Getting your first graduate role in IT can be tough. Entry-level jobs in the industry are competitive, with hundreds of graduates vying for the best positions in top companies.
You’ll first need to have a standout CV to help you through the initial selection procedure. If you’re invited to an interview, give yourself the best chance of securing the role of your dreams. This is your chance to prove you’re the right person and show what you can offer that other candidates can’t.
We have put together our top tips for graduates attending interviews for their first job in IT.
A good interview is about the preparation time you put in. Make sure you know who you are interviewing for and find out a little bit about the company (see below). Practise the common questions you’re likely to be asked, and review your CV so you know what you have written. Have working examples ready for common situations, such as when you’ve solved a problem or worked as a team. Plan your outfit in advance and get it laid out, clean and ironed. Research the location and how you’re getting there, whether there is parking or how far it is from the station. Aim to be early to give yourself time in case anything goes wrong, for example, bad traffic, roadworks or delays. Being organised is a key skill for any job and your preparation will pay off.
Research the company
There is no excuse to not spend some time researching the company you’re interviewing for. Look at their website to get a feel for the business and their ethos. You can get a good idea about their workplace culture on their social media channels. Look for any news pieces about the company, especially in trade press, as this can detail their latest developments. Showing current knowledge in a company exhibits interest and enthusiasm.
Use the resources available
There is a lot of help available for new graduates and students who are soon to graduate. For a start, registering with a recruitment agency can give you access to additional resources. This includes CV advice, interview tips, employer information, practice tests and more. Your own university will have a careers service to help you get ready for the working world too. It’s worth dropping by and seeing what they can offer you. This may include the chance to undertake a mock interview and receive feedback on your performance. They can advise you on the best ways to answer common questions. They may also be able to help you prepare for any technical assessments.
Take a deep breath
Interviews can be quite overwhelming and many of us tend to rush through our answers. When the interviewer has asked their question, it’s okay to take a pause and think about what you want to say. It’s much better to breathe, focus and give a well-thought-out response. If you’re being asked about a specific situation and how you would deal with it, you will need a moment to think of evidence that proves your capability. Think back over your experiences at university and in your placements, to find examples that suit the scenario. An interviewer would rather you took your time and gave a comprehensive answer.
Technical interviews are often performed during the recruiting process for IT jobs. Your interview may be split into a traditional interview portion and then a technical section, or it may be separate. A technical interview is an assessment of the knowledge and skills that are required for the job you’re applying for. The interviewer will likely ask about your CV and the skills you have listed on there. They will also be looking to find out more about your level of competency in certain IT skills and software. Be honest – there is little point in exaggerating your abilities as you would soon get found out. Sometimes technical tests can be practical, so you may be asked to solve a problem or design a basic program for a specific scenario. In the lead-up to the technical interview, practice the skill or programme under assessment.
If you are looking for your first job in IT as a graduate, take a look at our current graduate vacancies to see what is available near you.