Now is an excellent time for you to share your passion and knowledge about the career path you have chosen! Interviewers want to hear about how you became interested in the field. Maybe you volunteered at an animal shelter and realized you wanted to become a vet technician. Sometimes we learn that we want to get into a career field through the experience of others, and their stories. Whatever your answer, be sure to emit passion and excitement for the role, company, and overall career path.
"I used to work customer service in a call center. My favorite part of the job was talking to customers and helping them solve their problems. I learned that I'm good at communicating on the phone and I liked building relationships. I started researching other careers where I could use these skills which is where I discovered the field of recruiting. I am excited to apply my skills and interests to this junior recruiter position with your agency."
"My penchant for organization, planning, and executing events are my biggest drivers towards carving a successful career in administration. My end goal is to become an Executive Assistant to a company president with some event planning mixed in. My sister is an event planner and EA, and her job seems incredibly satisfying."
"I have always been the type to take charge, troubleshoot issues, come up with solutions, and then implement them. I knew from a young age that being a leader was in my blood. I need training, of course, and some mentorship in the area. With those tools, I know I will be a proactive and fair manager."
"To be completely transparent, I was unsure of what I wanted to major in when I arrived at college. I was in a first-year general studies program when my advisor recommended taking a personality assessment to help give me further guidance. My creative side was always apparent to me, but after learning that I also had a penchant for project management, I learned about options that combined the two. This assessment helped guide me to my interest in a career as a content manager."
"Being around the public, meeting new people, and assisting them, are all tasks that interest me. I have worked in customer service based roles before, and I enjoy it. There is variety, and the learning opportunities never cease. Whether it's new upselling techniques, memorizing the features, and benefits of a new product, or merchandising for the new season, there is always room to learn."
"I am a talker, a relationship builder, and an infinitely curious about people and business. My inquisitive nature will lend itself well to a career in professional sales because I want to get to know people and their needs. I have had a side business on eBay since I was thirteen, selling vintage comic books. The high when I sold something was exhilarating. I love the thrill of the chase and want that feeling on a daily basis."
"Both of my parents were successful teachers and, for that reason, I have always seen this career path as the best option for me. I saw how happy it made my parents and I always wanted a career as fulfilling as theirs."
Share an achievement that makes you proud! Try to think of one that demonstrates some of the skills and strengths that would make you an excellent candidate for the job. Your accomplishment could be graduating from high school with honors or getting a scholarship into the college of your choice. Maybe you made a difference in someone's life by volunteering. Think of a way you made a significant impact or share a goal you worked hard to achieve.
"I am the first University graduate in my family. When I completed my degree, my family threw a huge block party to celebrate! It felt amazing and is still one of my biggest drivers. My dad worked two jobs to put me through school, and I plan to be the best I can be in my career, to make him proud."
"I am very proud of being self-taught in QuickBooks and Sage. It took me some time and dedication, but I watched every possible online tutorial and YouTube video until I knew I would test at an Intermediate level."
"My greatest accomplishment was being the youngest employee to be promoted to a manager position in the history of my current company. I worked hard for this and am proud that my dedication to leadership coursework paid off."
"I am most proud of my GPA! I graduated with a 3.7 GPA while working part-time. This accomplishment required a great deal of dedication and long nights from me, but they were 100% worth it."
"I was awarded employee of the month in my first month at my very first job out of high school! I always knew that my work ethic was stronger than most, but the affirmation of this was very motivating."
"My greatest accomplishment is building my sales book to over 300 accounts. When I started my first sales gig, I was at zero. I worked very hard to build and sustain those relationships."
"I am most proud of the fact that I am interviewing for a teaching job at the same high school which I graduated! Talk about full circle! One other achievement that I am proud of is my volunteer work as an assistant coach for our district's soccer team. The kids were a lot of fun to work with and, although we didn't keep score, it was a great opportunity for me to be a mentor while promoting health and physical activity."
Modern interviews are more conversational in approach, so always be prepared for a question like this. When the interviewer opens the discussion, this is the perfect opportunity to clarify any issue that you feel you did not answer as clearly as you could have. You should always have at least one inquiry in mind for the interviewer as well. Be prepared to talk about an accomplishment or strength you haven't already shared to prove your value.
"I would like to say that I have sincerely appreciated your interview style, and the opportunity to be here today. I would like to ask you if there is any reason why you would not hire me for this position, or any skills you feel I could strengthen?"
"I feel that this interview has gone well; however, I would like to readdress your question regarding my availability. Although I need to give my current employer two weeks' notice, I can begin on any online or manual based training immediately."
"I have enjoyed this interview, and I feel that I am leaving with an even greater desire to work here. Could you share with me your timeline for the next round of interviews?"
"Thank you for asking! I was wondering if I could ask you what your favorite part is, of working with this agency?"
"I would like to add that I am available to start immediately. I am very keen on this role and hope to hear from you very soon."
"I would like to add that I have a friend who referred me to your company. His name is John Doe, and he has seen a great amount of success as an account manager in your Denver branch. We went to University together, and he is prepared to act as a positive reference on my behalf, should you need it."
"Thank you for being so wonderful in this interview today! Interviews can be a bit nerve-wracking, but you honestly made this the most comfortable experience for me, which I greatly appreciate. I believe that I will find a fully satisfying, long-term fit with your school. Is there anything about my background that I can clarify for you today?"
This question is an opportunity for you to discuss a little more in depth how you might handle some of the challenging aspects of the role. All jobs can have frustrating moments. To show you have some knowledge of the difficulties you may encounter, share one hesitation you may have, related to the job posting or job description. If this is your first time in the workforce, you might not know all of the different problems to anticipate in the job or industry. If you're not sure, ask.
"I believe that working on satisfying unhappy customers will be the most challenging aspect of this role. My experience in customer service has helped me understand how to listen, empathize and deal with conflict. I feel confident I can do the same in this role."
"Every job has duties that are not the most enjoyable. I try not to focus on that. But, if I had to guess, I would say the paperwork and organization of the file room may be the most tedious."
"You mentioned terminations and exit interviews in your job posting. I have never let an employee go but am sure that your HR department has strict policies surrounding tasks like that. I will be sure to follow those procedures exactly."
"Being new to my career, it is hard to say which aspects I will dislike. I do suspect that I will be most nervous about being performing client intakes; however, I am confident that your agency will fully train me before putting me into a client-facing situation."
"I would never want to enter into a job thinking that there are things I would dislike. However, as a realist - I understand that there may be situations that I don't particularly enjoy. If I had to choose a particular part of the role that I may dislike it would probably be the customer dispute resolution. I am confident in my abilities with dispute resolution, but I don't particularly love it."
"That is a tough question! I suppose memorizing your sales scripts is going to be the biggest challenge that I will face. Would you agree?"
"When I was a teachers' assistant, my least favorite part of the role was when I needed to act as a disciplinarian to misbehaving students. I know that every child is innately good and likely are having outbursts because of personal issues. I will be as empathetic as possible in situations where a student may need to be removed from the class or sent to the Principal's office, for instance."
You may be carefree and fun-loving with your friends on the weekends, but at work, you are focused and professional. The interviewer is interested in your personality and how you will fit with the team. As you prepare for this question, picture a few scenarios that have occurred in your current or previous position. Maybe you are encouraging and motivating to your coworkers when they are having a bad day. If you have proven yourself reliable and someone that people can depend on, be sure to mention that! Think about some of the qualities you enjoy in a coworker and share how you think you embody some of those qualities. Here is a list of descriptive words for you to lean on: - Ambitious - Capable - Eager - Generous - Intelligent - Keen - Mature - Outgoing - Quick-learner - Self-assured - Willing
"I believe my coworkers would describe me as dedicated, trustworthy and kind. When you call my references, I strongly believe that they will say the same things about me. I am a proud employee and promise to be a great first impression for your company."
"I am mature beyond my years, which is a trait of which my coworkers and current supervisor often comment. I can see all sides of a story, and the wisdom to avoid jumping into a situation without gathering all of the required information first."
"I have made some solid friendships through my time in University, and I believe that my fellow marketing students and friends would describe me as inventive, productive, and inspired. I also take risks in my projects, but I make sure that they are well-researched and calculated risks."
"My best friend laughs at me often, because I am 'old-fashioned polite,' as she calls it. She thinks I came from an entirely different generation. I was raised to refer to my elders as Mr. and Mrs, and to always make eye contact, say thank you, and hold the door for strangers. I would also describe myself as thoughtful, and eager to help. I see all of these qualities as excellent characteristics to have when working in a customer-service oriented job."
"My current coworkers often comment on my level of confidence, and willingness to jump into a learning situation. I believe they would say that I am keen, a quick-learner, and confident. I believe these to be excellent qualities for a sales professional to have."
"My friends know that I am outgoing, and always willing to speak to a crowd of people. While earning my degree, most students would dread oral presentations, but I would thrive on those types of assignments. I am also a creative problem-solver and willing to put in the extra effort needed to help someone succeed."
Think about your goals for your new career. Consider where you would like to end up in the next three to five years. This position may be an entry-level role, but it could help you obtain the skills you need to get to where you want to go. Talk about what you are excited to learn in this job. Before your interview, review the job description and make a mental note of the skills you already have and the ones you would like to cultivate!"
" For example: "
"Business administration is an interest of mine, and I wish to work my way into an executive assistant role over time. Your organization has many departments and areas of interest where I could grow my administration career while also utilizing my education in business."
"Your management training program is world-renowned, and I have a couple of friends who have taken your MIT (management in training) route, to end up running branches of their own over time. I am ready and excited to be fully trained and molded into an effective manager."
"I am currently a full-time student, in the process of obtaining my Bachelor's degree in Marketing and Communications. This part-time junior marketing assistant position will give me the exposure to the marketing industry that I need to start my career off right. I look forward to learning from experts like yourself."
"I have always had a penchant for fashion design, and I know that being around the notable labels that you carry in your store will be excellent exposure for me. I hope to grow from a sales associate into a management role, eventually becoming involved as a buyer for your store."
"Professional sales is a career path that I have had an interest in, ever since my very first sales job in elementary school, pushing Girl Guide cookies! Your sales training program is second-to-none, and I desire to learn more about building client rapport, negotiations, and closing a sale."
"As a recent graduate with my degree in Education, I have some know-how, but now I require the real-life, hands-on experience that successful teachers must have. Your school is well known for taking new teachers and developing them which is why I have such a keen interest in joining your faculty."
If the interviewer asks you any general questions about goals, try to focus your answer on something career-oriented. You can incorporate a personal twist but always bring it back to your career goals. Achieving your goal could teach you a new skill and give you valuable experience. Demonstrate that you are proactive and willing to take action to reach your goals.
"My goal is to become a licensed social worker. I'm excited about this social work assistant job because it will give me more experience in the field while allowing me to earn my professional certification at the same time."
"One of my goals has been to secure employment with a company that offers tuition reimbursement and encourages continued education for their employees. I would like to complete my administration degree through evening and weekend courses while working full time. I am currently saving up for my first semester. I believe that this position will help me to get there and I will be a more skilled employee in the long term, because of it!"
"I have a goal of being a department manager with your organization in 5 years. I am working toward that goal by taking leadership workshops and shadowing the actions of leaders in my industry."
"My most significant career goal is to be a marketing director one day. I know this requires a great deal of education and experience. To help prepare me, I follow many marketing influencers, read their blogs on a regular basis, and read every marketing focused book I can get my hands on."
"One of my goals is to publish a fashion related look-book that I have been sketching. It's a quirky hobby of mine; however, the research involved has also helped with my creativity when planning outfits for my regular customer base. I have been sending in submissions to small publishers and utilizing their feedback to make my future book even better."
"My biggest goal is to win President's Club in my first year of employment at your company, and win that coveted trip to Mexico! I have never been on an all-inclusive vacation, and considering my student loans, likely won't be for awhile! This way, I can earn my way into a vacation while benefitting my employer at the same time. I have already started to take some sales based training through Udemy on topics such as cold calling, and closing the sale."
"I am currently writing a children's play that I would love to put on one day when I gain successful full-time employment as an elementary school teacher. I have a solid musical background and have already composed a few songs to go along with the storyline!"
If you have work experience, focus on how your coursework and training has made you successful so far. If you are interviewing for your first position, you can talk about how your education will help you to be successful in meeting specific job requirements outlined in the company's job posting. Assure the interviewer that you have the skills and the training to fulfill these duties, and exceed expectations. Some of the skills we learn throughout our education are helpful for any situation. People skills and team-work will help you to interact with your new coworkers. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills will help you to analyze information, notice details and deal with severe problems on the job.
"Formal education is an important step in any young professional's career. I learned a great deal about discipline and other transferable skills. In specific relation to a career in accounting, the case studies I encountered, along with my job training placement, gave me a major boost of confidence in my accounting knowledge."
"While attending my administration coursework I learned a great deal on a variety of important software programs. You can see on my resume that I am proficient in a great variety of programs listed in your job ad. I am proud to have formal training in these vs. being self-taught with potential bad habits being present."
"My B.A in Business Management is the best gift I could have given myself. I had a few friends who did not attend University and jumped into a start-up with little business knowledge. I see them struggle in particular aspects, especially when it comes to networking and understanding stakeholder relationships."
"I have always been strong when it comes to graphic design and creative thinking. What I did learn while obtaining my degree in Marketing and Communication was more about business strategy, buyer patterns, and the psychology behind advertising. That evergreen knowledge is irreplaceable because, as trends change, human nature will remain the same."
"I have not completed a formal degree; however, I have taken multiple certificates related to customer service and sales. I believe the most helpful aspect of this education has been the coursework I took in customer disputes and negotiations. I no longer shy away from upset customers because I have the confidence in myself to handle their issues swiftly and professionally."
"I recently graduated with my Bachelor's Degree in International Business and plan to earn my MBA online, while working full-time. Because I am focused on being a sales professional who travels internationally, I believe my education has significantly elevated my understanding of organizational structure and the presence of various business issues in a variety of cultures."
"My Masters' degree in Education has boosted my confidence a great deal. I always wanted to be a teacher, and a well educated one. This elevated degree will help me to show my students that higher education is essential. I want to be a great example to them."
Think about the aspects of the organization that stood out to you when you noticed the job posting or heard about it from a friend. If you're like most job seekers, you might be applying for five to ten jobs a day! Before your interview, refresh yourself on some of the perks of working for this company. Compliment the organization by talking about something that impressed you, like their values or their involvement in the community. You can find a lot of the information you need online, so do your research and be honest about what you like about the organization.
"Your organization is known for hiring new accounting graduates and molding them into future leaders for your company. The first step in my career is the most important, and I would like nothing more than to be with your company at the start of my career, and for the long-term."
"I chose to apply to your organization because I have a few friends who work for you and they have amazing things to say. Reputation is everything, and your industry reputation is impressive."
"I have many friends who are also recent graduates, taking temporary jobs or 'good-for-now' roles. That does not interest me in the least. Tenure is essential to me, and I need to start my carer off right - with a company that will keep me on for the long term."
"We used a few of your agency's campaigns as successful case studies while I was taking Marketing and Communications at University ABC. I immediately knew that your overall vibe was a company would be a fit for me. The excitement that surged through me when I saw your opening for a junior marketing assistant is indescribable."
"I want to start my career with your store because I believe that exposure to a corporate environment, versus a mom and pop shop, is going to be the key factor that pushes my career in retail forward. You have a strong process in place, including strict customer service training. This level of professionalism and process will benefit me immensely."
"I have conducted a great deal of research on your sales trainee program. I see that you have a mentorship program in place and also that you do regular shadowing between your junior sales reps and the department managers. It is important to me that I develop solid habits at the beginning of my sales career which is why I am very choosy with my applications."
"I chose to apply to your school as my first teaching job because the location is perfect and I have a strong interest in your extra-curricular programs. Your schools' passion for soccer, drama, and the arts is crucial to me. Our interests are very well aligned."
Aside from your current career goals, the interviewer would like to know what you would do if driven by passion only. If nothing mattered: money, career stability, location, education- what would you want to do for a living? This question gives you the opportunity to talk about your other interests and passions. The only way you can answer this incorrectly is by not answering it at all! Sometimes interviewers ask questions like this to get to know you aside from the data on your resume. If you secretly always wanted to be an acrobat but knew it wasn't the best option to run away with the circus, this is a great time to share!
"I do have an off-the-wall dream! I have always wanted to see my photography published in National Geographic, as a world-renowned nature photographer. Now, being an accountant, I do not see this as a dream that aligns with my career choice in any way. With that said, I do spend the weekends hiking and taking photos. You never know - maybe I will retire in 40 years and chase this dream then."
"If I could choose something completely different, without concern for responsibilities, I would have pursued being a dancer. I was heavily involved in ballet from the age of three, up until a couple of years ago. It's a cutthroat industry, and when I needed to work to support my big family, I did choose to give up dance. With that said, I do not regret anything."
"If I had to pivot my career, without concern for anything, I would pursue becoming a motivational speaker. I thoroughly enjoy the coaching aspect, which also relates to a career in management. I love the idea of spending time helping others learn to tap into their talents."
"When I was a kid I wanted to be a dolphin trainer. Okay - so I have no idea what that would entail, likely a Ph.D. in Marine Biology but I would dream about swimming with dolphins and teaching them tricks. For now, I will just stick with booking a dolphin tour on my next vacation."
"My crazy dream would be to be a major fashion designer like Alexander McQueen! I want people to line up to pay copious amounts of money for my scarves and footwear. How amazing would that be? I have a sketchbook that I doodle ideas in, in my off time. It's a fun hobby for me."
"My biggest dream is to earn a great amount of commission over the next ten years, save a major portion of it, and go to Zimbabwe to fund the building of a new school in a rural area. My father, a construction worker, would spend his summers building homes and schools in the third world, with a charitable organization. I want to work hard to that I can continue his legacy."
"I often think about creating a new curriculum specifically for students with Rett Syndrome and other disorders that affect children verbally. My niece has the disorder, and she benefits greatly from the use of technology and sign language; however, my sister found it impossible to find a public school to support this way of learning. My niece is currently home-schooled by a private teacher trained in these methods. I want her to have the experience of public school one day."
Share a challenge you experienced in one of your classes or training courses. Maybe the class was challenging because the subject was not related to any of your strengths. Math and science courses might be tricky for you, or perhaps the professor was a real challenge. Focus on what you did to overcome the situation, rather than placing your attention on the issue.
"During my clinical rotations, I had a complicated patient. Her condition was stable, but she was very demanding and needed a lot of attention. I had not yet learned how to correctly divide my time between patients, giving each one the attention and care they needed, while drawing a professional line with my time. Unfortunately, the charge nurse seemed to enjoy watching me struggle versus helping me. This situation was eye-opening and toughened me up a bit when it comes to being firm with patients who are unreasonable with their needs."
"While earning my Administration Professionals Certificate, I struggled the most with the module on accounting software. I have never taken any finance courses which meant that learning accounting jargon was the first hurdle for me. I did well in the end; however, that section took the most brain power!"
"I have worked in smaller organizations but did not have a lot of knowledge of large corporations and their structure. I found my organizational development course to be challenging, and mind-opening as well. Lessons and projects surrounding retention approaches such as stress reduction programs, and wellness initiatives were much more in-depth than I expected. I learned a great deal!"
"To be completely honest, I always thought marketing was fun and creative. I pictured a bunch of creative types working in the Facebook office, wearing plaid and laughing over expensive lattes. I was in for a rude awakening my first semester! Learning the foundations of advertising, social media algorithms, and buyer behavior was a lot more technical than I expected. With that said, I loved it and graduated top of my program."
"The most difficult thing for me was the level of homework and study time required while also balancing my job at Best Buy. I had always worked while going to high school, but College was a different beast to tackle. I had to reduce my hours to make time for my studies."
"The most difficult part of my education was my Statistics course. I am a numbers person when it comes to certain things, but my strength is not in formulas, for example. I overcame this challenge by hiring a tutor. I ended up with an A, but it was the result of a lot of work and studying."
"The biggest challenge I faced while completing my Bachelor's in Education was finding an appropriate placement for my internship. I lived in a small town at the time and had to relocate to a nearby city temporarily due to lack of opportunity in my community. I am thankful that I leaped to move for an opportunity because I met some amazing teachers who are more than willing to give me a reference for my first full-time teaching job."
The types of extra-curricular activities that you choose to give your time to will tell the interviewer a great deal about you and your personality. Make sure to keep your answer appropriate. Holding the title of 'Beer Pong Champion' isn't what the interviewer is after. Perhaps you volunteer on the side, spend a lot of time with your little brother, take pottery classes, or are taking sommelier courses. This question is one that you can ask in return if you want to build further rapport with your interviewer!
"I am currently training to run a marathon which takes up a lot of my extra time. I run nearly every day, between 15-25 miles per day, with two alternate rest days. Have you ever competed in a race? I am nervous and will take any advice I can get!"
"I have a creative edge, in addition to my penchant for organization and communication. I take watercolor painting classes at the community arts college. I have met some great new friends with similar interests, and my painting skills have greatly improved. I would love to show you my work sometime! Have you ever painted?"
"I have a strong interest in reading, and try to read one book per week. It sounds like a lot, I know, but I am so dedicated to my personal and professional development that I make sure to take the time for this. So far, I have read 36 books on leadership. Could you share with me your favorite book?"
"In my spare time, I like to manage my blog. It's called 'The Everyday Sommelier' where I discuss wine and food pairings, but for the layman. I am by no means an expert on wine, but I am learning a lot through the research I conduct and the comments left on my blog by readers. Also, I have learned a great deal about blogging! Do you consider yourself quite familiar with wine? There is so much to learn!"
"Fashion design is a solid interest of mine, and I spend a lot of time looking at the new designer collections from the mainstay designers such as Gucci, Chanel, Tom Ford, and the like. I want to be a personal shopper with an esteemed store like yours, and so I find that this hobby also benefits me, career-wise. Who would you say is your favorite designer to watch?"
"I like to spend my extra time volunteering at the Children's Hospital. My little brother was very sick a few years ago and the efforts the staff put in to save his life were unforgettable. I vowed that I would help whenever I could. I have met some great people this way, and it's been an excellent method for building my network in the city as well."
"I spend much of my extra time as the assistant coach for our school's co-ed soccer team. I also help the drama club with their set design every year. Each semester I choose to dedicate my time to one extra-curricular directly involved with the school."