College grad interviewing tips

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Q: My son is a recent graduate of a local university.  He is headed to a second interview in early July.  He was told by the recruiter that they like a candidate to “come prepared with questions” for the face-to-face interview.  My son is both nervous and an introvert.  He won’t ask questions unless he has them prepared before the interview.  What questions should a recent college graduate be asking when they are interviewed for a job?

A:  Congratulations to both you and your son!  Job hunting, and interviewing especially, can be a daunting experience!  Here are some tips for your son’s face-to-face interview:

  1. Dress the part. Learn the dress code, even if there isn’t a written one.  Dress one step up.  If employees are wearing jeans, wear pressed khakis and a button-down dress shirt. It is far better to be overdressed than underdressed.
  2. Arrive a few minutes early. Leave nothing to chance.  Ensure extra time is built in for travel delays.
  3. Allow extra time for additional interviews. If your son is asked to interview with additional employees from the company, that is a good sign.  He should allow for additional interviews if he is interested in this role.
  4. Check the LinkedIn profiles of the interviewers in advance.
  5. Bring a few extra hard copies of resumes to the interview.
  6. Research the company in advance. Understand what they do and their mission.
  7. Take notes. Note-taking demonstrates interest.
  8. I agree with the recruiter. Be prepared with questions.  Some sample questions might include:
    1. What makes you excited about working at ABC? What kind of opportunities are available for strong performers?
    2. How would you describe the culture at ABC?
    3. From your company website, it sounds like DEF and GHI are competitors. Is that accurate?  Who else do you consider competitors?
    4. What are the critical skills required for this role?
    5. What are the most important accomplishments for this role in the first 90 days?
  9. Finally, a thank-you note or email should be sent to all of the interviewers. It is important and shows professionalism.

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.