Graduates spend twice as long getting suited & booted for job interviews as they do researching the position

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 answer 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 organisation 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.”

Stoakes, whose series of graduate guides have sold more than 100,000 copies, said: “Today’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.”