New Graduates And Job Interviews

Very recently I had to interview applicants for an entry-level job to replace an employee who was resigning to pursue further studies. This position was also open to those who are new graduates.
The main problem with interviewing a jobseeker with no experience is that there is no track record to assess. The new graduate may think that they are at grave disadvantage to those who’ve already had work experience. Although those with previous job experience usually do have an edge, the fact that the company is entertaining new graduates means that they also have a chance. In fact, there are companies that prefer newbies in the belief that they have not yet acquired bad habits and tend to be more obedient.
For those who just graduated or have not yet found work, I offer some basic advice to improve your chances:
Do not apply if you do not meet the company’s mandatory requirements. You will just be wasting your time if you are not qualified for the position. Unless the position is impossible to fill, it will be virtually impossible for you to be accepted. Not all requirements are mandatory even if they are listed as among the criteria. Unless it is stated as necessary or is legally prescribed, then there is a chance the requirement is not absolute.
Get an NBI clearance. Most establishments will require an NBI clearance before you are accepted. Do not wait until you are requested to provide one. Since you will need it anyway, it is best to get the clearance before starting your job hunting. Lacking an NBI clearance gives the impression that you are unprepared. Note that the NBI clearance can also serve as an additional ID.
Research on what the company does and other relevant matters. Knowing many things about the company you are applying for shows plenty of positive traits. First, it indicates your industriousness and preparedness. Lazy people are more likely to just go into an interview without doing research. Another point is that it indicates a willingness to work in the company since you already know what the position entails.
Bring along at least two IDs. Most recent graduates have only their school IDs to show. Unfortunately, often times you have to leave this with the guard and you are given a visitor’s pass. Many employers, however, would ask for your ID so it would be best if you have another one with you. Get a government-issued ID with your picture on it.
Know the requirements and traits desirable for the position. Look at the job advertisement. Look for your experiences and skills that would best tie in to the employer’s requirements and highlight them in your resume/credentials and in your interview responses. For example, if it says knowledge of MS Office software, then you should try to present documentation such as a certificate attesting to your training in that software. You could also point out in your transcript of records that you have a subject on that skill.
Detail your OJT experiences. You may think that your OJT activities are just composed of trivial items. Perhaps you were just assigned to file, fax, encode or do some other routine office tasks. Nevertheless, what’s important is not only your work output, but also your attitude to the task and how well you interacted with your supervisor and co-workers, especially since they may be asked during background checking.
Be prepared to give helpful details on your extracurricular activities. Your extracurricular activities provide a better view into your true interests since you are the one who selected them. These are very critical if you will be applying for positions that have the potential to be promoted to management. Leadership potential cannot be seen in academic records.
Bring the original transcript of your school records along with photocopies. Many people find photocopied records less credible than the original transcript. You must bring along the original with you, even if you only plan to leave the photocopies. Since new graduates have little or no working experience, there are fewer objective ways of gauging your capabilities. Due to this, your school records will play a vital role on how you would be rated.
Show your determination and desire to have the job. To do this, you must show conviction in doing difficult or non-glamorous tasks. While everyone wishes to do the desirable work, newcomers are expected to do the least liked jobs. Treat the difficulties as the stepping stones to your future.

*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. BB1, Wednesday, February 27, 2013. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.