How to stand out in an interview

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The graduate jobs market can be highly competitive, and almost every graduate job will have multiple people interviewing for one position.

To successfully secure a graduate role, it’s crucial to stand out against the competition and leave a great lasting impression on an employer.

Graduate interviews can seem daunting, but they’re an excellent opportunity to show your personality and make a case for why you are the best candidate for the role.

We’ve put together our top seven tips for how to stand out in a graduate job interview and land your dream role!

If you’ve graduated from University and you’re now looking to start your career, search for graduate jobs today!

1. Research the company and the role

Preparation is key to any successful job interview and a great way to impress an employer is to do your research on both the company and the role you’re interviewing for.

Here are some points to look at when researching the role and company:


  • When researching a role, it’s important to find out the key skills employers are looking for. Study the job description carefully and make note of the key skills and values mentioned, company career pages are also a good place where company values and the type of employees a company desires are listed. Mentioning you have the key skills in your answers instantly shows employers you possess the right qualities and are a great match for the role.


  • Researching the company’s key industry competitors is another great way to standout in an interview. Research both the strengths and weaknesses of the company’s key competitors, looking at their products, sales, and marketing strategies. This will allow you to confidently answer any questions an employer may ask about your knowledge of the company/industry and provide impressive evidence for your answers.


  • In your research try to take a critical approach and find any areas where key competitors may be taking a better angle or are doing something different which could be beneficial to the company you are interviewing for. This demonstrates to an employer you’re forward-thinking and have valuable ideas that could benefit the company.


  • It’s also advantageous to research and make note of a few of the company’s recent news, events, and projects. If an employer asks the question: ‘why do you want to work for us?’, mentioning that you’re excited about their ‘X project’ is a great way to show you’ve done your research and are knowledgeable of the company.


2. Prepare answers to common interview questions

Watch our video playlist on the top job interview questions and how to answer them – subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos!

Tip: change the playback speed in the settings at the bottom right corner, to suit your learning requirements.


3. Keep the conversation fluid and ask questions throughout

A great way to leave a memorable impression on an employer is to make the interview enjoyable for them.

Although interviews may seem like a very formal situation where employers control the dialogue, don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer questions throughout and make the interview more fluid and less of a one-sided conversation.

Whilst it’s still important to be formal in your answers, asking the interviewer questions such as ‘why did you apply here?’ or asking more about their role in the company, makes the interview more comfortable for both sides and shows excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

Many employers will have multiple candidates to interview on the same day, by asking questions and confidently communicating to an employer, you’ll help leave a notable and standout impression.

Still on your job hunt? Get applying on our site today!


4. Show how you can add value to the company

To really stand out in an interview it’s crucial to show an employer how you can add tangible value to the company.

Avoid generic answers to questions when describing previous roles, but instead, talk about real examples and specific results you’ve achieved in these roles.

Describe how you previously made a positive impact on a company and give statistics and results to support your answers, whether this is how many social media followers you grew a platform to, strategies you implemented to save a company money.

If you’ve just graduated, mention any projects or events you worked on in University and how you boosted results.

Describing a previous case study of your work with detailed examples and measurable results provides employers with a convincing and credible reason to hire you.


5. Display the correct body language

An interviewer will gather their first impression of you after a few seconds of meeting you. Displaying the right body language and proper posture is key to making a great first impression.

Whilst you may be feeling nervous, especially if it is your first graduate interview, try to control your nerves and walk in looking confident and happy to be there.

Maintain eye contact and sit up straight whilst giving your answers, you could be speaking about a fantastic idea but if you’re slumped in your chair when delivering, it won’t have the same impact.

Limit anything that could distract the interviewer from what you’re saying, such as tapping your feet, touching your face, or fidgeting. Instead, smile and showcase your personality, nod and show signs that you’re listening and interested in what the interviewer is saying.

Creating a confident, happy, and polite first impression, showing that you’re interested and focused on the conversation throughout the interview and leaving with a grateful and appreciative goodbye is key to impressing an employer.


6. Show you’re excited and genuinely passionate about the opportunity

Companies want to hire people who are eager to work for them, so it’s crucial to express enthusiasm throughout an interview.

This is especially important if you’re lacking in work experience, as showing a genuine interest can sometimes override experience, with most employers valuing drive and passion highly.

In your answers, mention any aspects of the role and company which particularly excite you and ask questions to find out more information, and further show your interest.

If you’re looking to gain more work experience, taking part in a free online course is a great way to learn new skills, check out our blog for a range of free online courses for students and graduates.


7. Ask the employer engaging and challenging questions

An employer will most likely ask at the end of the interview if you have any questions for them.

It’s important to make sure you’re asking engaging and challenging questions throughout the interview and when asked by the employer.

Asking questions is an excellent opportunity to sell yourself and set yourself apart from other candidates.

Avoid asking generic questions, but ask different questions an employer may not have been asked before.

For example, how any relevant issues are impacting the business: ‘how is the current (relevant issue) impacting the strategy of your business?’, or ‘how is the current economic climate affecting your client base/growth prospects/revenue streams?’

Asking multiple questions also shows an employer you’re selective in your job search and know what you want, not just the first job that comes your way.

Employers want candidates who have applied to their role because they’re genuinely interested in the company and role.

Ask questions about the company culture, any training opportunities, benefits, the team you’ll be working within, and how the interviewer has found their time at the company.

This demonstrates to an employer you’re interested in seeing if the role and the company culture are a good fit for you.


8. Follow up with a thank you email

A great way to leave a lasting impression on an employer is to send a ‘thank you’ email thanking them for their time and reaffirming your interest in the position.

This lets an employer know that you’re still interested, demonstrates you’re grateful for the opportunity, and helps to keep you fresh in the interviewer’s mind.

It’s a good idea to send a thank you email the day after your interview, if you’re unsure what content to include, we’ve put together an interview follow up email template.


Interview follow up email template

Subject line: ‘Thank you for your time’

Hi (interviewer name),
I’d like to thank you for your time on (interview date). I really enjoyed our conversation and finding out more about (x role), in particular (aspects about the role discussed which you find interesting).
I’d like to reaffirm my interest in (x position) and feel I would be very well suited to the role. I’m looking forward to hearing any updates you can share and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
Thank you again for your time and the opportunity.
Best regards,

Almost every graduate job will have other candidates interviewing for the same position.

To successfully secure a role and give your application the edge, it’s important to take the time to prepare in the right ways and be aware of what employers are looking for.

Implement our seven tips for how to stand out in an interview and leave a great lasting impression on an employer.

Applying to graduate jobs? Discover the latest graduate jobs in Australia today.


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