Top 3 Reasons why Graduates Fail Interviews

Feb 8, 2020

In order to land your dream graduate job, you must successfully progress through a rigorous, multi-stage application process. After passing the initial stages of having your CV and cover letter screened and taking online tests, you will need to complete a series of interviews. You may be required to complete telephone, video, group or face-to-face interviews. 

Unfortunately, many graduates pass the initial stages but fail their interviews and miss out on great career opportunities. 

In this post, we will share some of the top reasons why graduates fail interviews so that you don’t make the same mistakes. 

1: Interviews make graduates feel nervous 

Confidence is key when it comes to performing highly in interviews. After all, if you don’t come across as being confident in yourself, how can you expect the employer to be confident in you?

Nerves can really have a negative impact on your interviews, so it is really important that you conquer any interview nerves and anxiety. 

Many graduates feel nervous about interviews because they do not have lots of interview experience yet and feel intimidated by the idea of being asked a question that they do not know the answer to. 

Here are some top tips for beating interview nerves and anxiety: 

  • Learn and apply simple body language techniques that will make you appear more confident such as maintaining a good posture and eye contact. 
  • Prepare adequately for your interviews. Learn everything you can about the industry, company and role that you are applying for.
  • Develop and practise your interview technique. Invest in an interview coach to become the best you can be at interviewing. 

2: Graduates do not show enough empathy 

Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It is vital that you show empathy towards your interviewer by demonstrating that you truly care about the things that matter most to them and the company. 

Interviewers are trained to identify candidates who are: the right cultural fit for the company and competent to perform really well in the role. Selecting the wrong candidates for the role is a very costly mistake for the company. 

In your next interview, show empathy towards the interviewer by: 

  • Explaining why the company’s mission and values resonate with you. 
  • Demonstrating your skills and competencies clearly. Utilise the STAR technique to give your answer structure and context as well as ensuring that you highlight your achievements.
why graduates fail interviews
  • Having a well thought out answer ready for “why do you want the job?” Remember, as well as selecting candidates who can do the job really well, employers are looking for people who genuinely want the job. 

3: Unsure of what questions to ask the interviewer

It is easy to focus solely on how you will answer your interview questions and forget to prepare some questions to ask the interviewer. 

Remember, an interview is a two-way process. As well as the interviewer assessing your suitability for the company and role, you will also need to make sure that the opportunity is right for you. 

At the end of every interview, you will have the chance to ask the interviewer questions. 

Here are some tips for asking questions at the end of your interview: 

  • Ask questions that show that you are determined to thrive in the role. For example: “What are the prospects in terms of growth and advancement?” 
  • Do not ask questions that you should already know the answer to such as “what does the company do?” 
  • Use the time at the very end of your interview to thanks the interviewer and sincerely state what getting the job means for you. This will make you memorable to the interview as many candidates will not do this. 

Written by Graduate Coach, the UK’s leading graduate coaching company. For more career’s advice from Graduate Coach, check out The Student Book & The Graduate Book and subscribe to their monthly newsletter

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