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Interviews: employer advice


An interview is your time to sell yourself to an employer. In this video employers discuss what they are looking for from candidates, how to prepare for the interview and how to impress your interviewer on the day.

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  • GE = Greg Edwards, Corporate eCommerce, Deutsche Bank
  • HS = Harmesh Sansoa, Real World Magazine
  • HD = Howard Dawber, Strategic Advisor, Canary Wharf Group
  • RC = Rhonda Calder, Head of Fast Stream Marketing & Diversity, The Cabinet Office
  • AW = Alison White, Programme Director, East London Business Alliance
  • AP = Anand Patel, Resourcing Support Manager, Tube Lines

GE: Employers are looking for three things from the graduates that we hire. The first one is enthusiasm - enthusiasm about the role and the opportunity that the graduate has been given. Second thing is the social skills to integrate quickly into the organisation that they are about to join and the third one is a 'can do' attitude. What I mean by that is someone that can get on and make the most of the role and the opportunity that we’re providing.

HS: The thing that makes me feel that somebody is professional when I first meet them is their stature, their posture, the way that they’re dressed and also the way that they articulate themselves.

HD: At a face-to-face interview, particularly if you’ve not been through many of them before, it can be quite scary but you have to remember the things that will get you through - simple rules. First of all, always listen to the question. Even if the person that’s interviewing you doesn’t seem particularly interested or engaged, they’ve asked you the question for a reason and you can take your time about answering, that’s the second thing. You can say, "Hmm, that’s a very interesting question". Which gives you time to actually think of what your answer is rather than trying to think of the first thing that comes out of your head.

RC: When I first meet someone, what’s really important for me is a very firm handshake, a very friendly yet confident disposition and smartly turned out. Absolutely essential qualities.

AW: When someone does a presentation for me in an interview, I want to know that they’ve really researched the topic and have done a very concise and short presentation. It’s very important for them to rehearse it as well so that they are word perfect.

AP: Try not to be nervous or at least try not to let it show. Beyond that, preparation is always key. Find out about the company and think about the things that you’ve done either at university or through work experience. You can talk about them readily.

AW: If someone was going for a job interview tomorrow, the first thing that I’d want to know and advise them to do is to certainly plan their route and get up on time. You can never count on public transport and you certainly don’t want to be late.

HD: Have some answers ready for some of the really horrible questions that interviewers like to ask. Like "What is your greatest weakness?" or "Tell me something that you’ve done that would surprise me", and those sort of questions that people like to throw in at the last minute.


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