You’ve made it through graduation, found a job, and have an interview lined up!
You are on your way to joining the professional world.
But first, it’s time to prepare for your interview.
Going into an entry-level position means it is most likely your first job opportunity in your field of study.
While you may have had a job in college or an internship, an entry-level job interview is usually more in-depth.
Knowing what questions you might be asked can help prepare you for the interview.
In this two-part series, I will cover common interview questions for entry-level job seekers and give you advice on what to say and what not to say.
1. “Tell me a little about yourself.”
This is a great ice-breaker for the interviewer and a great way for you to show how personable you are.
Your answer should be short and concise, covering your educational background and any relatable professional experience, such as internships and certifications.
Avoid oversharing and giving out too personal information.
What to Say: “While attending a university, I developed a passion for literature and writing. As I worked on my Bachelor of Arts in English, I had the opportunity to work in digital media as a digital content writer for ABC Industries. I am interested in pursuing a career in digital marketing and content writing.”
What Not to Say: “I was born in Mississippi. I have a brother. I went to high school at ABC High School. After high school, I moved to Texas. After Texas, I moved to Louisiana….” and continue for 20 minutes giving a detailed history of your entire life.
2. “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
Your interviewer wants to know that you can identify your strengths required for the role, while also acknowledging your potential weaknesses and how you are working on them.
Do some introspection and choose a few strengths that you can back up with notable examples.
For weaknesses, choose an actual fault of yours and give details on how you are working to improve that.
Try to avoid cliches and false negatives, like being caring too much or being a perfectionist.
What to Say: “My greatest strength is probably my excellent communications skills. With my background in English, I have developed solid communications skills which
In the past, I have struggled with not asking for the help I may need. I realize that this is a weakness as it holds me back from learning from someone else. I am working on asking for help and input more often on my projects."
What Not to Say: “I have so many strengths. I am awesome and perfect. I don’t really have weaknesses, but if I had to name one, it would probably be that I work too hard and care too much.”
3. "Why are you interested in this position?"
Employers want to know that you are interested in this position for more than just the money.
If they hire you, they are investing in you and want to make sure their investment is worthwhile.
Use this question to describe what drew you to the position and relate that interest to your qualifications and experience.
Be specific about your goals and how this role will help you meet those goals.
What to Say: “I am very interested in digital marketing, and I believe this position of digital content specialist will be a great opportunity for me to learn more about digital marketing and further develop my skills. I also feel that I can bring a unique outlook to the role because of my background in Literature.”
What Not to Say: “I really need a job, and this seems easy.”
4. "What classwork has best prepared you for this role?"
As an entry-level job seeker, you don’t have a lot of professional level experience to pull from.
Interviewers use this question to see if you can make real world, practical connections between your educational background and the professional world.
If you have taken classes with knowledge directly relating to the role, this would be a great time to discuss it.
If not, focus on group project experience or other related academic experience and highlight skills you developed through that.
What to Say: “In my Technical Writing course, I learned how to craft and deliver professional and technical content. I learned how to draft professional documents, such as in-depth reports that effectively translated complex data into understandable written content.”
What Not to Say: “I didn’t learn anything tied to work, and any classes related to my career field were boring.”
5. "How would your past professors describe you?"
As an entry-level job seeker, your professors are going to be the ones who know your work ethic the best.
They have seen how you handle challenging assignments, manage deadlines, and interact with others.
By asking you this question, your interviewer is not only looking for objective opinions on how you work but also, your ability to judge yourself from an outside perspective.
Use the feedback you have received from your professors to determine how they would describe you.
What to Say: “Based on feedback I received from my professors, I believe they would describe me as a hard-working, creative person. I had a couple of professors I admire describe my work on major assignments as some of the best work in the class, and the Dean of Liberal Arts once personally applaud my paper and ask me to submit it for publication.”
What Not to Say: “I don’t know. I didn’t have a relationship with my professors. I didn’t get to know any of them."