How to ace an interview with not-so-great grades

Have you ever looked at your transcript and felt disheartened? Have you thought that since the job market is super competitive that you won’t get a job? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one! Whilst it may appear grades are the be-all and end-all, this is not the case. As such, here’s some advice to ace the dreaded job search and subsequent interview.


We all have a dream job, whether we realise it sooner or later. If for some reason you don’t see yourself fulfilling the requirements of that job, it’s going to be ok. According to UON Careers and Student Development employment consultant, Nicola Evans, self-reflection of your skills – among other factors – is an important aspect of maximising your job search.

If you feel unsuccessful for any reason, don’t be disheartened. As part of maximising the job search, you should at the very least identify the opportunities available that play to your strengths and look for the relevant jobs that are suited to your skillset.

Transcript Alert!!!

While providing an academic transcript may be an important aspect of the job application and the interview stage, don’t fret if you’re grades aren’t what perhaps they could be. Whilst having good grades might get you to that next stage, there are numerous factors employers also look for when applying for a job and undertaking the interview.

According to Nicola, employers want to know if you will perform the work role required. This means having the motivation and evidence that you can be flexible and succeed as well as having a positive attitude.

Another important aspect that employers consider is whether you’d be a valuable member to their organisation. Every workplace has a set of values and employers tend to look for people to fulfil them. By doing a bit of research on the places you’re applying, you can make sure you’re a right fit for the employment environment.

Finally, don’t just stick to studies; broaden your horizon. Employers are looking for those who have the relevant “training, skills and experience,” Nicola notes.


Everyone has a myriad of skills. Whilst undertaking studies at UON, we are expected to learn six skills. These are critical analysis, teamwork, oral and written communication, problem solving information literacy, and use of technology.

While we could be top-notch at all of these skills, it is best to concentrate on “your top four or five” in preparing for job interviews, according to Nicola.

Therefore, identifying the most relevant skills to a given job “is core to strong job applications and persuasive interview performances”.


You might have nailed the job application, but it usually isn’t worth it if you haven’t also prepared for the interview. If you’re one of the lucky bunch to score a job interview it means you’ve convinced the selection committee that you fulfil the requirements for the job, so don’t disappoint!

Preparation is key. While it may be tedious, you should at the very least, research the job and organisation. Investigating “how you can value add to the organisation”, as well as “understanding the interview process”, including, but not limited to: “what type of interview it will be, who will be on the panel and anticipating what types of questions you will be asked” are extremely important, says Nicola. Finally, never forget to ace the basic techniques such as handshakes, eye contact and body language. It can make all the difference!

As mentioned, don’t put too much pressure on yourself if you don’t have the grades you hoped for. Employers are not looking at grades the way they used to. Instead there is an increasing emphasis on experience as well as your value to the organisation. Good luck, and get those resumes flowing!


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