You have learned a lot from college and any jobs you held during it, and now it’s time to apply that to the real world. In job interviews, you will be asked a variety of questions about your personality, how you would handle different work situations, where your passions lie and your college and work experience. Here are some common job interview questions for recent college graduates with sample answers.
1) How do you handle stress?
This is among the common job interview questions for recent college graduates, especially because the main concern for many employers is that you don’t have much work experience. They also want to know whether you will know how to handle inevitable stressful situations you will experience on the job. It is likely you had to experience stress with your college classes and assignments, so use an example from there:
“Before I react to a stressful situation, I remind myself to take a pause, breathe and focus on one thing at a time. There were times in school I had multiple projects due at the same time. I took one thing at a time and created a schedule with a certain amount of time each day put aside for each project. The closer the deadlines got, the more focused I became. I often did some of my best work under the pressure of a deadline.”
2) Why do you think you are a good fit for this job?
This is one of the common job interview questions for college graduates that allows the hiring manager to get an idea of your interests and strengths that you can bring to the job. Do thorough research about the company: review their website and social media pages, check out any recent news about the company, thoroughly review the position’s job description and some of the top employees’ LinkedIn profiles. Take some time to think about where your interests lie and how your skills can contribute to the position in question.
“I have always had a way with words and am also a people person which are the most important skills needed for a public relations position such as yours. My involvement in my sorority and college newspaper helped me further develop these skills. From looking at your website, I saw that you do PR work for some big-name brands in the fitness industry. The position also will give me a chance to express my passion for athletics for the benefit of your company.”
3) How do you deal with making mistakes?
Employers know that no one is perfect. A quality of a good employee is someone that is honest, open to feedback and willing to grow and learn from their own experiences as well as others’ experiences. One of the common job interview questions for recent college graduates relates to inevitable mistakes you will make and how well you would handle them. Think of a past situation in work or school where you made a mistake, successfully corrected it and learned from it:
“When I was working at a restaurant in college, it was a very busy night and I forgot to enter someone’s order and didn’t realize it until it came time for their order to come out and it wasn’t there. Instead of freaking out, I went to my manager calmly with the decision. He told me to explain the situation to the kitchen and the customers and offer them a free round of drinks and dessert. I apologized to the customers and they appreciated it. From that situation, I learned to slow down and pay closer attention when entering my orders.”
4) Why did you choose your college major? How did it prepare you for this role?
This is one of the common job interview questions for college graduates that should be fairly easy to answer. Obviously, you didn’t pick your college major blindly, and if it isn’t in the exact same field as the job you are applying for there are probably still things you have learned that you can apply.
“When I went to college, I chose to be a business major because it wasn’t too specific and gave me some flexibility with the type of job I chose. Business majors are in high demand in the working world, so I also liked the job security that comes with it. Third, I like that there is lots of room for advancement in business. I have also always had a passion for retail and had some great business ideas I would love to contribute for the success of a company like yours.”
5) Do you work well in a team? What challenges did you experience and how did you overcome them?
Think of group projects you did in college. Do you get along with different kinds of people, are you able to motivate and inspire those around you, and can you resolve conflict? Explain what teamwork has taught you and the qualities you have that allow you to work well in a team environment.
“I have found that teamwork has taught me how to recognize my own strengths and the strengths of others. When I find a personality I don’t exactly click with and must do a team project with them, I am forced to seek out what they can contribute to the team. Everyone has something to contribute, and we can all learn from each other. Also, teamwork has taught me to pick my battles when I disagree with others and nip conflict in the bud before it gets worse.”
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Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.