Grad Scheme interviews: What to expect and how to approach them

If you’re in your final year of university, like I am, you will probably be applying for tons and tons of graduate schemes. Some of them shoot you down instantly, but if you’re lucky, you could bag yourself an interview.

Last week I had one of these grad scheme interviews, a ‘video interview’. It went terribly. I didn’t know what to expect so I was very underprepared. I wanted to share my experience, and that of others, to help anyone else who gets their first grad scheme interview, so you don’t mess it up as I did!

Video Interview

When I saw the words ‘video interview’ I just assumed it would be like a Skype call. I was wrong. You are sent a link in an email to download an app (for mobiles) or sent to a website where your interview will take place.

Just so you know: these interviews can be done at ANY time. This was something I didn’t know when I did mine, so I waited a couple of days as I received the email at the weekend, and I had just assumed that I wouldn’t be able to do it outside office hours.

I set up the app and discovered the interview would literally just be me talking into my front camera. The app said I could do a practice question so I could get used to talking into the camera rather than looking at myself (this way you look as if you’re looking the person who will be watching the interview in the eye).

My practice question was: ‘Tell us about your previous work experience’. So I practised for a good 20 minutes trying to get my words in order, thinking this would be one of the actual questions (it wasn’t).

The questions were not quite what I was expecting; hence my complete unpreparedness. For example, one question asked: ‘What are the steps you took to secure your most successful, professional relationship?’, which completely threw me. Another was: ‘Tell us about a time you were innovative or made an existing idea, better’.

I was given 30 seconds to consider what my answer to each question would be before the app started recording, so I had to think quickly.

Before I knew it, my five questions were up, and the interview was finished. I’m still waiting to hear back, but I’m not hopeful…

Skype Interview

Hannah Patel, a third-year student at Newcastle Uni studying Geography, recently had a Skype interview for a grad scheme that she passed. She told me a bit about the process.

First, she had to set up an interview time as she would be talking to real people (unlike in the video interview). Then it functioned just like a typical interview – it was an hour-long, and the interviewer was a successful graduate scheme employee from the company she was applying to.

He asked her similar questions to what was asked in my video interview, but he also included more personable questions, inquiring about why she took the degree she is doing, and why she chose Newcastle.

I hope this has helped you with what to expect for any graduate scheme interviews in the future – I wish I had had something like this to help me out!

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