traffic while travelling.
  • Be dressed in smart office wear (suit).
  • Take a copy of your CV and any other documentation you feel is relevant with you to the interview.
Something increasingly likely with both large and small companies alike, is that their interview process for graduate level jobs tends to begin with an assessment centre. An assessment centre allows companies to assess numerous candidates at once with a number of job related tasks to find the most suitable candidates for their workplace.
These assessment centres can be difficult if candidates do not prepare for them. But if you do not know much about this type of interview, there are a number of graduate job preparation websites designed to help you out, such as There is a large amount of great advice and tools on WikiJob, designed to help you prepare for the diverse range of tasks and tests found at assessment centres, from psychometric tests, to group and scenario exercises to verbal and numerical reasoning tests.
I once had to go to an assessment centre for a graduate job and I had no idea what to expect. As you can imagine I didn’t do very well. At the end of the assessment, I was talking to a couple of the successful candidates and they said they prepared for this difficult interview process by practicing verbal, numerical reasoning tests and so on, for days and even weeks in the run up to the interview process. So for the next assessment centre I was invited to, I made sure I prepared well for the tests and tasks that I would encounter.
One of the worst things about group assessment centres can be suffering from nerves! To help with this, I always make sure I’m hydrated (which helps me avoid the dreaded “dry mouth” situation) and take a bottle of water with me to interviews. I also take my time and don’t rush when answering questions – I try to speak as clearly and slowly as possible. Well not too slowly, but I know that when I’m nervous I can talk quickly! This also helps me not to ‘umm’ and ‘err’ too much. I also try to keep eye contact with my interviewer and remember to always shake their hand at the end of the interview, no matter how rattled I may be!

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