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Graduate JobsInterviews

Preparing for interviews is one of the hardest parts of the application process for graduate jobs. It is important to do lots of preparation and discuss questions with people who have gone through it before, since some common themes emerge.

After some time you will realise that there are typical or generic questions, which apply to almost any company. For example, you need to think why you want to work for the company and it is important to avoid standard answers like the company has a good reputation. Still, there will usually be questions based on your CV, so if you read it carefully before your interview, then there is no reason why you can't score some easy points. Once you have done more detailed research about the company and industry, you will be in a better place to anticipate the types of questions that could be thrown at you in this respect. If you are applying for a training scheme, then you can say how your previous study will prepare you for the challenge that lies ahead. You need to show that you have considered a whole host of companies during your search and that you are drawn to a particular one, owing to something that differentiates it from the competition. This could be because it has more of a presence in one part of the UK or globe, or focuses on a service line that you find intriguing. Some of the more difficult questions include discussing your strengths and weaknesses with the interviewer. When discussing your strengths, you have to be careful to not come across as arrogant. Conversely, you do not want to reveal any major weaknesses. It is worthwhile thinking of examples in advance and then checking them with someone else. Also, it is important to say how you have improved, e.g. by attending a course or student group to target that particular weakness. This will show the interviewer that you are proactive and constantly thinking of ways to develop your overall skill set. On the whole, there is no doubt that interviews are difficult, since you need to react naturally to questions on the day and stay calm. Still, lots of preparation will give you the confidence to succeed and discussing key questions with others who have gone through the process will help you to avoid some of the common mistakes that people invariably makes. What's the most difficult interview question you've ever had?
arnab datta grb author

Arnab has a BSc (Hons) degree in Economics and Economic History from the LSE and is a Chartered Accountant (ACA).

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