4 Reasons You're Failing Your Interviews

In a questionnaire Graduate Rescue carried out with career advisors and graduate employers we were surprised by a reoccurring statement: many of our experts felt that graduates routinely undersell themselves!

After doing a bit of research we found that this was actually a common theme from recruiters - in a poll conducted by Gumtree 42% of employer respondents said that they felt interview candidates undersell themselves. So why are we underselling ourselves when everyone’s desperate for employment?

For most grads it probably falls into one, if not all of these categories:

1. Modesty

“Why are you better than the other candidates interviewing for this position?” 

“Well, I’m qualified and have the relevant experience but I’m sure all the other candidates are really great as well!”

For most of us talking about ourselves and how fantastically brilliant we are is very unnatural, it makes us feel boastful and uncomfortable. We don’t like it when other people do it; so why would we do it ourselves?

In most situations modesty is admirable but an interview environment is not the place for it. You need to be confident, upfront and unashamed of what you can do.

That said don’t entirely throw manners out the window!
Be honest, but not arrogant. Confident but not cocky.

2. Not understanding your skills 

Going back to the earlier question, modesty aside, do you actually know why you’re the best candidate for the position?

It’s difficult to advise people on exactly how they should get a better grasp of their skill set because everyone’s different, we’re programmed to think in terms of
Generally you’ll have about an hour to impress the interviewer and they have just an hour to decide if you’re the best candidate for the role. They don’t have time to tease out of you what they’re looking for. The onus is on you to demonstrate, quickly and effectively, what you can do for them.

Grab a pen and paper and try the S.E.C. exercise: Skill-Experience-Communication.

i. Skill 

Identify the skill

ii. Experience

How do you know you possess X skill?

What experiences in your life have taught you that you’re good at this?

iii. Communication

How can you succinctly communicate this? Preparing and rehearsing the actual words and phrases you’re going to use in the interview will help you preform to the best of your abilities. Be warned though, it’s not about rhetoric. It’s not about how many buzzwords you can cram into one sentence. It is about (at the risk of sounding like a cheesy self-help guide!) saying something real, but saying it well.

Repeat with all the skills you have and you’ll start build a great set of selling points to win an interviewer over.

4. Lack of confidence

In the end most of this comes down to confidence. Confidence to be immodest, confidence in yourself and your skills.

It can be difficult to maintain your confidence when you’re at the very earliest stage of your career and lacking in experience, particularly after a few knock backs. Just remember every CEO, every top Exec, every innovating business leader, all started where you are right now!

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