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Interview Skills for the College Graduate You Need to Know

written by: RobinRaven•edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 12/7/2011

When you're a college graduate, you likely have the future and your long-term career on your mind. However, it's important to also try to live in the moment and prepare for your first job. Focusing on your interview skills as a college graduate will give you a great head start in your career.

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    Preparation

    The most important job interview skill that you can have is being diligent in your preparation. Although you may not have a lengthy resume and a strong work history to be competing with others in your field who may be vying for the same job, you can prepare for the job interview better than anybody.

    Part of the preparation for a job interview is learning about the company. You want to know its history, who started it, who's the current founder, what role your interviewers play in the company, and a lot about its current placement in the market and its goals for the future. You may find some of this information on the company's website, but most interviewees will check out the website and very little else. However, do intense searches on the company. You also will want to go to the library and look for publications and past articles on the company. The more you know, the more articulate you can be when it's your turn to talk about why you're a good fit for the company.

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    Conversational Skils

    Go into the interview confident, but make sure that you do not act, speak, or behave as though you are entitled. Too many college students graduate with the idea that the world owes them their dream job, and employers are often repulsed with this attitude. Be confident, but leave it at that. Introduce yourself by name and be polite and thorough in answering any immediate questions. Save asking questions until you're asked if you have any.

    Be respectful. The people interviewing you may be twice your age. They may also be not too much further along in their career with the company than you are, depending on the human resources policies and employment at a company. On a first interview with a major corporation, you may only be seeing the human resources interviewers. It's important to behave in a respectful manner to everybody you meet, even if you feel more on a peer to peer basis with someone.

    When you're asked if you have any questions, be sure to have a few. You want to carefully prepare what questions you'll ask. Also, while you are listening to the interviewer speak, you want to be forming a couple of questions as well. This shows that you were carefully listening to what they had to say, as your question will reflect the attention you paid and the consideration given to his words. However, you don't want to seem as though you are grilling an interviewer. Be sure to ask three to five questions; then, thank the interviewer personally.

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    Concluding the College Graduate Job Interview

    Follow the lead of your interviewer throughout the interview. This shows respect and that you're not taking over or invading the space. If you interrupt or try to mold the interview to suit your needs, you'll appear arrogant. Keep in mind that your interviewer will likely be working with you if they hire you, and nobody wants to work with someone who's entitled or snobby.

    When it's obvious that the employer is concluding the interview, thank them sincerely and personally, denoting one or two specific things that you especially appreciated about the interview. Express your definite interest in the job, before a quick, polite last thank you. By following these college graduate interview skills, you will be better prepared when it comes to finding your dream job.