Interview with Jenny Patrickson, Managing Director, Active IQ: Part 2 Preparation is everything!

by | Oct 1, 2017

In the second part of my interview with Jenny Patrickson, Managing Director, Active IQ we talked about her experience as a graduate and what she learned from it. (If you missed part one you can read that here.)

3. What was your first graduate interview like?

Challenging but enjoyable! I had prepared well and therefore felt comfortable in that environment.  There was of course some natural nervousness because you wonder whether you will be able to respond well to whatever questions are directed at you, but I believe that if you’re not slightly nervous then your probably don’t care enough about the role you’re going for.

Top tips:

  • Preparation is everything! It’s seems such an obvious thing, but make sure that you do your research on the organisation that is interviewing you.  I am still surprised now when interviewing, at the number of people who haven’t done this basic research. Also, be honest, if there’s something that you haven’t done before, be up front about it, but suggest instead how you would tackle such a situation.
  • Also, very importantly, really listen to what is being asked to ensure that you don’t stumble your way through an answer because you were perhaps too nervous to focus.

My key learnings:

Do your research!

for me it comes down to communication style

When it comes down to deciding who should have the role when faced with two equally-qualified candidates, for me it comes down to communication style and how a person engages with others.  Emotional intelligence and all that entails, in terms of how effectively a person interacts with others is, I believe, essential.  If someone has a wide range of technical qualifications and expertise in the field that I work in but doesn’t communicate in a positive and empathetic way, the likelihood is they won’t interact well with customers or with other members of the team.

4. What steps did you take and what steps would you advise students to take to prepare for the world of work?

Gain experience as well as relevant qualifications.  Qualifications will give you the knowledge and skills you need, and the confidence to know that you’re on the right track, but nothing beats experience and having the opportunity to apply what you have learnt or are learning.  Also, it’s experience that will set you apart from the crowd, when you take into account that there will be many other individuals with the same qualifications as you.

Top tip:

Whether it’s working part-time or volunteering, anything you can do to develop your communication skills and ability to work as a team will also stand you in good stead for your first entry role.

My key learnings:

Learning never stops, therefore look for informal ways to further prepare yourself for the world of work, outside of the formal education you have received.  Don’t assume you are at the end of journey of learning when you leave university or finish an apprenticeship – your first entry role is just the start of the journey.

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5. How do you think coaching would help a student or recent graduate as they search for their first or second job role?

I’ve certainly benefited from coaching and mentoring and have found it a useful way to gain alternative perspectives on business issues and to share thoughts and problems to come up with ideas and solutions.  Firstly, find a mentor that you feel comfortable with and establish early on what you want to achieve from coaching.  Setting clear SMART objectives is also invaluable to help you to understand what you are trying to achieve and how you are going to go about it (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-framed).

Questions asked by Jonathan Gallie, owner of Your Horizon.