How to prepare for a Graduate Program interview

You’ve landed a graduate program interview! That’s the first step. Your responsibilities may vary, but they are generally guided by a manager as you learn, train, and attend workshops and meetings. You might shadow staff members and will most likely have a degree relevant to the industry you are training in.

Being prepared is the most important task! If you know how to give complete answers, you worry less and are able to ask better questions. All of this improves the odds that you will be assessed fairly, especially if the focus of the interview is on detailed discussions about your major accomplishments.

Overall job interview preparation for graduates is key to ensuring your first impression with a future employer is positive. Make sure that you know the company well, understand the job description, and practice ahead of time.

Interview preparation questions:

Here are a few graduate program interview preparation questions to practice

  1. Tell me a bit about yourself
  2. Why do you want to work here?
  3. How have you demonstrated leadership qualities at university?
  4. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  5. Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
  6. What was your biggest achievement at university?
  7. Why should we hire you?
  8. Are you a team player?
  9. Do you have any questions for us?
  10. What was the worst part of your course?
  11. What skills do you have that will help you complete this program?
  12. Can you explain how this graduate program might benefit your career?
  13. What do you hope to gain from your time at our company?
  14. What do you hope to contribute to our company during your time here?
  15. How do you plan to make the most of this graduate program?


* Tips on answering these questions: align your experience to the attributes listed on the job posting and/or company culture and values

Questions to ask your interviewers:

The type of questions you may want to ask will depend on who is interviewing you, or which round of interviews you are currently in.

  1. What is your favorite thing about being a part of this firm?
  2. What can I expect in terms of company culture? 
  3. What are some of the unexpected realities of this program ? 
  4. What common characteristics have helped people at this level quickly succeed and reach an outstanding performance? 
  5. I know graduate programs to be very dynamic. What can I expect my day-to-day to look like ?

Interview follow up:

They say small kindnesses never go unnoticed and this is particularly true when it comes to interviewing.

A simple thank you email to your interviewer goes a long way to cementing you in their minds long after your interview is over. Your email could be as simple as thanking the interviewer for their time, or mentioning a particular part of the interview you enjoyed. This would also be a good opportunity to extend your interest in connecting via Linkedin. 

Your interviewer will generally set the expectation for when you can expect to hear back from them. If nothing is set, a good timeframe for a follow up is two weeks after the interview.

Checklist for the day of your interview: 

  1. Get a good night’s sleep - This allows your body and mind to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert when you wake up, ready to ace your interview!

  2. Start your day with breakfast - You might find you feel a bit sluggish and struggle to focus if you don’t.  Breakfast positively affects your mental performance, including your attention, ability to concentrate and memory. Skipping the most important meal of the day can make some tasks feel harder than they normally would.

  3. Wear clothing you’re comfortable in - The dress code can vary from business professional to business casual. With this in mind, it’s always better to overdress, rather than underdress. Comfortable clothing will also help you feel confident during your interview. 

  4. Leave your house early - Proper planning will help you arrive on time for the interview and eliminate any last minute stress.  Double-check the interview location and your best route to get there. If you’re driving there yourself, it’s a good idea to consider where you might park.

  5. If you are having an online interview, remember to log on early and test your setup. You should check your connection, camera and microphone, as well as ensuring your background or environment is free from clutter and distractions.

  6. Follow in Superman’s footsteps - Try this right before you go into the room or join your call. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, place your hands on your hips and breathe deeply. This is the Superman pose, specifically developed to encourage your body to regulate breathing and allow your mind to clear and your nerves to calm. Plus, you’ll feel like you could leap tall buildings in a single bound - what better way to take your next steps to professional success?


Now that you’ve just taken your next steps towards succeeding in your career, be sure to take a look at the Wizco Blog for more insider tips and tricks and walk into every growth opportunity prepared.