Interviewing as a student or recent graduate can be challenging because you often don’t have as much work experience as other job seekers. You also don’t have as much interviewing experience as other candidates.
However, you still have a lot to offer.
The key to impressing an employer during a job interview is to be prepared and to position your own unique skills to show how you would succeed in the role.
Read below for information on types of student interview questions and advice on how to answer those questions. You can also review job interview questions that employers commonly ask high school students, college students, and graduates seeking part-time, summer, and full-time entry-level jobs. There are also examples of the best answers for each of the interview questions.
Types of Student Job Interview Questions
There are several types of interview questions a student or recent graduate might be asked in interviews.
Behavioral Interview Questions
Many interview questions will be behavioral interview questions. These questions require you to provide an example of a time when you did something work-related in the past. For example, an interviewer might ask, “Tell me about a time you had to complete a group project under a tight deadline.” Interviewers ask questions about your past to see what kind of employee you might be in the future.
These kinds of questions require you to think of examples from past experiences. To answer these questions, use the STAR interview response technique. Describe the specific example you are thinking of (it helps to think of examples in advance). Explain the situation and what you did to either solve the problem or achieve success. Then, describe the result.
As a student or recent graduate, you might not have a lot of work experience.
You can draw on your experiences as a student, an intern, or even a volunteer.
If you participated in any extracurricular activities, you can talk about those experiences too.
- Tell me about a time you made a mistake. How did you handle it?
- Have you ever missed a deadline? Why did it happen?
- Can you give me an example of how you handled a challenge?
Situational Interview Questions
Situational interview questions ask you to consider a possible future situation at work. An interviewer might ask, “How would you handle working on three tasks that are all due at the same time?” Although these are about future situations, you can still sometimes answer with an example from a past experience.
An example adds credibility to your answer.
When you provide examples, try to use examples that are closely related to the job you’re applying for. Think about past work, volunteer, or school experiences that required skills similar to those needed for this job.
- What would you do if you were working on two projects with tight deadlines and you were running out of time?
- How would you handle a disagreement with a team member?
- What’s the biggest issue you’ve had at a past job or internship? How did you handle it?
Questions about You
Interviewers will ask you a lot of questions about you. Some of these will be straightforward questions about your education and work history. Others will be about your character, such as your strengths and weaknesses.
To prepare for these kinds of questions, be sure to review your resume and cover letter thoroughly. Also, look at a list of common interview questions to prepare answers for questions about yourself. Remember to answer honestly, but always put a positive spin on your answers.
- Tell me about yourself. - Best Answers
- What are you looking for in a job? - Best Answers
- What are you passionate about? - Best Answers
Questions about the Company
The employer might also ask you questions about the company, and why you think you are a good fit for the position. To answer these questions, be sure to research the company ahead of time.
Get a sense of the company culture—its mission, the work environment, and what the company looks for in employees.
- Describe your ideal boss. - Best Answers
- Do you enjoy working in a fast-paced environment? - Best Answers
- What interests you about this job? Best Answers
Examples of the Best Answers
High School Job Interview Questions and Answers: Even though high school students don't have much, if any, work experience, it's still important to be prepared to answer questions about your ability to do the job and your education and school activities.
College Job Interview Questions and Answers: For college students and recent graduates, it's important to relate your education, extracurricular activities, and experience (work and campus) to the job for which you are applying. Here are some sample questions you might be asked during an entry-level job interview and examples of the best way to answer.
Entry-Level Interview Questions and Answers: The interview questions that hiring managers ask entry-level candidates will typically be focused on why you are interested in the job and why the company should hire you. Review these entry-level interview questions and be prepared to respond effectively to the interviewer.
Summer Job Interview Questions: When you interview for a summer job, you'll be asked about your qualifications and your school schedule. Review the questions you will likely be asked during a summer job interview, plus tips on the best way to answer summer job interview questions.
Part-Time Interview Questions: Here are some typical part-time job interview questions and the best answers to interview questions you'll be asked when applying for a part-time job.
More Job Interview Questions and Answers: Review more of the most frequently asked job interview questions, plus examples of answers for each interview question employers ask.
Student Job Interview Tips
Ready to ace the interview? Review these job interview tips for high school and college students and graduates to be sure you are thoroughly prepared for a successful interview.
The more you prepare and practice, the better your chances of getting a job offer.