You’ve made it through graduation, found a potential 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 an internship or job in college, an entry-level job interview is often more in-depth.
Knowing what questions you might be asked can help you prepare.
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.
It is also a great way for you to show how personable you are.
- Your answer should be short and concise.
- Include your educational background.
- Share 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 as a digital content writer for ABC Industries. I hope to pursue 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 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.
If you can indicate how you are working on turning weaknesses into strengths, that's a plus.
- Take some time to do a bit of introspection.
- Choose a few strengths that you can back up with notable examples.
- For weaknesses, choose an actual fault of yours.
- Give details on how you are working to improve that.
Try to avoid cliches and false negatives, like perfectionism or caring too much.
What to say: “My greatest strength is probably my excellent communications skills. With my background in English, I have developed solid communications skills, which has helped me communicate effectively with clients and colleagues.
I have struggled with not asking for help I need. I realize this is a weakness as it holds me back from learning from others. 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 hope you are interested in this position for more than 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.
- Then, 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. I believe this position of digital content specialist will be an opportunity for me to learn more 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 experience.
Interviewers use this question to see if you can make practical, real-world connections between your educational background and the professional world.
If you took 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 experiences and highlight the 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 much tied to work. Classes related to my career field were boring.”
5. "How would your past professors describe you?"
As a recent graduate, your professors 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; the hiring manager also wants to grasp 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. A couple of professors I admire described my work on major assignments as some of the best work in the class, and the Dean of Liberal Arts once personally applauded my paper and asked me to submit it for publication.”
What not to say: “I don’t know. I didn’t get to know any of my professors."
Interested in more interview prep?
Or, for more information, read the 50 Top Job Interview Questions & Answers.
If you still need some extra help refining your pitch, feel free to reach out to us at Find My Profession.
Our goal is to help you find vocational success and land your dream job.