Performance is critical during any graduate interview. This post covers graduate interview tips and 10 ways to improve your interview performance.

When I say performance, I am talking about your body language and tone of voice. Recruiters are looking to hire motivated and enthusiastic people.

It is what you say and how you say it.

It is said that over 90% of all communication is through body language. Body language and the signals we send out can vary from country to country so it is important to do some research.


Top 10 graduate interview tips

1. Arriving for your graduate interview

A small, but very important point. When you arrive at the venue for your interview be polite and friendly to every person you meet, from the receptionist to the security staff. This will create a favourable impression and could give you the edge over another, equally qualified candidate.

2. Eye contact

Maintain eye contact with your interviewer(s) around 90% of the time especially when he/she is speaking but be careful not to stare.

Avoiding eye contact may show nervousness and you could even give the impression that you are not providing the whole truth.

3. Smile

Warmth and enthusiasm are very important qualities. First impressions really count, and smiling can help you to feel at ease. Research states that even a fake smile can improve your mood and reduce stress.

A top graduate interview tip is to give the impression that you are happy to be there. Smile when talking about your achievements and your strengths, as this will positively reinforce what you are saying.

4. Firm handshake

This will often be the very first thing you will do, so aim to get it right.

Have you ever shaken a limp, damp hand? It’s not pleasant, is it? Both a weak handshake and a bone crushing one will leave their mark on an employer. Try to stick to a firm and dry handshake that will demonstrate confidence. Why not practice on a friend today?

5. Stand and sit up straight

This may sound obvious but take a look in the mirror and correct your posture so you are really standing tall. Lengthen your body. Maintain a straight posture during your interview and avoid hunching your shoulders forwards.

6. Actively listen

Nod occasionally and use words such as “yes” or “I understand” to show that you are actively listening.

7. Stop fidgeting

Constant fidgeting with your hair or jewellery can come across as anxiety. Try to keep your hands lightly on your lap or resting on a table.

Fidgeting can be an unconscious habit, try to notice if you tend to do this and begin creating good habits from now.

8. Use your hands

When you want to emphasise a particular point it can be useful to use your hands. Hand gestures can make people appear sincere and credible.

Studies have found that people who communicate through active gesturing tend to be seen as warm, agreeable and energetic, while those who remain still (or whose gestures seem mechanical or “wooden”) are seen as logical, cold, and analytical.

Next time you watch a politician make a speech or watch a TED talk, notice how the speaker uses their hands.

Read our article “8 inspiring TED talks for students” for more graduate interview tips, in particular Amy Cuddy’s “Your body language shapes who you are” talk.

9. Avoid Crossing your Arms

This is generally seen as a negative action. Crossed arms looks defensive, employers might think “what are they hiding?” However, crossed legs are perfectly fine.

10. Using the Right Tone

Just like actors, try to use high and low tones in your speaking voice. High to show enthusiasm and excitement about a subject, and low to portray seriousness.

Avoid speaking too quickly as this is often a sign of nerves and makes it difficult for the listener to follow your train of thought.

Emphasise key words. Just as you have the Bold function in MS Word, use this to highlight your key points for example your skills.

Remember to leave pauses in your sentences to give the interviewer a chance to take it all in and perhaps take notes.


when the interview is over, thank the interviewer and smile as you leave the room!

Hope you put these graduate interview tips into action. If you want free careers advice or have an interview coming up soon, book a free consultation with us today.

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