Interviewing for graduate jobs is scary. But NST Graduate can guide you through the process. Here are 5 common interview mistakes to avoid...
Category Career Advice

We all know the formula for a successful horror movie: a bunch of partied-out teens get lost in the woods before stumbling across a mysterious abandoned building. Cue chainsaws, screaming and plenty of jump-out-of-your-seat moments. It’s scary stuff. 

But perhaps Hollywood needs to revise the blueprint. Because let’s face it, none of that is as terrifying as the prospect of interviewing for graduate jobs

The anxiety usually kicks in a day or so after the recruiter lets you know your application has received the thumbs up. 

How many interviewers are going to grill you? Is your brain going to go completely blank? What happens if you get food stuck in between your teeth and no one tells you? Nightmare scenarios permeate your brain. 

At NST Graduate, we prepare our candidates for the interview process so there are no nasty surprises. This is key in helping them land perfect graduate schemes or jobs by preparing them not to make interview mistakes. 

Want to dazzle your hiring manager? Here are 5 common reasons candidates applying for jobs fail at interviews. Don’t make any of these interview mistakes … 


1. They don’t research the company in enough detail

Anyone can look at a company’s website and get a rough idea of what they do. But to stand head and shoulders above the other applicants, you need to go way deeper. 

Put the hours in really researching the firm. Who do they follow on social media? What went into their last earnings report? Has the CEO delivered any recent keynote speeches or appeared on podcasts? 

You need to uncover niche pieces of information that show you’re interested in their business.


2. They don’t use the graduate job description when preparing their answers

Remember that job description you read before applying for the role? It’s packed full of clues about what your interviewers want to hear. It’s  among the common interview mistakes that candidates make.

When you’re hit with questions such as “Tell me about yourself,” or “What relevant experience do you have for this role?” make sure your answers include keywords and skills they mention in the job description.

Map out specific examples demonstrating the skills they’re looking for. Focus on exactly what you did and what the result was, with stats to back it up. 


3. They don’t research their interviewers

This might sound a bit weird, but hear us out: you’re going to need to do some stalking.

That’s because the more you know about your interviewers, the more you can tailor your answers to resonate with them. You can also bring up common interests to build rapport. 

Research your interviewers. Look them up on LinkedIn, understand their role and any common interests you have. 


4. They don’t ask any questions

There will come a time at the end of the interview when you’ll be asked: “Do you have any questions for us?”

It’s important that you do. Having smart questions up your sleeve shows the interviewers that you’re engaged, thoughtful and clued up about their business. 

So what are ‘smart questions’? They’re memorable, show that you’ve done your research and allow the interviewer to share their perspective. 

A good question might be: “I’ve seen the company’s revenue forecasts for the next five years. What do you think will be your biggest challenge in hitting those targets?” 


5. They don’t know what to say when asked, “What are your weaknesses?”

Now, this is a tricky question to answer. But that’s why it’s a classic.

You don’t want to give away anything that suggests you’re not suitable for the job. But on the flip side, you need to show that you’re self-aware – and definitely not cocky. It’s a balancing act.

Two ways to answer: mention a shortcoming that isn’t directly related to the role you’re interviewing for. Or talk about an area in which you’ve worked hard to improve and seen good results. 

For example: “I used to have a problem with procrastination. While I always hit my deadlines, I often had to work late as they approached. I went on a project management course, and now I prioritise tasks and manage my time more efficiently.”

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