If you're a recent graduate from University or College, then you'll most likely be on the hunt for your first proper job and hoping to step onto the career ladder very soon. No matter how confident (or unconfident) you are, carrying out the right preparation and thorough research prior to any interview is crucial in your success and making that all important first impression.
Life after graduation is an exciting time and shouldn't be scary, although the prospect of a job interview will most likely unsettle your nerves a bit. Practicing talking through your work, experience and preparing some potential questions will aid in your confidence and help deliver a great graduate interview. Straight from the experts, we've got a list of the most common graduate job interview questions (from a HR perspective) which you should expect to be asked. Think you're ready to make an impression?
Practicing and running through some of the potential questions listed below for a graduate job interview will be beneficial to both you and your future employer, as it'll mean that you can both gain more from the interview and hopefully have more of an open discussion about the job rather than a boring Q&A, as sometimes the interviewee will be a bit nervous too! Check out our experts guide below and run through some of these most common questions yourself. In order to put this list of most common questions together, we asked the below HR professionals one thing:
This graduate job interview questions feature has been interspersed with individual quote images where the full version of the infographic, created by Essay Writing Service UK, can be viewed here. These expert tips are a great reference point for when it comes to your graduate job preparation and will help you to ace that interview!
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"In every interview, you'll likely be asked in some way to "tell me about yourself" at the beginning of the conversation. I always tell job seekers that this is a trick question. Why? Because it's actually not a chance to tell the interviewer your life story, or how you got here. It's your first chance to make a great first impression. Instead of sharing where you're from, where you went to school, and how many jobs you've held before, have a great (and brief) overview prepared that shares a bit about who you are, why you love the type of work that you do, the impact that you want to make doing that work, and why you are excited to be chatting about this specific job, because you think the position provides a great opportunity to do that.
By answering the question this way, you avoid the (usually boring) personal backstory, avoid sharing any details about yourself that aren't relevant to the interview process, and put the interviewer in the frame of mind that you're prepared, you're possibly a great fit for this job, and they're going to be able to have a great discussion with you."
"Here are a few standard questions that are being asked every day:
And here are two questions I have personally asked any graduate I have ever interviewed:
"There are a handful of core questions that come up time and again in graduate interviews, and for which every candidate should prepare thoroughly. Based on our research and speaking to many graduate jobseekers over the past decade, we'd say these are the most critical questions:
1. Why are you applying for this position? This is almost always asked, because the interviewer wants to see evidence that you've thought about what the role offers, and why you think you'd be a good fit for it. An off-the-cuff answer is unlikely to pass muster; instead, you need to show that you've done your research on the company and the job, and you can point to your skills and experience that the role requires. Equally, though, don't give a robotic, scripted answer. Give a genuine response, but use your research as the foundation for it.
2. What motivates you? A very common question, which can be asked in a variety of ways, that employers like because it asks for an honest appraisal of what makes you tick, what you enjoy, and whether you're likely to be fulfilled in the role offered. Don't lie, avoid talking about money, and don't be vague. Substantiate your response with examples, thinking about how those characteristics might be useful for the job in question.
3. What would you say are your weaknesses? Not many candidates like to be asked this question, and its usefulness for employers is debatable, but it still gets asked a lot. The main thing to avoid is dressing up a strength as a weakness (eg 'I tend to work far too hard'), which will only make the interviewer roll their eyes. You'll get credit for honesty and self-awareness, as well as for talking about the steps you're taking to overcome that weakness."
"5 questions you can expect when the interview is mediocre:
5 questions you can expect when the interview is good:
"Be prepared to answer why you're applying for the company in question and how you are the right fit to join. A new organisation is like a new family so recruiters always test for whether you've done your research on the company, its products, services and people, and on how you see yourself adding value to this ecosystem."
"New graduates should be prepared to be asked about and speak about the qualities, interests, hobbies and/or skills they possess that can solve a critical issue for the company. We're in a time where business is evolving rapidly and the demands to be constantly improving are palpable. In an effort to set themselves apart from other job seekers, new graduates need to be able to identify an idea, solution or skill in their wheelhouse that can solve a unique challenge for the companies they are courting for employment."
"I think the most important thing is for Grads to understand mindset of the employer.
Their fear is that they will waste a lot of time and money training somebody that hasn't actually made their mind up about whether this is THE job or A job for them.
On that basis the employer will probe a lot around what they know about their company, why they applied for this specific company and role and what they bring to the role and team - these are the questions that normally decide the fate of the candidate and this is where candidates need to prep.
"Majority of graduate jobs are junior assistant-type roles, that don't require decision-making and leadership skills. Hiring managers are looking for either a) someone who already has similar experience (doesn't have to be professionally acquired) or b) has an aptitude for the role (this is shown via role play, written test or behavioural questions). Ultimately, they want a safe pair of hands, somebody who will get the job done with minimal supervision.
Reasoning ability is important. You have to articulate the "why" behind your statements.
The most important question to prepare: "Why should we hire you over other similar candidates?"/ "Why will YOU do well in this role?"
"Most graduates would be asked why they want to work for the company that they are being interviewed for. This gives any applicant an opportunity to show that they have researched the company and can provide solid knowledge of the companies' achievements, ethos and standing in the business sector in which they operate. It also allows you to show that you're organised and methodical, attributes that are vital for many jobs."