Tips for Answering College Job Interview Questions
When you’re a college student or recent graduate with little job experience, interviewing for a job can be a challenge. However, with practice, you can ace any interview.
Connect your assets to the job. Before your interview, take a look at the job listing again. Circle any skills or abilities from the listing that are important to the job. Then, note the experiences you’ve had that demonstrate these skills. By thinking of particular experiences ahead of time, you’ll be able to come up with examples quicker during the interview.
Highlight your academic experiences. You do not only have to mention work experiences during your interview. Since you are a student (or recent graduate), you should highlight your academic experiences. These might include courses you’ve taken, assignments you’ve completed, or awards you won. Also consider extracurricular activities, volunteer positions, and internships. Think of how these experiences have helped you develop the skills and abilities required for the job.
Practice the STAR interview technique. When answering a question using a specific example, use the STAR interview technique. Describe the situation you were in, explain the task you had to accomplish, and detail the action you took to accomplish that task (or solve that problem). Then, describe the results of your actions. This technique is particularly useful when answering behavioral interview questions.
Research the company. You might get questions about the specific company, such as what you like about the company, or how you think you would fit in with the company culture. To prepare, research the company ahead of time. Check out their website, especially their “About Us” page. If you know anyone who works at the company, talk to them. Also, search on Google to find out the latest news on the company.
Practice, practice, practice. The most important way to appear confident in an interview is to practice answering common questions. Read the list of sample questions below, and review the sample answers. Then practice answering the questions on your own. The more you practice, the better you’ll feel in the interview.
Sample College Job Interview Questions & Answers
Personal/Common Interview Questions
- What is your greatest weakness?
- How do you plan to overcome your weakness?
- What is your greatest strength?
- How do you handle stress and pressure?
- How would you describe yourself?
- How do you think a friend or professor who knows you well would describe you?
- What motivates you?
- What unique attributes can you bring to this company and position?
Behavioral Interview Questions
- Describe a situation where you used your leadership skills to solve a problem
- Tell me about something you accomplished that you are proud of.
- Describe a major problem you encountered at work and how you dealt with it.
- Describe a time when you had a particularly heavy workload. How did you handle it?
- Tell me about a mistake you made at school or work, and what you learned from it.
Questions About Your College Experience
- Why did you select your college or university?
- Have you completed any internships? What did you gain from the experience?
- Why did you choose your major?
- What college subjects did you like best? Why?
- What college subjects did you like least? Why?
- Describe your most rewarding college experience.
- If I were to ask your professors to describe you in three words, what would they be?
- What was your biggest challenge as a student, and how did you handle it?
- Do you think that your grades are a good indication of your academic achievement?
- Did you prefer working independently or in groups on school projects?
- Do you have plans for continued study?
- What extracurricular activities have you participated in?
- What is your greatest strength as a student?
- How has your college experience prepared you for a career?
- Tell me about your educational background.
- Tell me about your favorite supervisor. What did you like about him or her?
- Tell me about your work experience? How has it prepared you for a career?