In the last month I’ve had some interviews for full-time graduate roles – two with a Manchester-based marketing agency and one for a graduate scheme at a PR agency in London. I thought I’d share my experiences to help you think about how you could approach any interviews you have coming up.
After the Interview
If you’re anything like me, you’re an over-thinker and excessively analyse any situation. It’s very easy to do this with interviews – to beat yourself up about how long it took you to answer this question or how you should have shaken their hand more like that – but it won’t get you anywhere as you’ve done all that you can do in the interview itself.
However, it is good to reflect a little on how you think you performed to help you better prepare for other interviews. For example, in my first interview with the Manchester-based company, I was caught out when I was asked how my current manager would describe me in five words. Although I managed to string a few adjectives together at the time that fit the company profile and job spec, afterwards I made sure to think about how I could answer that question more effectively if I was ever asked it again.
In my interview with the London PR agency, I was asked which of their clients I would most like to work with. Cue the mental blank. I knew their clients – I’d researched and revised them – but with the two PR professionals staring me down across the table, I just couldn’t think of a decent answer. On the train home to Manchester, it occurred to me that one of their clients is related to my sports marketing career aspirations, and I kicked myself for not remembering that earlier.
Once you’ve had a little think about what you could do better next time, set the interview aside for the time being and distract yourself with other things – your studies, your current job, or any other applications or interviews you have to do – until the employer chooses to get in touch. And rest assured, it’s very rare that someone comes out of an interview situation and says “Yep, I absolutely smashed that”.
If the interviewers haven’t been in touch by the time that they said they would, it’s okay to drop them an email just to politely check if there have been any updates. And if you’re offered the job? Well, that’s up to you. (But you can find some advice on handling job offers here.) If you’re not successful? Ask for feedback so you can prepare better for the next one. Sometimes you may have the right skills but you’re just not the right ‘fit’ for the company, and sometimes you’ll get that vibe yourself during your interview.