Are you wondering what makes the entry-level interview process different from other interview models? Do you want to know what entry-level interview questions are what and answers you are to give to them? This article covers all these and more.
As a recent graduate just entering the job market freshly, there are certain questions you will most likely be asked during the job interview process. Some of these questions fall under the general interview questions and answers, while others are specific to interviews for entry-level jobs.
The importance of adequate preparation to avoid making mistakes during entry-level interviews cannot be stressed enough. While full knowledge of your resume content and career information as well as that of the company you are interviewing for is great, being armed with the interview questions that would most likely be posed to you and the answers to them is also key.
So, here’s a list of the top 10 entry-level interview questions and answers to help ease your transit into the corporate world as a newbie.
‘Tell me about yourself’ is arguably the most common interview question. The main reason for its popularity with hiring teams is that it used to break the ice and get the applicant comfortable enough to speak freely.
It is also an open-ended question that is intended to see how well you can sell yourself as the best (wo)man for the job. So, focus on telling them things that would make you stand out from the rest of the applicants.
Do not bore the interviewer with your autobiography. Your favorite food, your hobbies, the soccer team you support and so on is of no importance to the interview and the hiring manager. You must also be time conscious as it's not difficult to become involved with your back story and forget about time.
Tip: A general answer to this is to give a brief rundown of how you grew up (if its relevant to the role) where you schooled, what course you studied (your major), any entry level position experience you have, and why you applied for the position you are being interviewed for. All your answers should sum up to what makes you a good fit for the role.
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This is another general question that is commonly asked during interviews. When the interviewer/the hiring team ask you what your strengths and weaknesses are, they want to know your self assessment skills.
When speaking about your shortcomings, so to say, try to bring up weaknesses that are related to the role you’re interviewing for by relating them with either abilities/propensities or character qualities.
You might need to pick which weakness to zero on relying upon the sort ofrleb for which you’re being interviewed for. Describe a scenario in which this trait came into pot in your career and how you were able to successfully navigate it.
Tip: Discuss at least three weaknesses and strengths. Do not shy away from discussing you weaknesses. Instead, you should bring up how you are working to improve on them. Also, while honesty is key, you should avoid listing overtly horrible or corny traits as your weaknesses or strengths. It is not advisable to mention ’laziness’, ’lateness’, ’perfectionism’. Remember the goal is to make them see reasons to hire you and not to audition for a reality show.
If you are having issues coming up with your strengths and weaknesses, you can ask your friends and family for help. People often assess your personality better than you.
During entry-level interviews, like any other kind, some form of experience does help increase your chances of being hired. If you have worked part-time before, bring it up anand discuss how working with other people helped you gain both work and reallife experience, refine your communication, collaboration, problem-solving (as many as are applicable) skills.
If you do not have ex[perience, part-time or otherwise, do not lie about having one. It is not worth it as it would most likely be found out.
Tip: Plan to discuss 3 situations in which you confronted strife or trouble in one or the other work or school, experienced issues with either an administrator or peer, and an authority figure or a difficult task you were able to execute.
The ‘where do you see yourself in the next five years’ question is one interviewers ask to gauge if your career plans are in tune with the organization's.
Even if you would only be working with them for a short time, do not say this. No hiring manager wants to hear you say you would only be with them till a better opportunity ones along and you make a swift dad for it. In answering it, consider how the position could contribute to your career advancement, and help in achieving your goals.
Tip: Ideally, there is no "correct answer" to this question and it's surely alright to state that you don't have any. Be that as it may, be sure to clarify why you don't have any.
One thing you can do is minimize your professional objectives and desires (you are fresh all things considered) and things you can add to the organization and industry of the work you're applying for.
Again, as an entry-level job applicant you ould most likely have sparse work experience because you are a fresh graduate. Your qualifications would be the focus of your interview, especially since many openings for entry-level jobs usually have educational requirements listed in them. You would be asked to talk to the interviewer about your educational background to gain more insight into your qualifications.
So, here’s the thing: you are probably not in love with the field you’ve chosen and only did so for practical reasons (it’s totally okay). But do not tell the hiring manager this. You probably picked it since you thought that it was fascinating, testing, or figured it would prompt a profitable career.
Tip: The simply key to responding to this question is knowing why you picked your major and conveying it unmistakably. Be straightforward, regardless of whether yourexplanation doesn't appear to be intriguing. It's smarter to be straightforward with yourself and the interviewer in advance than endeavor to mention to them what you think they need to hear.
6. Why Are You Interested In This Role?
The answer to the ’Why are you interested in this role’ question may appear very obvious: ’I’m interested in this because I need a job’. But this such an unmotivated and ill-prepared answer.
First, the hiring manager’s duty is to hire someone who’s most suited for the role; someone who shows enough commitment and passion. So, giving this answer, however true it maybe, is far from advisable.
The hiring manager also wants to see how prepared you are for the future – your answer should cover your broad career goals to show that you are forward thinking.
Tip: When answering this question, be strategic. Spell out you explicit about your objectives and assumptions, examine how you accept your capabilities are in-accordance with those expected of the position, and be prepared to clarify why you picked this specific organization while applying.
Be specific about your goals and expectations, discuss how you believe your qualifications are in-line with those required of the position, and be ready to explain why you chose this particular company when applying.
7. Describe Your Internship Experience
As stated earlier, entry-level roles do not typically request for work experience. However, many fresh applicants acquire some form of experience and it’s usually through internship programs.
Note: If you do not have any, do not lie about it. Simply state that you do not have internship experience.
Tip: If your internship experience is in line with the job you are applying for or if the skills your acquired there can be applied to this role you are applying for, make sure to expound on them. Use it as an opportunity to showcase your transferable skills – communication, leadership, team work and so on.
8. How Has College/University Prepared You For This Role?
The ‘How has College/University prepared you for this role? question is very similar to the ‘tell me about your educational background’ question. The major difference is that this question is focused on the hard/technical skills your acquired in school. It’s a test of your career knowledge and how you would be able to apply it to real life work.
Tip: Describe the skills you learned in school and how the fit into the role you are interviewing for.
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9. What Was Your Favorite Subject?
‘What was your favorite subject’ is another school-related question asked during entry-level interviews. One main reason is to determine what your passion is and if it is related to the job you are applying for.
Be honest, but make sure your choice reflects your skills, interests and experience in relation to the job. Don’t say that you chose a subject because it was easy to pass or because your friends chose it.
Tip: Make sure you state how your favorite subject aligns to the role and not just throw answers out expecting the hiring manager to make a connection by themselves. For instance, if Economics was your favorite subject and you are applying for the role of a content writer, mention how it helped you develop strong research and problem-solving skills.
10. How Will Those You’ve Worked With Describe You?
The interviewer may ask you how will those you’ve worked with describe you in order to appraise your self awareness. Are you going to sing your own praises or be self depreciating?
Tip: The best is to find a balance. Tell them that you really can’t be sure of the opinions that they have made on you. But narrate how your contributions to projects (successful ones) and your self conduct would hopefully have left a positive mark on them. You can also bring up the fact that you are still in contact with them to buttress your point.
This way you have given the hiring manager enough to see that you are most likely held in high esteem by people in the past without self aggrandizing.
The workplace is not always rosy, especially if you are just entering into it. One main principle that guides hiring managers during entry-level interviews is to assess who will fit best into the organization they are interviewing for.
So, you may finish at the top of your class, but still not pass the interview because your handling of the situational questions do not make you out to be the best fit for the organization.
Sometimes, you may be handled time and resource-consuming tasks that may test your ability to meet up with the slated date of submission. Basically, with a looming deadline in front of you, how will you act?
Tip: This entry-level interview question is posed to evaluate your time management skills. Even if you have no real-time work experience, you must have encountered difficulty meeting up with a looming headline while in school.
Do not shy away from stating that you found it difficult to meet up with the looming deadline. Conclude by stating how you were able to beat the deadline by coming up with strategies you have so far adopted (and/or augmented).
What this means is that while your hard skills are essential, for an entry-level interview exercise, your soft skills will help sell you more. One scenario which this is incorporated is when you are asked, to describe a time you disagreed with a colleague.
Disagreements are unavoidable in human interactions. The workplace is not exempt from this. When you are asked to describe a time you disagreed with a colleague or classmate during an entry-level interview, the hiring manager is not trying to judge your combativeness, but they are trying to see hoe efficient your conflict resolutions skills are and if your team-work and collaboration skills are adequate.
Tip: Describe a time where the approach to solving a problem led to some disagreement. Avoid describing a trivial incident such as when someone ate your chicken during your interview.
When the ‘what are your hobbies or what do you like to do outside of work’ question is asked, the interviewer is trying to see your personality and know if it will fit in with the company culture.
This question appears fun and relaxed and may seem like an avenue to be playful, but remember that it is still an interview. Your answer should still be concise and professional.
Except you one hundred percent certain of the companies work culture and political leanings, avoid bringing up activities related politics, religion and other sensitive topics.
Tip: You may relate your hobbies to the job you are interviewing for and/or keep it generally light-hearted. Examples of light-hearted hobbies you can list are:
Also, make sure you are passionate or at least knowledgeable about your chosen hobby, as interviewers tend to probe further during entry-level interviews.
Are you the type to disregard criticism and take an offense to being disagreed with? You should NOT state this. No hiring manager would be willing to hire someone that would most likely pose a problem to team work as criticisms and disagreements are part of workplace interaction.
Tip: You should describe a time someone called you out in publicly and gave negative feedback about a project you worked on.
State that you kindly and tactfully disagreed with their criticism and explained why you did the project that way. Also mention that you eventually found a middle ground.
This would show that your communication, problem-solving, collaboration and inter-personal skills are all well-formed.
It might come off as odd, given that it is an entry level position you are applying for, but hiring managers do not only look out for what you can bring now, they only look at what you can add to the organization in the future.
They want to see your leadership competencies and how you can fare if the task of managing, no matter how small, is given to you.
Tip: If you do not have any workplace leadership experience, you can bring up a school project or group you led.
Also, you do not have to explicitly lead. Any managerial role will fit the bill. Just make sure you are able to give further explanation if probed.
Now that you know the top entry-level interview questions, check out the pocket guide to your dream job, 72 Hours to the Job You Love.
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