Entry-level job interviews can be more in-depth than your average part-time job interview.
This is likely your first opportunity to experience an interview related to your career field.
Knowing the right and wrong ways to answer some of the questions you will face can help set you up for success.
In part two, we will look at 5 additional common interview questions for entry-level job seekers and how to answer each.
1. "What activities do you enjoy outside of work or school?"
You have a life outside of work. Employers know this and they want to see what you are engaged in.
If you are a part of any activities related to your career field, this would be an excellent time to discuss them.
Feel free to discuss any clubs, organizations, or activities you participate in such as sports teams, art activities, social clubs, etc.
What to Say: “I am active in a professional organization related to our field at the university. I’m also involved in the local roller derby team in town and serve on the board of directors.”
What Not to Say: “I don’t really have any hobbies besides watching TV.”
2. "Give me an example of a time you worked in a group? What was your role?"
Knowing how to collaborate well with others is one of the most important soft skills you can have.
Employees want to know that you have experience working with others and know how to communicate with a group.
Prepare some examples of when you worked in a group.
Know what role you played in those projects and how you performed in that role.
If you have examples of how you mediated conflict or made processes more efficient, use those to showcase your abilities.
What to Say: "In my English capstone, I had to work in a group to put together an anthology. My role was to gather the group’s suggestions of works and locate them in our library database. I had to use my communication skills to reach out to each group member and get their top 3 choices promptly."
What Not to Say: "I hated group work in college. One time, I had to work in a group to give a report for my Ethics class. No one in the group was willing to help me on my part, and I wasn’t sure what I needed to do. It was stupid."
3. "Describe a situation in which someone critiqued your work. How did you respond?"
Getting feedback is a part of any job.
Being able to handle that feedback will play a role in your success at a job.
If you are unable to handle criticism, you likely won’t do well in a professional setting.
Think of a situation where someone critiqued your work and recall how you responded to their criticism.
Demonstrate that you able to handle the criticism with grace and professionality, understand where the criticism was coming from, and how you were able to apply the criticism and respond.
What to Say: "In Creative Writing, I had submitted a play that I had written. One student critiqued that my subject matter was too complex and she wasn’t able to relate. While I didn’t agree, I could understand where she was coming from, as I did choose a complicated subject matter. I thanked her for her critique and asked how I could make the play more relatable."
What Not to Say: "In my Creative Writing course, I submitted a play I had written. One student didn’t understand the play and told me it wasn’t relatable. I thought that was stupid and let her know that she was dumb for not understanding."
4. "What do you know about our company?"
This question is standard in most job interviews, whether you are an entry-level job seeker or a more experienced worker.
Hiring Managers want to know that your interest in the position is more than just surface level.
Before going into your interview, research the company, their product/service, and their culture.
Pull information from their website, social platforms, and employee reviews.
Not only will this be helpful in your interview, but it will also help you determine whether the company is a company you would like to work at.
What to Say: "I have been following your company on social media for a while. As someone fascinated by digital media, I feel like your company is on the cutting edge and able to adapt to the changes in the market. I also love the culture you have built at your company and would like to be apart of that."
What Not to Say: "I don’t know anything about your company. I just really need this job."
5. "What are your long-term career goals?"
Examining your long-term career goals is a way for the hiring manager to gauge your goals can be met by the company.
It’s also an excellent way to see what level of ambition you have and how realistic the goals you set are.
As an entry-level job seeker, this may seem like a difficult question to answer.
You need to keep your answer honest, but relevant to the position and industry.
Showcase your interest in the field and growing your knowledge related to the field.
Look up a reasonable career path for the position you are applying to and outline your path within the next 5 years.
What to Say: "Long-term, I hope to use the position of Digital Media Specialist to become a subject matter expert in digital media and social media. I hope to progress in your company in digital and social media, expanding my knowledge and helping your company grow and adapt to the field."
What Not to Say: "I’m not sure what I want to do long-term. I probably want to be at a bigger company in a year or so and be making a lot of money. I think I could be like a manager or director in that time."