Rachel Gillett, Head of Project Development at Bauer Media, is also a very skilled interview trainee.
This was very convenient for me, since my quick / keen email response landed me a spot in one of Rachel's employability workshops.
Run by The Bauer Academy, Rachel very kindly shared her top tip to tackle interviews.
After all the CV, cover letter and online application graft, interviews are often the last hurdle for graduates and one we are are least prepared for.
Rachel proposes a system of having seven magic skills. Using a list of traits, including qualities like 'tact and diplomacy', 'determined', 'people skills', 'dependable' and 'collaborative', Rachel asked us to tick what we're good at and ultimately pick our top seven.
The beauty of Rachel's strategy lies in its ability to recognise what we naturally feel most comfortable with, and therefore what kind of workplace we'll naturally gravitate towards.
You can carry out the interview prep exercise alone or with the help of a trusted career-driven friend. Pick a trait and frame the answer: "I know I'm X, because Y."
For example: "I know I'm collaborative, because I always come up with my creative ideas during a debate."
"I know I'm determined because I had to a retake to get in to Bristol. I'd spend a whole day at Topshop and earn fifty pound, then spend it on a hour with an Oxford Educated tutor."
The second challenge is to do what Rachel calls, "chipping away at the iceberg even further."
You ask yourself "what else?"
This way, you're challenged to come up with another contextualised example of why you're collaborative / determined / a good time manager / etc.
"...and as a Social Media Executive, being able to have a group discussion about how best to run a campaign helped me to evaluate the pros and cons of different methods and plan accordingly."
"...and during my editorial internships, I threw myself into all the tasks I set."
You catch my drift.
Your magic seven can be chopped and changed to answer whatever question you get asked, and you have plenty of examples to draw from for 'tell me about a time you ....' style questions.
Examples can be taken from work experiences, part-time jobs, volunteering or university projects. As a graduate, its key to draw on what you've done so far and make the most of it.
I found Rachel's strategy to be a really concrete way to battle Imposter syndrome. Since the phenomenon is charactised by self-doubt and the feeling someone else, someone with more expertise or intelligence, should be doing the role, contextualised examples can counteract these worries.
If we use Rachel's strategy to contextualise our skills, we can battle Imposter Syndrome at its core. We know we're a diplomat / people person / creative / collaborator from that time we did it and lived it.
I've spoken to so many entry level grads, at employability events, careers talks and within my own social circle, who doubt their capabilities at the interview stage. I worry about the negative impact this has on us. I've self-deprecated in interviews before. Surely if i don't believe in myself, the employer never will.
By using Rachel's interview strategy to remind ourselves of our capabilities, grads can not only be prepared for interviews but give themselves a well deserved pat on the back.
This article is a first in a series of Imposter Syndrome stories. #TackleImposterSyndrome #ImposterSryndromeSeries
If you've ever experienced Imposter Syndrome, have advice for grads or a story to share then please get in touch. Tweet, Facebook, Instagram or email us.