Early in your career, it’s normal to feel nervous about the job interview process. After all, first impressions are so powerful that 33 percent of hiring managers make up their minds in the first 90 seconds of the interview!
To make sure your first few interviews go well, you’ll want to know common entry-level interview questions. Read on as we go over 11 entry-level interview questions and answers that you should be ready for.
11 Questions You’ll Likely Be Asked in an Interview
1. Tell Me About Yourself.
Hiring managers tend to ask this (extremely common) question early on as a way to get the ball rolling. The point is not to uncover your life’s story. Rather, they want to learn about your professional background, skills you’ve picked up along the way and a little bit about the journey that led you to apply for the position.
How to answer: Answering “Tell me about yourself” is easier with a framework in place. Yale University’s Office of Career Strategy advisors suggest good answers to this question feature a “motivational story” that communicates how and why you decided to work in your chosen field. If you’re new in your career, you can discuss your passion for the industry, eagerness to learn and how any past positions have prepared you for this role.
2. How Did You Hear About This Position?
This question can give interviewers a chance to figure out whether or not you have a real passion for the company you’re applying for.
How to answer: Answer honestly, but make sure to highlight any connections you may have to the business and why you’d like to work there. You can mention what led you to search for the role and what stood out to you about the company that spurred your decision to apply.
3. Why Should We Hire You?
With every question, the interviewer is trying to understand whether you’ll be a good fit for the role. This question is an opportunity for them to be direct. Hiring managers expect an explanation of how you and the company can mutually benefit if you’re employed.
How to answer: Showcase what makes you stand out from the sea of candidates. What special quality or skill do you bring to the table? If possible, speak about a core value of the company that resonates with you. Round out your answer by discussing what you’d like to accomplish while in the role.
4. What Are Your Weaknesses?
You’re not perfect, and the interviewer knows that. This question aims to determine whether you can self-evaluate, identify shortcomings and overcome weaknesses. The interviewer is also looking for warning signs such as a lack of accountability.
How to answer: An interviewer will see through a phony answer. Your best bet is to talk about a real flaw that is relatively insignificant. Don’t pick a weakness that relates to a central skill you’ll need for the job. Instead, talk about a less consequential one and share how you are working to fix it.
5. What Achievement Are You Proudest Of?
Employers are searching for candidates that are go-getters. The interviewer wants to know what makes you special. After all, they are considering multiple candidates.
How to answer: When answering this question, don’t be afraid to shine a light on what you are most proud of. A mistake that some candidates make is thinking that talking about significant accomplishments will come across as arrogant. This is not the case. Discuss the achievement, how you accomplished the goal, an obstacle that may have come up and the result.
6. Tell Me About A Time You Demonstrated Leadership Skills.
Leadership-related questions are more common in interviews for higher-level positions. But it’s still a good idea to be prepared for them when looking at interview questions for entry-level positions. An interviewer can use this question to find out if you have the potential to take on a management role in the future.
How to answer: If you’re interviewing, you should know about the STAR technique. STAR stands for situation, task, action and result. Using this layout, tell the interviewer a short story about a time you showed leadership.
7. Tell Me About A Time You’ve Failed.
This isn’t a fun question to answer, but it gives hiring managers a chance to see how candidates handle setbacks. Every job comes with its challenges, so the hiring manager is looking for someone who can adapt and bounce back.
How to answer: Don’t sugar-coat things. The hiring manager wants to hear about a real failure, but they’d also like to hear about what you learned from that experience. Don’t stop after explaining the downside; end on a positive note with the lessons you took away from the experience.
8. Why Are You Leaving Your Current Position?
Careful, now! As tempting as it might be to trash-talk your current employer, that’s definitely not what the interviewer is asking for. This question gives an interviewer a look into your motivations behind applying for the job.
How to answer: Stick to a positive tone while answering this question. Focusing on how you’re ready to take on new challenges is a good idea. Share what you learned in your past role and how you’re ready to grow beyond it in this new one.
9. Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?
Neither you nor the interviewer knows what the future holds. What they really want to see is a realistic career plan that lines up with their company. Will you leave as soon as another opening pops up or stick around to grow and add value to the company?
How to answer: Talk about your plans and how the job would play into those goals. If there are certain skills that you want to develop, discuss how this job fits. You can also ask the interviewer a few questions about the professional development opportunities the company offers.
10. What Are Your Passions?
Not every question in an interview is related to the job — at least, not directly. With questions like these, interviewers can learn about candidates’ personalities and picture how well they would fit in with the culture of the company.
How to answer: Your answer can focus on work, but if you’ve got an exciting hobby, talk about that. It’s really about building rapport with the interviewer and showing that there’s more to you than the bullet points on your resume.
11. When Can You Start?
Hiring managers are often working on a time crunch. In most cases, they are looking for candidates with open schedules ready to get to work. However, in some cases, they are hiring ahead of schedule to anticipate a need.
How to answer: Be realistic about your start date. If you are currently working at another company, you may need to put in a two-week notice to leave respectfully. Additionally, if you have to relocate for the role, this will play into your timeline. The employer should be willing to work with you if you provide them with the most accurate information.
More Entry-Level Interview Questions
We’ve got a few more common entry-level interview questions for you. Prepare your answers to these ahead of time, so you’re ready to impress when the interview rolls around.
- What are your strengths?
- How would coworkers/friends describe you?
- Tell me about a challenge you dealt with at work.
- How do you deal with disagreements in the office?
- What do you want to accomplish in this role?
Don’t just go over these questions once or twice — practice makes perfect.
Keep Building Your Interview Skills
Once you’ve got your answers to the entry-level interview questions included in this article down pat, you’ll feel better than ever walking into your next interview. And, if you’d like to flip the script, here are some great questions you can ask the hiring manager!
If you’d like to boost your chances of having a successful interview, InterviewFocus can help. We don’t just offer mock interviews — we help you learn from them using cutting-edge technology. Take this next step towards your dream job today!