How To Ace Your Placement Interview

University is a time filled with exciting challenges and new experiences. For those studying a degree with Advanced Practice, this is likely to include a placement  in industry.

Placements provide invaluable real-world experience for students, having practical experience alongside a Masters degree will make you stand out in the job market. However, securing a placement can also be competitive. The interview is a crucial part of successfully applying for a position at a company, whether it be in an internship or a high-level job, and making a good impression is essential. We have put together a brief guide to interview best practice and preparation.

Research

It may seem obvious but, before attending your interview, you must research the company you are interviewing for. This means more than just visiting their website once and giving it a quick scan; read the ‘about’ page carefully, making sure you fully understand not just what they do but their philosophy and mission statement. Look up the founders and the current CEO and, if possible, the person interviewing you to get an idea of their professional backgrounds.

Googling the company and clicking on the ‘news’ tab can reveal any recent coverage, both positive and negative – the more you know, the more prepared you will feel. Nothing the interviewer tells you in the interview should be a surprise. It is also important to prepare intelligent questions about the organisation. Not only does this show your interest and engagement but also, they will almost certainly ask you if you have any – saying no looks a little lacklustre.

It is also wise to spend some time researching the industry surrounding the organisation. Have there been any major events, innovations or changes recently? Familiarising yourself with these topics can give you an edge over other candidates, especially if you can converse intelligently on them. Look up the aspects of the industry that you are interested in – your passion and curiosity will shine through and your interviewer will be able to tell. If you want to know where to start, why not check out our business and marketing reviews of 2018 for some ideas of what to look for?

Finally, the role itself. You should know what will be required of you so that you are prepared to demonstrate your suitability. Research similar positions at other companies and try asking your tutor if you’re still not sure what it may entail. Your interviewer won’t expect you to know everything, you can still ask questions (as we mentioned before, this is a good thing to do!) but by making sure you are as prepared as possible, you can get rid of the worst of your nerves.

Presentation

According to Business Insider, first impressions are formed in the first seven seconds of meeting someone. This means that, even before you speak, you have an opportunity to impress your interviewer. Make sure you:

  • Arrive on time – give yourself time to spare and plan your route there before the day
  • Dress smartly
  • Make sure your hair is tidy and, if this applies to you, your make-up is appropriate
  • Smile and introduce yourself
  • Make eye contact and shake hands
  • Wait to be asked to sit down

These are all simple actions, but you would be surprised at how many candidates don’t make the effort. Being polite and presentable will earn you points and is likely to leave a good impression.

Experience and studies

During the interview itself, it is important to demonstrate your worth as a candidate by speaking about your previous relevant experience. Anything you have previously done that has used transferrable skills is useful – even if you were head waiter at a restaurant – you can explain how coordinating a team taught you organisation, time management and delegation. You want to show how other positions you have occupied have potentially prepared you for this particular role.

Your interviewer will be aware that you are a university student who is currently studying. They will want to know how your current course relates to the placement and why you have chosen this industry and, more specifically, this organisation. Don’t let this question catch you off-guard – it is practically inevitable, and you should make sure you have a thorough and well thought-out answer prepared.

By following these simple tips you will improve your chances of impressing your interviewers and, hopefully, get that phone call!

We offer an Advanced Practice study option on many of our postgraduate degrees from a range of Business, Digital Marketing, Computing and Cyber Security programmes. To view our Advanced Practice courses please visit our Advanced Practice page.

If you want more information about studying at Northumbria University London, visit our website, or to view the courses available please visit our courses page.

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