Common Interview Questions for Students

When applying for graduate roles or even general applications to companies as a student about to graduate, or having just graduated and looking for your first role, the unexpected can make you nervous.

If you have applied for many jobs then you will have lots of different interviews, and soon you will get used to the process and know what to expect. But if that first interview is with a company that you really want to work for, then you want to try to get it right first time. Given this it makes sense to try to deduce what sorts of questions you are going to be asked at interview.

Whilst it varies from job to job and industry to industry, for students who have no experience per se of the world of work there are several questions that will often crop up, so it is worth thinking about them beforehand so that when they crop up you are not stumped by them.

Here are some of the questions that you might be asked:

(1) So why did you apply for this particular job?

This is a classic question and is making sure that you actually applied for this role for a reason rather than just a scattergun approach. It helps weed out those who are seriously interested in the job and chancers. So prepare why you want that job.

(2) What was the latest news story or campaign of ours you are aware of?

If it is a large company, then it will be in the press all the time. Do a little research to find out the latest news stories about the company so that you are prepared to answer this question.

(3) Tell me about yourself

This is an all time classic interview question and it also usually comes up right at the top of the interview to start the dialogue going... so make sure that you prepare an answer and keep it down to the pertinent facts.

4) What are your strengths and weaknesses?

A classic question that comes in various guises but boils down to the same thing - they want to know what you are good and bad at.

Here you have to play the game a little bit - big up your strengths but spin weaknesses that are strengths-in-disguise; for instance if you say 'I am always late, everyone finds me rude and I get angry easily' then you will be walking out the door, even if you felt you were giving the most honest answer!

Rather you need to have 'harmless' weaknesses - for instance that you are a perfectionist and sometimes this leads to frustration because you are never fully satisfied with what you do - and so on.

5) What experience do you have that you think will help at this company?

This is a tricky one for students, so remember that they are not looking for an actual work situation necessarily, but perhaps something from your student life.

For instance if you are applying for a job in some form of research, then perhaps you have worked for some university society where you had to coax precious public figures to come and speak to your society for free - drawing on all your research skills and so forth. Most of us can think up basic examples of negotiation, research and people management from our university days, but it can be tricky to do so on the spot so think up a few answers in advance to help you out.

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