As students interview for their first jobs after college, they should understand that each interview is a chance to convince the employer that they “can” and “will” benefit that organization. Employers hire students who will get things done, make things better and contribute to the success of the organization. Both the questions that students answer and the questions they ask are important to their interviewing success. Sample questions are provided below.
Be prepared to answer these questions:
1. How are you different from other candidates who will be interviewed for this job?
2. What will your last employer tell us about you?
3. What job-related strengths will you bring to this position?
4. Tell me about some of the suggestions you made in your last job.
5. Tell me about the kinds of decisions you made in your last job.
6. Tell me about several things you have been criticized for in the past.
7. Describe a job-related problem you have recently solved.
8. What is the single most important idea you contributed to you last job?
9. How do your reading, writing, speaking and presentation skills compare to others?
10. Tell me about a time when you were the leader of a group and accomplished something important.
These questions are designed to learn about a student’s involvement and participation in a variety of work and college activities. If the student did not hold a part-time or summer job, these same questions should be answered by referring to the student’s contributions to the activities in which he/she participated.
Questions you may want to ask:
1. What would you like me to accomplish in the first year on the job?
2. What career opportunities exist for someone who produces consistently superior results?
3. In this job, what is the most important contribution I can make?
4. Would it be possible to talk with a highly successful recruit from last year?
5. How can I get off to a good start with my supervisor?
6. What mistakes do first year employees typically make?
7. What is the culture and work environment in this company and department?
8. What challenges can I expect to face in this position?
9. Can you describe the most important responsibilities I will have in this position?
10. As a new employee, I know there is a lot to learn. Is there some material I can read to get an early start?
The questions you ask must demonstrate your work ethic, interest in doing a good job and desire to make your employer successful. Students who ask “What’s in it for me?” questions will not impress employers. They want to know what you can do for them.
Wise students anticipate and practice the questions they will answer. However, it is the questions they ask that are likely to lead to more job offers.