Be Prepared: Sample Job Interview Questions for College Students and Recent Graduates

Congratulations on landing a job interview! As you prepare for the big day, be sure you’ve researched the company and know the job requirements backward and forward. You should also be prepared for the interviewer(s) to ask you several behavioral interview questions intended to help them get to know you.

This list of interview questions for new graduates covers typical job interview questions college seniors and recent college graduates can expect at employment interviews. These entry-level interview questions will be helpful no matter which industry you’re hoping to work in.

As you review these sample questions, try to prepare a short answer for each of them. Consider what the interviewer wants to learn about you, and how you can highlight your unique skills. Be prepared with real-life examples that translate your experiences to the role you’re applying for.

Don’t worry about memorizing the answers. You want to appear prepared, confident and genuine during the interview. Word-for-word answers to a list of sample questions won’t help you there.

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Questions about you, your goals and motivations

  • What do you see yourself doing in five years?
  • What do you really want to do in life?
  • How would you describe your leadership skills?
  • How well do you adapt to new situations?
  • Which is more important: creativity or efficiency? Why?
  • What have you accomplished that shows your initiative and willingness to work?
  • What are your long-term career objectives — and how do you plan to achieve them?
  • How well do you work with other people?
  • What are two or three accomplishments that have given you the most satisfaction — and why?
  • Do you feel you work well under pressure?
  • What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • How do you define success?
  • Tell me about a mistake you made and what you learned.
  • What motivates you to go the extra mile on a project or job?
  • Do you have plans to continue your education?
  • Can you tell me about a time when you acted rashly? What did you change based on that experience?

Questions about college and previous experience

  • Why did you choose your college — and are you happy with the choice?
  • What was your major in college — and did you have any minors?
  • How do you think your favorite professor would describe you? How about your least favorite professor?
  • What was your most memorable classroom experience?
  • How has your college experience prepared you for this role?
  • How would you describe your ideal job?
  • Describe one of the biggest mistakes you made in college.
  • What was your favorite class — and why?
  • What was your least favorite class — and why?
  • Have you ever been in a group project where there were difficulties? How were these issues resolved?
  • What’s the most recent book you’ve read that wasn’t a class assignment?
  • What kinds of things did you do outside of classes and work while in college?
  • What kinds of things or skills did you learn from these activities?
  • Do you think college changed you as a person? If so, how?
  • Have you ever tutored an underclassman?
  • Describe your favorite professor or favorite supervisor.
  • Do you think your grades are a good indication of the type of employee you’ll make?
  • What’s your GPA? Are you happy with it?
  • What have you learned from your experiences outside the classroom?
  • If you were to start college over again knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
  • What skills have you acquired from your internships and part-time jobs?

Questions about the position and its requirements

  • Are you willing to relocate? Travel?
  • What do you think it takes to be successful in this company?
  • How are you going to contribute to our company?
  • If you were hiring for this position, what qualities would you look for in a new college grad?
  • Why are you interviewing for this position?
  • What can you tell us about our company?
  • What interests you about our products/services?
  • What do you know about our competitors?
  • What criteria are you using to choose companies to interview with?
  • What are your expectations regarding promotions and salary increases?
  • Why should I hire you?

You should also be prepared for the interviewer to ask you to ask questions of them about the company or role. These questions help gauge your inquisitiveness and preparation — so be thoughtful and specific. If you are still applying for jobs and need help with your application materials, use LiveCareer’s free Resume Builder and Cover Letter Builder.

About the Author

LiveCareer Staff Writer

At LiveCareer, we live and breathe the belief that we can help people transform their work lives, and so do our contributors. Our experts come from a variety of backgrounds but have one thing in common: they are authorities on the job market. From journalists with years of experience covering workforce topics, to academics who study the theory behind employment and staffing, to certified resume writers whose expertise in the creation of application documents offers our readers insights into how to best wow recruiters and hiring managers, LiveCareer’s stable of expert writers are among the best in the business. Whether you are new to the workforce, are a seasoned professional, or somewhere in between, LiveCareer’s contributors will help you move the needle on your career and get the job you want faster than you think.


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