Don’t Be A Boring Candidate


As I meet young graduates looking to get a job, I often come across the same interview answers time and time again. The most common answers I hear are, “I have good attention-to-detail skills”, “I am eager to learn and contribute”, and “I want to develop my skills”. These are typical answers many employers get when interviewing graduates.

In a competitive job market, a recruiter or hiring manager often has, on average, four to five interviews for one position.

If all the candidates say similar things, they have no way to really remember you or your strong points as you won’t stand out. So, how can you be different?

Be professional and honest

When an employer wants to know about you, they really want to know your individual journey, your actual interest(s) and what made you choose this career path. Giving a generic answer doesn’t add value to you as a candidate.

For example instead of saying, “I am eager to learn and contribute as I want to develop my career in Finance”, which is commonly said, you can instead say, “I have always had a passion and interest in Finance. That is why I have dedicated myself to my studies. Apart from this being my career, I actually enjoy all aspects of the finance industry. I constantly keep myself informed by…”

By giving clear, specific examples, you are demonstrating your passion and will be more believable than when you just say that you are “passionate about finance”.

Show enthusiasm and excitement!

At the end of the day, you need to sell yourself. Otherwise, no one will buy you! It’s a simple but important fact. Many of our host companies say that one of the top reasons students don’t get past the interview stage is because they lack personality.
You can be professional and passionate at the same time. Many times, the interviewer is noticing how you answer the questions rather than what you actually say.

Be an individual

This may be hard but you really need to understand that there are a lot of graduates out there with the same qualifications as you. You need to find what makes you unique and different from others. You need to know your skills and selling points.

A good way to do this is to always back up a statement with an example. For instance if you say, “I am a good team player” and end it there, it isn’t good! Instead you can back up the statement by saying, “I am a good team player as I have continually demonstrated my ability to help others in university projects and my part-time work. For example, there was this one time I…”

As you can see, the second example is more believable and the employer will have more confidence that you actually have that skill.

So before your next interview, whether it is for our Work Integrated Learning Program or not, have a thorough think about these 3 things. They will give your interviewer or your placement consultant a better sense of who you are and what you can actually contribute to the company, and set you up for success.

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