If you aren’t studying for your job interviews like a test, you’re doing it wrong. For entry level positions, two things will come in handy throughout your interviews: being familiar with even the smallest details of the company, and knowing the exact skills that they want in an employee. Tailor your past experience or your education to these two things and you’ve got a recipe for a glowing interview. Want to get more specific? Here’s some of the most commonly asked entry-level interview questions and how you should be answering them.
“Tell me about yourself.”
This deceptively important question allows you to take control of the interview – you have the opportunity to tell the hiring manager what you feel is the most important about your work background. Be concise, but use this space to discuss what you’ve done in the past or what you’ve learned in school that’s the most crucial to the role and your future career plans.
This isn’t the time to rehash your resume – when preparing the statement you’ll answer this prompt with, only pick out the most impressive points of your past experience and education. Keep in mind your answer will tell the hiring manager the high points of your career journey as well as what you value most in a job, making it doubly crucial.
“What do you know about our company?”
Do as much research as you can about the company prior to your interview. Study the pages on their website and make sure to dig up any news about them, too. You don’t have to recite all of this word-for-word, of course, but tell them enough to make them feel like you sincerely care about their company.
“Why are you interested in this position?”
The ideal answer to this question combines your research on the company with your personal skills. Explain that you admire the company’s values and prior work, and state how you could fit into that equation. Don’t be afraid to be a little selfish, too. Discuss what areas you’d like to grow in, but flatter them by stating why this position offers the perfect opportunity for growth.
“How have your previous roles/education prepared you for this position?”
Tailor your past job experiences or education to this new company, the same way you would in a cover letter. Point to details that were in the job posting that you have a strong background in – for instance, if they want someone adept at video editing, explain that based on their past video work, you believe your Adobe Premiere skills will be a perfect fit because you edited similar videos at a previous job. Get as specific as possible so they know you’re knowledgeable in these areas.
“What would you like to gain from this opportunity?”
Explain what interested you about the position and how said interests align with the skills you would like to sharpen. For instance, if you’re applying for a marketing position, you might want to point to details about the company’s recent social media posts that you’ve enjoyed, and then describe how you believe your skillset will be strengthened by using their approach.
Make sure to phrase this response in a way that tells the hiring manager how your work can benefit the company as well as yourself, and also ensure that they feel that you want to grow with the company, not move on from it as soon as you gain new skills.
Resumes and cover letters are short and often only skimmed – it’s the job interview will make or break you. Ensure that you’ve studied up, prepared answers in advance and feel confident in all these areas if you want to ace your next interview. Good luck!
Emily Morrison is a media professional with passions for writing, film and popular culture.
Feature Image: Adobe Stock