Someone who has just graduated from high school or college can expect to be asked questions different from those that would be asked of someone who is more experienced in the workforce. Many students are asked about their GPA, especially if it is particularly low. Although the ideal scenario would be for you to study hard and get good grades while you are still in school, sometimes that situation is not always possible. The best thing you can do it try to minimize its importance during the interview.
You do not want to come across as though you are making excuses for your GPA, but it is perfectly fine to talk about any extracurricular activities you were a part of that may have played a role in your grades. If you were heavily involved in sports, marching band or any other clubs, then you should mention that and then talk about the skills you developed in those organizations that would be beneficial in a position with this company. You are acknowledging that you have a poor GPA, but you are quickly diverting the topic of the conversation toward these more positive attributes.
If you have a GPA lower than a 3.0, then you should be ready to talk about it. It is always possible for an interviewer to not bring up your grades at all, but you should be prepared for anything that could be brought up. If you worked while you were in school, be ready to discuss that and everything you learned from that experience. If you had a health scare while you were in college, be ready to mention that and talk about everything you went through because of it. A lot of job applicants get nervous when discussing bad grades, but having a plan in place will make you much more comfortable with the conversation.
Things to Avoid When Discussing GPA
This is a very easy topic to slip up on and divulge information you may not want the interviewer to hear. A good rule of thumb to follow is to not talk about your GPA unless the interviewer brings it up first. If you graduated with a 2.5, then you might feel compelled to discuss why your GPA was so low. However, the interviewer might not care about your GPA as much as your work experience and does not really care what your grades were like in school. It is important to address if the interviewer mentions it, but do not feel like you have to bring it up on your own.
You should also avoid passing off any blame in your response. For example, it might be tempting to say that you had a professor your senior year who was overly tough and did not give anyone in your class a grade that was higher than a C. You might legitimately have some real horror stories about your school experience, but an interviewer does not want to hear them. If it seems like you are always passing blame for everything in your life, then the hiring manager might think you would do the same at this company. Own up to your past failings and take responsibility for your actions. That approach is certain to be more impressive to the person interviewing you.
The Most Important Thing to Remember When Talking about GPA
Going to school and maintaining good grades does not come easily for some people. The CEO of the company you are applying for may have had bad grades at school as well. The most important thing to focus on is how you have grown as a person since school. Maybe you had a tough time adjusting to college life and got bad grades as a freshman, but you have developed as a student and got straight A’s your senior year. This is the kind of personal development interviewers look for in potential candidates.
There are a number of reasons why your GPA is not as great as it could be. You just need to be honest with your response. Your grades are such a minor aspect of who you are as a person that most hiring managers will be willing to overlook a low GPA as long as you demonstrate your ability to handle the responsibilities of the position. Be comfortable in your own skin and you will nail this portion of the interview.