Top 8 Job Interview Questions for Students and Best Answers

Updated on May 30, 2019
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A reader, researcher, and writer on human psychology and social behaviors

Top 8 Job Interview Questions for Students and Best Answers

The main difference between students who are being interviewed and seasoned professionals who are interviewed is age and experience. Students and recent grads do not usually have the experience, and they are not expected to, so don’t worry about that. Your real message is aptitude and leading indicators you can convey that will suggest you will be a good fit. If you can learn to package yourself as a seamless transition from school to work, you’ll be fine.

1. What are your long-term ambitions?

The interviewer wants to see how focused you are and how well thought out your plans are. The interviewer may be trying to calculate whether your goals are compatible with the company’s. If you have a dream, state it. If you don’t, state a short-term goal and provide generalities for your long-term ones.

“For the immediate future, I am looking to find a position with an accounting firm so that I can prepare for the CPA exam. Though I am open to a number of options, I will further assess my long-range goals once I have passed the exam.”

2. Why did you choose this profession?

Be honest unless you fell into it. In that case, be honest anyway, but show you have an abundance of enthusiasm about being a part of that field and are highly motivated to succeed.

“Both my mother and my father are attorneys, as are my three older brothers. I guess you could say I was born to be a lawyer, and I’m sure my family members influenced me. But I made the decision myself and have a career that I thoroughly enjoy. With my desire to specialize in copyright, trademark, and publishing law, I am proving my individuality as the only family member not practicing tax law.”

3. What subjects did you enjoy most, and which did you enjoy least?

This is a question that may define your strengths and weaknesses; use caution when you respond. Be sure to align the subject you liked most with your profession. For those you liked least, name subjects that have no bearing on your future and will not offend the interviewer.

“As a marketing major, I was delighted with the communications and marketing courses that were offered. I took two years of Spanish that I struggled a bit through, though I finished with a B-plus. Oceanography was a course I really thought I would enjoy, as I love to snorkel and scuba dive, but I discovered that it was a bit too technical for me.”

4. How did you finance your education?

If you paid for it yourself, admit it; that’s a great accomplishment. If you won scholarships or took out student loans, admit it. If your parents or someone else paid your way, admit it with gratitude and pride.

“I was fortunate enough to have parents who could afford four years of college. I did earn my spending money by holding a part-time job all four years. My parents worked hard to give me this advantage, and I made every effort to get good grades to thank them. I hope I can afford to do the same for my children.”

5. What were some of your greatest achievements in college?

This is an opportunity to toot your own horn and emphasize things you want to highlight. Go for it!

“My greatest achievement was making the dean’s list while taking a full course load and working 30 hours a week to support myself. Also, I took an astronomy course where I was completely out of my element. I struggled with it but ended up with a B. It was the hardest grade I ever had to work for, but it was rewarding.”

6. What do you know about our company?

Your answer to this question demonstrates to the interviewer whether you have taken the time to research the company and have identified where and how you can contribute.

“HCA Healthcare is the second largest healthcare company in America. You have about 8,000 employees and are concentrated in the Southeast. Last year’s revenues were over $3 billion, and you just completed a large hospital chain acquisition in Kansas. This group is chartered to work toward merging the back-office systems of the merged companies.”

7. Do you feel that you might be overqualified for this position?

Being overqualified means that you will be looking for another job the day you accept this one, will require too much money, or will be difficult to manage. Overcome these three concerns, and you’ll position yourself to receive the offer.

“I think it can be a real plus to have someone on your team with more talent than the job requires. I have set my sights on working for Artista, and I realize that today’s job market requires that we compromise a little in the beginning in order to advance at a later date. I know this sacrifice is only short term, as I intend to prove myself to you and advance as quickly as possible. I assure you that you will see immediate results from my efforts, and my level of enthusiasm and energy will be contagious throughout the firm.”

8. Have you always done your best?

This is a simple but cunning question. Be honest and show how you are consistently striving to improve. We are all human, and humans have occasional letdowns.

“I have always done my best, given the fact that I am human and humans don’t always give 100 percent. I am always striving to improve every aspect of my life. If I am always trying to improve, I feel I am doing my best.”

A Bonus Tip: Prepare, as Always

Salaries depend mainly on two things: the actual work and the geographic area, related to cost of living. Many large companies in like industries share salary data with one another. A typical Fortune 500 HR department will have a salary distribution breakdown for each position and each geographic region. The HR folks generally know within a pretty narrow range what your job is worth.

Before you begin negotiating, you must have a minimum salary figure in mind. If possible, you should talk to several people who are doing similar work in an area with similar living costs. Watch out! People from Tampa, for example, have no idea how expensive it is to live in the Bay Area or even Denver. You very often get a more favorable relationship between salary and cost of living in less expensive markets such as Dallas and Atlanta than in Chicago, New York, and southern California. You may earn less, but not so much less in light of the less expensive housing and taxes.

Have a minimum figure in your head but don’t reveal it. The purpose of the method is to get the company to be the first party to name a number. If it’s above your minimum, you accept. If it’s too low, you say it’s too low, but you do not say by how much. The person will either break off negotiations or come back with a higher offer. Your only response is “okay” or “higher.” However, again, avoid saying how much higher.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Syed Ali Haider

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      • alihaider-thewriter profile imageAUTHOR

        Syed Ali Haider 

        2 weeks ago from Lahore, Pakistan

        thanks Abdullah...

      • profile image

        Abdullah Zaid 

        2 weeks ago

        Great article.. Really helpful..

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