You’ve just received a phone call informing you that you got in for an interview and you’re thinking: Wow, I’m getting my dream job! Correction: you’re not landing the job yet, but one thing is true – you’re one step closer to it. The only thing standing between you two is the interview. Many recent graduates dread the prospect of being interviewed by professionals in a serious office context. Even if the mere idea of being grilled by a recruiter makes you twitch, with a little preparation you’ll be ready to face even the most meticulous hiring managers out there. Instead of playing a guessing game, have a look this list of 15 most common job interview questions, learn how to respond to each of them and impress recruiters.
1. Tell me about yourself.
A tricky classic. You can easily assume that the recruiter asking the questions has already read your resume so it’s your job to say something different now – something that perhaps doesn’t fit in a CV, but makes you stand out. Offer a short pitch of yourself, explain what you’re really after when it comes to your career and share an experience that made you realize where your talents lie.
2. Tell me about your education.
Another rather tricky question, it’s a topic you probably covered extensively in your resume. Again, this is the time to mention details and specifics – when talking about your degree, feel free to mention what you’ve learned, what kind of group projects you’ve worked on and how all of this is relevant to the position you’re applying for.
3. How did you hear about this position?
This is the opportunity to shine – if a professional who is a part of the industry (or even the organization itself) referred it to you, make sure to mention that. If you saw it posted on a job board, say why you thought it was interesting and what caught your eye about it.
4. What type of work environment do you prefer?
Recent college graduates might find this kind of question tough – after all, it’s not like you’ve had all the time to learn about your preferences. To be honest, it’s best to first try learning about work environments, check what kinds you’ve experienced so far and then opt for one, remembering that it’s best to pick those that the organization actually provides. This way you’ll make the recruiter’s life easier.
5. What are you looking for in a new position?
Another key question that allows you to show that you’re an attentive job-seeker boasting the ability to consciously direct their career. Be specific and state all the elements of the position you’re applying for. Express your career goals and recruiters will surely be impressed.
6. Why do you want this job?
This is the best moment to show your passion for the position and sector as a whole. Express your interest in the activity of the organization, and identify key aspects of yourself as a professional that make you a perfect fit for the role.
7. How do you handle stress?
Speaking from experience, this question actually pops up at many interviews – and no wonder, considering the increasingly rapid pace of our lives taking a toll on our mental health. As a college graduate, you should be able to answer this question – when talking about your methods, always refer to your experiences and state what results they brought to improve your life. Whether it’s sweating it all out in the gym or employing killer prioritization skills, make sure recruiters get the impression that you know your way around battling stress.
8. What are your salary requirements?
This is a difficult question for a college graduates to tackle. First of all, you’ve got limited experience so you might not feel in a strong position to negotiate. The truth is that you can always do that – but it’s important to base your suggestion on facts. Have a look at what similar positions in your area pay on platforms like Glassdoor and just give an answer. Don’t be overly confident or modest here – neither approach will get you closer to the job.
9. What do you know about the company?
This question is something most graduates don’t expect. Do your homework and learn as much as you can about the organization, its mission, values, history and current activity. Show your knowledge and you’re bound to positively impress recruiters.
10. What are your greatest strengths?
Even if you consider yourself modest, you should be prepared to talk about your strong points. Make sure to follow every aspect with relevant examples that show your words to be true. Be accurate and specific – don’t go for generalities. Never ever lie about your skills.
11. What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
As a graduate you might have a limited supply of those, but even if you haven’t experienced a professional success yet, you should mention those you have in college. Completed projects and activities which show competences required for the position are always worth a mention.
12. What do you consider to be your weaknesses?
Don’t try to be perfect and talk about a real issue you’re struggling with, showing how you’re going about improving it. Don’t go into details and avoid sharing too much – remember that this is a job interview, so only professional shortcomings are relevant.
13. What are your future goals?
When hiring graduates, recruiters are interested in their future goals because they’re essentially starting out. Have a response ready and make sure it’s in line with the position you’re applying for. Be honest and talk about your career aims – where do you see yourself in the next 5 or 10 years?
14. Why should we hire you?
Another tricky question and another opportunity for you to sell yourself to the recruiter. Summarize what you can bring into the organization, emphasizing your passion of the job, skills and qualifications that make you a great candidate.
15. Have you got any questions for us?
This is not the time to pretend you know everything. Asking questions shows that you care and also gives you an opportunity to check whether the job is a right fit for you. Ask questions about company structure, culture, your main responsibilities, the number of people in your team.
Knowing how to answer these questions, you’ll be on your way to passing this serious test with flying colors and land the job of your dreams.
Torri Myler is a team member at BankOpening.co.uk– a UK bank opening times and closing hours directory. She combines the experience in HR with a strong background in new technologies and internet science.