Overcoming The Experience Gap In A Graduate Interview

By: Jonathan Walker

Graduation is an exciting time for anybody has had earned a degree by working hard throughout their time in University. Once you have graduated, the long process of delving through the many job sites available to you begins. No doubt you’ve registered with many and may have had a few interviews, however it is likely that you have been unsuccessful due to a “lack of relevant experience”.

As a Graduate seeking a job, it its vital that you understand what “experience” is and why it is always relevant for employers. For example in any interview, the employer will ask a few basic questions which will establish the candidates suitability for the role. These are likely to include asking what the candidate has done before to asses if it is relevant to the role. If it is, then they will try to ascertain how successful they were.

When asking these questions, a few simple recruitment “methods” will come into play. It’s well known amongst those who work in recruitment that people’s basic traits and behavior are consistent over time. To put this in perspective, if a candidate has done well at a previous task to the one that lies ahead, they will more than likely be a success again. An interviewer will be looking to establish if this will be the case with you.

How is this relevant to a graduate with little to no real work experience? Well a potential employer will have a list of traits or experience that they would like to see. If the interviewer can find somebody being successful in the job advertised for a different company, then the decision could be pretty much made on the spot. However there will still be some questions that would need to be addressed. For example, if somebody is that successful in the similar role, why would they be applying in what would be considered to be a sideways move? Perhaps they aren’t as successful as they appear to be? Have they fallen out with management or co-workers. This could then make them think that a fresh faced, determined graduate who is highly motivated to make an impact could prove to be the better option.

In the interview, your aim is to find achievements from your past that can be related to the job you are applying for. For example, you could be are applying for a sales job, but have never been employed in that capacity before. To begin with, consider the definition of selling. Selling is ultimately persuading somebody to decide upon something. Have you ever done this before? There is no doubt you have and you would have done this by selling the benefits of your proposition against their current choice of thought. For example if you convinced somebody to go out instead of stay in, you have persuaded them by selling the benefits of your proposition.

All you will need to do is to demonstrate that you understand what is required in any role and show the processes that you can go through to be a success. This will show your potential in the role and many employers do favor to employ graduates.

You should also make a conscious effort in the interview to remind employers that whilst you may not match others of more direct experience, you do have transferable skills you can demonstrate and also that you are hungry to prove a point and want to make your mark.

Finally, please don’t be put off if you are not successful immediately by not getting the first job that you apply for. The truth is very few people do and interviews are like anything, they take practice.

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