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Pull your socks UP!!

Graduates spend twice as long getting suited and booted for a job interview as they do re-searching the position, new research reveals.

The typical university leaver takes 28 minutes to shower, 13 minutes to dress and a further 19 minutes to shave or apply make-up in a bid to ‘dazzle and impress’ prospective employ-ers. 

Most require an extra 22 minutes to make sure their hair is perfectly “coiffed, stylish and sexy” on the day.

In all the average graduate dedicates a whopping 82 minutes to pre-interview pampering. 

But despite the competitiveness of the job market, only a fraction of graduate job seekers spend as much time researching the job itself.  

A significant proportion admit their pre-interview research takes ‘no more than’ 15 minutes, with many choosing to do this in front of the TV or during other periods of ‘non-essential downtime’.

Remarkably, almost one in ten carry out no research whatsoever until the morning of the interview, when they will access the internet on a mobile phone while travelling to their destination. 

In total, the majority of graduates spend just 38 minutes preparing for an interview – less than half the time they dedicate to personal preening.

Not surprisingly, almost all of those who were offered an interview, but were unable to an-swer simple questions about a company’s history, ethos or specific role description, were not invited back. 

The poll of nearly 1,000 university graduates was conducted by Marketing Minds as part of an ongoing research project into the current employment market.

Christopher Stoakes, author of ‘Commercial Awareness’ – a best-selling guide for students and young professionals looking to enter the business world – said today’s graduates focus too much on “looking good” for interviews and not enough on the specific job opportunity.

He said: “Employers want to recruit graduates who show a genuine interest in the organisa-tion they hope to join, and the nature and depth of the research graduates conduct will be a key factor in obtaining a job. 
“Looking smart and professional for an interview is, of course, important but employers are looking for applicants who can demonstrate by their depth of research that they genuinely want the job, know what it entails and will do it with enjoyment and enthusiasm.”

The survey of 991 graduates aged 21 to 25 showed that just nine per cent spend a ‘signifi-cant amount’ of time researching the role and background information on the employer, with almost two in five (39 per cent) making only a ‘cursory check’ online. 

Remarkably, graduates’ attitudes do not appear to change even after being offered an in-terview. Only eight per cent dedicate more than hour to pre-interview preparation, with most (39 per cent) spending 37.5 minutes.
Four per cent admitted they do not prepare for interviews ‘at all’.

Some 16 per cent start preparing for an interview immediately after receiving the offer, while the majority (45 per cent) give themselves seven days to get ready.

But 13 per cent only bother to prepare on the day before the interview, with nine per cent doing so on the day itself.

Respondents blame socialising (28 per cent), working (28 per cent) and “laziness” (10 per cent) as the main reasons for failing to prepare properly for an interview.

A further 32 per cent do not research as methodically as they should because they “don’t think I’ll get the job anyway”.

Of those who have previously failed to adequately prepare for an interview, 94 per cent did not get the job.

In contrast, style-conscious graduates spend an average of 82 minutes on personal groom-ing before an interview.

Stoakes, whose series of graduate guides have sold more than 100,000 copies, said: “To-day’s graduates are sophisticated digesters of information, especially online. They are great at filtering and screening large amounts of data. 

“But they are less good at drilling down, which is what you need to do to be able to answer the key, follow-up questions that you’ll be asked at interview. 

“The risk is that they focus on the superficialities – which are important up to a point – to the neglect of the things that really matter.”

He says that in a crowded and competitive jobs market, graduates are making too many job applications and spreading themselves too thinly, adding: “I come across graduates making hundreds of job applications.

“It’s a really tough market. But as I say to them: you only need to get the one job.

“If you focus on the few that you really want and research them deeply, then you will shine at interview with your knowledge and enthusiasm and that is how you will succeed.”

  • Date published: 15th October 2015
  • Written by: Ian Thomas

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