What entry level job interview questions can you expect? Typically interview questions for entry level job candidates will explore why you are interested in both the job opportunity and the company and why the company should hire you.
The challenge for all entry level job candidates is proving that, despite your lack of experience, you have the potential and the ability to successfully fulfill the role. Preparing good interview answers to typical entry level interview questions will help you stand out as an excellent job candidate.
5 essential entry level job interview questions
You are almost guaranteed to be asked these 5 core questions in your entry level interview. Use the interview answer guidelines to prepare your own winning response.
1. Tell me about yourself
This can be a tricky question, especially for entry level job candidates. There is so much information you could provide, but the key is to focus on the details that highlight your suitability for the job – this is what interests the interviewer. Focus on your qualifications, any relevant work experience, internships, volunteer work or extra curricular activities. Include what you hope to achieve with this new job. Keep it concise and compelling.
2. What interests you about this position?
clear, concise and specific about why this entry level job fits well with your career goals, with your qualifications and with your skills and knowledge. A good understanding of the job description is essential when preparing for this entry level job interview question. Point out which aspects of the job are of particular interest to you and how you are eager to utilize what you have learned to meet the job requirements.
3. Why do you want to work for this company?
Researching the company is essential prior to your job interview, and this question is an opportunity to highlight your knowledge of the company.
- the company’s standing in the industry
- their products, services, target markets
- the company’s values and ethos and how these align with your own values
- the type of employee they hire
- reviews of the company you have read
- recent successes and future plans
The interviewer may ask specific entry level job interview questions about the company such as:
What do you know about our products and/or services?
What do you know about our industry?
What is it specifically about our company that you find interesting?
4. Why should we hire you?
Use this entry level job interview question as an opportunity to showcase how your strengths and skills are the right fit for the job requirements.
Likely examples of this include:
- your technical and professional knowledge and skills
- the ability to use the competencies you have developed, such as organizational and planning skills, to effectively meet challenges
- your ability to collate and analyze data
- your strong work ethic and the high standards you set yourself
12 core workplace competencies
5. What do you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses as an entry level job candidate?
carefully about this question and be sure to make your interview answer
relevant to the job requirements. These pages will help you with this.
3 entry level job interview questions about your studies and qualifications
As you go through these interview questions about your studies and qualifications, keep in mind that your interview answers should convince the employer that you are well prepared to make the move from
being a student to an employee.
1. How have your studies prepared you for this job and a career in…?
An in-depth understanding of this particular position will help you
focus on those aspects of your studies that add direct value to the job.
Include the relevant knowledge you have learned and the practical application of
this knowledge in assignments and projects. Discuss work-related competencies you developed during your studies including:
- organizing and planning to efficiently manage your coursework and meet deadlines
- data management
- working as part of a team on group projects
- verbal and written communication skills
- creativity and problem-solving
“My coursework has provided me with a solid knowledge of XYZ. The practical application of this knowledge in
projects and real-world scenarios assists in a smooth transition to the workplace. Valuable competencies that I
have developed include in-depth research and data analysis skills, strong communication and presentation skills and the ability to efficiently manage a demanding workload to meet multiple deadlines . The numerous group projects I have been involved in have enabled me to learn how to successfully
collaborate and contribute as part of a team.”
2. Tell me more about this internship/ part-time job/ volunteer work on your resume
The key criteria in answering this entry level job interview question is to highlight the relevance of your experience to the job. A good starting point for your answer is to explain why you applied for the internship or decided to volunteer in that capacity. Briefly discuss your personal responsibilities in the part-time job, internship or volunteer project and what you learned. Keep it focused and concise.
Relevant take-away skills could include:
- learning to work as part of a team
- communicating successfully with colleagues, clients and customers
- understanding how to conduct yourself in a professional environment
3. Why did you choose this extra curricular?
The employer is exploring your interests. Describe your motivation for joining a particular club or society and how it met your personal goals. You can then go on to give a brief summary of what you learned and improved on through your role and activities. Articulate how this has made you a better job candidate.
For example, as a member of a sports team you develop important skills including discipline, perseverance and collaboration.
4 behavioral entry level job interview questions
You can expect behavioral entry level job interview questions that explore
those competencies that are required for successful job performance. The examples you provide in your behavioral interview
answers can be taken from your studies, your extracurricular
activities, internships and part-time jobs.
These are the behaviors employers are most likely to evaluate in entry level job candidates:
Collaboration and teamwork
Give me an example of a time when you worked as part of a team.
What was your contribution?
The ability to collaborate and communicate with a team is one of the key professional skills that employers look for in job candidates. Have some specific examples ready and focus on your role in the team or group.
In your interview answer focus on how you:
- provided input and responded constructively to feedback
- respected the needs of other group members
- acknowledged the contributions of other group members
- recognized and used others’ ideas and strengths
- actively supported group decisions
Problem analysis and problem solving
Tell me about a tough problem your recently tackled. How did you handle it?
This question is designed to evaluate your
competency in dealing with and resolving problems. The definition of a “tough problem” can vary greatly from person to person, so describing what you consider to be a difficult problem is as telling as
how you respond to the problem itself.
In your interview answer focus on a problem you have recently resolved and include the following steps:
- ensuring you have all the necessary information to effectively manage the problem
- careful consideration of the facts to identify the underlying issues and causes of the problem
- deliberating the different ways of handling the problem
- committing to the most appropriate action and following through
Avoid discussing a personal problem or focusing on another person as the “problem”. Select challenges such as juggling your workload and other commitments,meeting tough deadlines, improving your work performance or dealing with an obstacle to goal achievement.
Planning, organizing and prioritizing
Tell me about a recent situation where you had to carefully manage your time to meet your commitments.
In your interview answer discuss how:
- you established priorities
- you set deadlines for each task
- you efficiently scheduled you activities
- you maximized the resources you had available
What challenges have you faced communicating with your professor/supervisor/group members? How have you handled these?
There are certain key aspects to focus on when answering interview questions about communication including:
- active listening
- asking questions to gain clarity
- respecting other viewpoints and displaying empathy
- organizing your facts before speaking
- encouraging feedback
- effectively managing your emotions and non-verbal signals
3 motivational entry level job interview questions
1. Why did you choose to study XYZ?
Similar questions include “Why did you choose your major?”
This is a common but fairly straightforward entry level interview question because you most likely chose your studies based on your interests and career goals. The key to a good interview answer is to articulate your reasons clearly and concisely. The interviewer is trying to determine your interests and what motivates
you. This will help to evaluate if you are a good motivational fit with the job and
Additionally you should highlight the connection between your studies, your interests and goals and the job for which you’re applying. Even if your subjects are not directly
related to the job, you should be able to find competency connections between the two. For example, skills such as critical thinking, communication skills, research skills and data management are all valuable in the workplace.
Display enthusiasm and positivity, interviewers look for candidates who are motivated and engaged with their work.
2. What did you enjoy most about your studies? What gave you the greatest satisfaction?
Be specific about what you enjoyed and why. You can describe a particular project you completed, your academic achievements, practical work you were involved in, specific subject matter you covered, courses you took and skills your developed. For example:
” I particularly enjoyed the management courses I took, I am passionate about understanding the many approaches to management and what works best in different situations….”
“I really enjoyed the group projects, I learned so much about working as part of a team and how to build on each other’s strengths…”
3. What do you see yourself doing in 5 years time?
Focus on the general rather than specific job titles or time frames. Discuss career goals and aspirations such as performing interesting and meaningful work, gaining recognition for your achievements, developing new skills and becoming a valued team member.
The interviewer is checking a number of things with this entry level job interview question including:
- do your expectations align with what the job and company can offer you?
- are your goals realistic for an entry level job candidate?
- are your sufficiently motivated and ambitious?
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