Updated on June 29th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 21
Why do you believe you are qualified for this position?
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When you are trying to sell yourself, you need to be very clear about why you are the best fit for the company, their mission, the job description, and expectations. First look at the qualifications the interviewer wants in a candidate from the job description. Think of some examples of how you embody these qualities.
For example, if they are looking for someone who has excellent customer service skills and you have never worked in customer service, think back on some of your volunteer experience or any work you have done with school organizations. Your communication skills count! If you have resolved conflict with teammates or classmates, talk about what you did and how you have handled challenging situations between friends.
"I believe that I am qualified for this position due to my blend of education in accounting as well as the internship hours that I bring. In your job posting, you are looking for someone passionate, ready to make an impact in this industry. This sentence describes me to a tee."
"In addition to fitting the job requirements you have advertised, I also believe that my attitude and work ethic makes me qualified for this position."
"I know that I am qualified for this entry-level management role because of the proven leadership skills I have displayed through my junior athletics career, and my volunteer experience. I have been the Captain of multiple sports teams and also successfully led 25 volunteers for Habitat for Humanity this summer. I understand how to motivate others while remaining focused on the task at hand."
"I believe that my education in Social Media Marketing qualifies me for this role and also the fact that I have built a solid social media presence for myself for the past three years. I understand the importance of creating compelling content while engaging with my followers. I look forward to handling your social media accounts with the same level of passion and care."
"What qualifies me for this retail sales associate position at your electronics store is first, my passion for your products. I educate myself on this industry and the latest tech by watching YouTube tutorials and reading related tech mags. Second, I will be an excellent choice for customer service because I can troubleshoot nearly anything and have a keen ability to explain complicated tech concepts easily."
"Beyond meeting all the educational qualifications, I think I would be an excellent personality fit for the role, the company, and the team. I'm eager, a fast learner, and am not afraid to ask questions. I have already learned a lot by speaking with you and the team leads. I enjoyed meeting everyone when I shadowed earlier today. This experience made me even more excited for the opportunity!"
"I recently graduated with my Masters' Degree in Education. This high degree makes me highly qualified. While attending school, I volunteered as an ESL tutor for newly landed immigrants. This experience helped me to shape my teaching style early on, which will also be beneficial to your school when I am first onboard, as I will have a more natural learning curve than most."
Even if you're not expected to drive for the job, you will need to have some form of reliable transportation. If you take the bus or ride a bike, that works too! Share that you have the means to get to work consistently and on time.
"I have reliable transportation. I have a well-maintained vehicle, and I am comfortable with the amount of travel required to get to your office every day."
"I am well versed in public transit. This form of transportation has always been reliable for me."
"I have a reliable vehicle and have never had an issue with getting to work when expected. In fact, I always prefer to be a bit early!"
"One thing I love about this city is that the mild weather allows me to ride my bike to work most days. On days where it is raining heavily, I will grab an Uber."
"I take public transit; however, I find it to be very reliable. I was late to work only once last year, and that was due to a snowstorm which stalled all of our employee's commute - including those with personal vehicles. Rest assured, I am reliable and will always come to work on time."
"Yes, I have my own, well-maintained car and I'm perfectly comfortable driving not only to the office but also out on client visits."
"Yes, I have reliable transportation as well as a valid drivers' license and clean driving record. I will have no troubles getting to work on time, every day."
Before you offer up your evenings and weekends, be sure that you are clear on what they need from you for this position. Typically the hours are laid out in the job description, but if it only says "part-time" or "full-time," you may want to respond first with, "What hours do you need me to work?" Once the interviewer has laid out the expectations, you can tell them, "That sounds great! I'm available on those days, and I can offer my weekends if I am needed as well."
You want to show them that you're excited about the job and that you are willing to make yourself available to work when they need you.
"I am available most days, evenings, and weekends. I do have an obligation on Tuesday evenings, but aside from that, I should be available most times. Can you clarify for me the hours for this position?"
"I see that you are open Monday to Friday from 8 am - 8 pm. Could you share with me the ideal schedule for your managers? I would like to, of course, be able to cover the peak traffic times for your business."
"My schedule can be flexible and fluid. I understand that your clients may need a deadline pushed which requires work in the evenings or on weekends. Since the majority of this job would require me to be on a laptop, I am confident that I can deliver the work when needed, even if it's remote."
"I am available to work any evening and all weekends. I am a second-year University student and my courses this semester are primarily in the mornings and early afternoons."
"I am eager for this opportunity and understand that, aside from regular business hours, I may need to take client calls in the off-hours. I am okay with that and will make myself available as necessary, to be successful in this role."
"I understand that your bell rings at 8:40 AM and 3:20 PM. I plan to be at school at least 30 minutes before school starts and will stay as late as needed to complete my work. If you are looking for an extra-curricular commitment, I am certainly open to discussing that as well."
What are your strengths? How will they help you in this new role?
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How to Answer
Since you are new to your career, it may feel impossible to know what your strengths are, when it comes to the workplace! What qualities do people often comment on when they give you praise or encouragement? Think of some of the words your peers or relatives have shared with you after a dance performance or after receiving an award. You might not realize it, but the goals you have already achieved, whether they be in sports or school, are examples that demonstrate your strengths.
You may be an excellent communicator or compassionate towards others. You may also be a fast learner and capable of adapting to different environments very quickly. Write down three primary strengths and see if you can think of examples of each one, to prepare for this interview question.
"My strengths include my strong attention to detail and also my honesty. I believe these skills will help me greatly in this role as I will be working to ensure that customers are happy and taken care of while keeping their best interests top of mind."
"I believe that my greatest strengths are my natural ability to lead, encourage others, and see a project through to the end no matter how challenging. I am very resilient and will never give up. One example of my leadership skills was when I was the Captain of my basketball team in University. I encouraged the team even when we were exhausted, or knew that we were likely going to lose the game. These skills will help me as a manager as I uplift my team and encourage them to deliver their best every day."
"Heavily creative minded, I am also a risk taker while also being strong in the area of analysis. While obtaining my marketing degree, I thrived when it came to taking case studies and making recommendations on failed marketing strategies. These skills will be beneficial in this junior content marketing role, and I look forward to making recommendations on your projects using my knowledge in current trends."
"I am very tidy, I notice the small details and have a friendly disposition. These skills will help me succeed as a retail sales associate because I will always ensure the store looks great and that your customers receive a friendly greeting each time they enter your store."
"I'm a driven person, and I thrive under pressure. I have taken over 18 credit hours in college while maintaining a 4.0. Beyond that, I am a firm communicator, something I've exhibited in my personal life. The ability to thrive in a time-sensitive situation, along with my comfort when speaking to strangers, will ensure that I succeed in this role."
"Being highly organized is beneficial as a new teacher, but also I would like to mention my self-confidence and ability to command a room. I may be new to teaching; however, I am not new to giving presentations to large groups. My experience as a volunteer tutor will also benefit me in this role."
When deciding what you would like to learn from this job, be sure to refer to the responsibilities in the job description or the opportunities that this company proudly offers. Are you looking to learn specific technical skills? Maybe you want to be groomed into leadership, or learn more about their particular industry. Share one or two things that you are looking to get out of the experience, and be sure to express your excitement for this potential opportunity!
"I hope to gain stronger skills in QuickBooks while also gaining valuable accounting knowledge in the manufacturing industry. I look forward to the excellent opportunities your company will provide me. In exchange, I will be a dedicated learner committed to my training."
"I have strong computer skills; however, I look forward to exposure in a business setting, particularly in the medical industry. The opportunity to learn medical specific terminology is exciting to me as well."
"I would like to learn more about business and leadership. I feel that working for your company will give me many opportunities to expand my knowledge in these areas while helping your team to grow and your company to be more profitable."
"As your newest marketing assistant, I look forward to furthering my agency exposure and gaining opportunities to be in a client-facing role. The confidence that I will gain is going to be an immeasurable benefit."
"I am familiar with the importance of delivering great customer service; however, I have not experienced any extensive training. I look forward to going through your training program and perhaps one day, delivering the training to new hires, myself!"
"I am looking to lay a strong foundation in my sales career with a long-term opportunity, with a company dedicated to training and mentorship. I looked at a lot of job postings and had interviewed with some very carefully selected places, but you are by far my frontrunner. I want to learn the fundamentals of sales and to build rapport with clients. I appreciate that you want me to start with the basics of the inside sales role before moving into outside sales."
"I have the educational requirements, and some hands-on experience from being a teachers' assistant during my practicum; however, I look forward to finally applying my education to a classroom of my own."
6. What do you think will be a challenge for you in this job? The interviewer is looking to see what area of this role you may be the most nervous about taking on. It's okay to know that you will face challenges. It's how you react to that challenge, that is important. Of course, there will be some aspects of the position that are unfamiliar to you or sound difficult. The first time you try anything, it can be a little bit scary because you don't know what to expect. If there are skills or responsibilities that you have little to no experience, those might be significant challenges for you, but also exciting opportunities for growth.
Prepare beforehand by writing down some of the challenges or concerns you have about the position.
Let's say you are interviewing for a job waiting tables. Since you have never done it before, you are nervous about forgetting people's orders when you are busy and have a lot of customers. Here is an answer example: "I realize that on busy days, things will move fast. It could be overwhelming to serve so many customers at once; however, with training and practice, I know I will do a great job." Here is an admin answer example: "I think the biggest challenge for me in this job, at first, will be to learn the computer systems that you use here. I am a quick learner, so I'm sure it won't take me long to catch on." Here is a manager answer example: "This will be my first leadership opportunity so I believe that the biggest challenge, at first, will be to gain the confidence of the team that I will lead. I plan to be transparent with my new team regarding my experience while also letting them know that I am actively growing my knowledge as a leader, and will remain open to feedback." Here is a marketing answer example: "The marketing world is ever-changing which leads me to believe that the most challenging aspect is going to be launching into my first ever professional opportunity while also staying on top of industry trends. There will be a lot of learning at first, so it's a great thing that I love research, reading, and learning new skills!" Here is a retail answer example: "The biggest challenge, initially, is going to be learning all about your significant product range, including every feature and benefit, along with your robust service menu. I plan to start studying right away to expedite my training so that you can put me on the floor faster than expected." Here is a sales answer example: "I think the biggest challenge is going to be learning an unfamiliar industry. With that said, I love to read and am already immersing myself in industry publications so I can become more knowledgeable before I even start here. Once onboard, I'm sure that the team and training will get me up to speed quickly." Here is a teacher answer example: "A challenge in this role is to be the 'new' teacher at the school. I know that kids will initially challenge me, knowing that I am newer to my career. I plan to make a strong impression immediately while also establishing the fact that, despite my being green, I am very well qualified and knowledgeable."7. How do you handle situations that could cause you to be late or miss work? Proper planning will get you far, but sometimes life happens, and you'll need a plan B. Think about some of the variables in your life that could affect your ability to arrive on time for work. Sick children, traffic, car breakdowns. The list goes on. It may not be possible for everything to work out so smoothly, getting your shift covered or still making it to work on time. Your interviewer is looking to see that you are proactive and that you can handle the stress of unexpected situations. Here is an answer example: "I stay calm and composed when issues arise. My dad got rear ended one time when driving me to school. I texted my friend to see if she could tell my teacher what happened. I explained the situation to my teacher when I got to class. If this happened on my way to work, I would call right away to ensure someone could cover my shift." Here is an admin answer example: "I am very careful to time my day appropriately, but if an emergency were to come up, I would phone immediately and help find coverage if necessary." Here is a manager answer example: "I would handle a situation like this in the same way that I would ask my teammates to react. Communicate the hiccup right away, give a clear idea of my timeline and then stay late that day if I needed to catch up on work missed from the morning." Here is a marketing answer example: "I am a very punctual person so, if I were to be late, that would stress me out a bit. I would communicate my tardiness to my boss immediately, by phone call or text, and then do everything in my power to get to work as soon as possible." Here is a retail answer example: "In addition to profusely apologizing upon late arrival, I would offer to stay late to make up for hours. In retail, I understand that if I am late for my shift, I am most likely affecting someone else's ability to leave work on time. Rest assured, I am a reliable and punctual person." Here is a sales answer example: "I hope never to be late! Growing up, my mom always said, 'If you're just on time, then you're late.' I always try to arrive 15 minutes early, but apparently, there are unforeseen circumstances that can arise. I handle surprises using common sense and keeping courtesy to others top of mind." Here is a teacher answer example: "As a teacher, it's imperative that I am on time for my class. If late, I would alert administration so that they could find someone from the faculty to be a placeholder in my classroom until my arrival. If I were to be out for the day unexpectedly, I would hustle to find a substitute teacher immediately."8. Describe what you think an average day will look like in this role. The interviewer wants to hear that you have a clear understanding of the job and its responsibilities. You can base your description of daily tasks listed in the job posting. You may not know the right order, but that's where you can always ask for clarification. Explain to the interviewer only what you know for sure and then ask for clarification where you may need it. Here is an answer example: "I believe that an average day will entail me greeting customers, seating them, getting the water to start, and ensuring they are aware of the daily specials. I am to be a friendly first impression and set up the server for a happy table! In the slower times, I am to do rollups and call the next day's reservations to confirm. Is this accurate?" Here is an admin answer example: "From what I understand from the job description, this position requires me to answer phones, transfer calls, reply to customer emails and welcome walk-in business. I am to be a friendly face, and voice, to your customers. Is this correct?" Here is a manager answer example: "From my understanding, the primary responsibilities on a day to day basis will be to train the new customer service agents on their sales scripts, look at the previous days' results, and coach where there is room for improvement. The other responsibilities include customer satisfaction follow up calls and dispute management. Is this correct?" Here is a marketing answer example: "I understand that in this marketing assistant role I will be to support the needs of the marketing managers which may include organizing, making client calls, setting up meetings, and proofreading a variety of content. Is there anything I am missing?" Here is a retail answer example: "An average day in this retail sales position will be greeting customers, ringing through their purchases, upselling, taking returns, and maintaining a clean and organized appearance of the store. Is there anything else that you would like to add?" Here is a sales answer example: "Once fully trained, I will be tasked with making outbound calls prospective clients. I'm comfortable being on the phone, making outbound calls, for the entirety of the day." Here is a teacher answer example: "The majority of my day will be spent in the classroom, delivering the curriculum. Other than that, I will be giving some students extra help when needed, supervising the playground and lunchroom at times, and maintaining regular conversations with the parents of my students."9. Without any job experience, why should we hire you? This question offers you a clear opportunity to sell yourself! Think about your strengths and qualities that make you an excellent candidate. Confidence is vital when answering this question. Just because you don't have any work experience doesn't mean you're not the best person for the job. You have character traits that others may not. You have skills you may have learned from school that could be extremely helpful for this role.
If you feel unsure about the qualities that set you apart from others, then consider taking a free and in-depth personality test like on from 16Personalities.com. You can gather a considerable amount of personality and character related keywords that will make you stand out to an employer.
Some strengths to point out may be:
- Knowledge of a particular computer program or app
- Your volunteer experience
- Your ability to be an encourager, even when times get tough
- Your natural penchant for taking the lead
- Your tenacity in challenging situations
- Your creativity and ability to generate new ideas in a snap Here is an answer example: Here is an admin answer example: "You should hire me because of my advanced tech capabilities. I am self-taught in all of the popular industry-related applications and am currently learning about cloud computing. I am a self-starter who will benefit your company in many ways, including less time training me since I have already started training myself!" Here is a manager answer example: "I am the top candidate for you because of my natural ability to take the lead. I am a coach at heart. Through University I was the captain of my football team while also volunteering as an assistant coach for the local high school's football team. I look forward to showing you my leadership capabilities." Here is a marketing answer example: "I am an ideas machine! Social media, advertising, and print marketing are all areas of extreme interest for me. To prepare for my start in the workforce, I have been tuning into a variety of marketing related podcasts but major influencers in marketing today. My knowledge may not be from on-the-job experience, but I can assure you that it is vast." Here is a retail answer example: "I realize that a job in retail will be challenging and that sometimes the public is not the easiest. I am, however, very thick-skinned and able to make quick connections with even the most challenging of personalities. I did a lot of traveling after high school which also opened me up to many new experiences and cultures, making me an excellent conversationalist, a much-needed skill in a retail sales job." Here is a sales answer example: "I am passionate, a quick learner, and eager to prove myself. I love to think on my feet, problem-solve, and exceed expectations. I've proven this with my 3.8 GPA, maintaining a full-time job, and working for the school newspaper all at the same time. I always rise to the occasion and thrive under pressure. I will bring this tenacity with me to help your business excel. I look forward to proving my worth and exceeding your expectations at every turn." Here is a teacher answer example: "As a recent graduate with my Bachelor's in Education, and having now completed my practicum, I have come to a strong understanding of myself and what drives me to be an excellent teacher. I know that I am a natural encourager, and will do what it takes to make sure that no student falls behind in my classroom. Also, with my recent education, I bring fresh and unique approaches that I look forward to sharing with you."10. Why are you looking for a job? The interviewer would like to know what is motivating you to enter the workforce for the first time. You may want a new car or a better wardrobe. Perhaps you have student loans that you need to pay off, but the interviewer wants to hear about motivation that goes beyond surface monetary reasons. Monetary reasons are not going to keep you engaged in the long-term.
The interviewer wants to know that you have excitement for this job itself. You may be looking for an experience that will help you get an internship or into a highly competitive school. Explain your motivation and how this job will help you get where you want to go! Here is an answer example: "I am looking for a job to provide me with industry experience as I complete my Accounting Degree. Your firm would give me the experience and exposure that I need to make a strong initial step in my career." Here is an admin answer example: "For the past couple of years I have worked as an administrator for my dad's small business; however, we both agree that it's time for me to gain experience in a larger more professional corporate environment." Here is a manager answer example: "I recently graduated with my Bachelor's Degree in Business and am now ready to enter the workforce, full time! I am excited about this opportunity and look forward to growing a solid career here." Here is a marketing answer example: "Now that I have finished my education, and turned 21, it's time for me to move out on my own and start the professional life that I have studied so hard for the past four years. I am ready to launch my career in marketing!" Here is a retail answer example: "I have spent the past couple of year traveling and gaining life experience. I am now ready to enter the workforce part-time, while I work towards my degree. The hours that your company offers will be the best situation for me since I can attend classes during the day and come to work in the late afternoons, early evenings and weekends." Here is a sales answer example: "I'm graduating in May, and I want to put my degree to use right away. Not to mention, I've always been compelled to sell. Since I was a kid, I loved putting on lemonade stands, making bracelets and selling them, and hosting bake sales. Money has always motivated me, and I know that the sales role will be perfect for me - I love to compete and am motivated to win, even as I start at the bottom." Here is a teacher answer example: "I'm excited to finish my degree and practicum hours to get into the real world, and put my learning and love for teaching, to good use! I am looking for an opportunity to start this September."11. Who is a person you admire and why? Are you impressed by strong, intelligent women working in the bio-engineering field? Are there people in your life who inspire you to follow your dreams because of what they have overcome to get where they want to be? Talk about a person, whether it be a family member or a professor. Share the qualities you admire. Think about what that person does that stands out to you. It's not just about their work ethic. It's also about their character, how they treat people and their ability to persevere. Talk about how they handle conflict and adversity. And most importantly, share how they inspire you. Here is an answer example: "One person that I admire is Dr. Tererai Trent, a woman who made her dreams come true. From being raised in war-torn Zimbabwe to earning her education, coming to the USA, and eventually becoming someone that Oprah Winfrey labeled as an influential person, she has influenced millions to follow any dream, no matter how impossible it may seem." Here is an admin answer example: "I most admire my father because his work ethic is second to none. He taught me to always be reliable, on time, and a person of my word." Here is a manager answer example: "One person that I admire is the professor I had in my Economics class. Her teaching style was relatable, and she always had time for her students. As an aspiring manager, I want to emulate those same qualities of openness, and helpfulness." Here is a marketing answer example: "I greatly admire the work of Seth Godin. He's a sales, business, and marketing genius. I have followed his blog for many years now. He started his empire with only $20,000 and is essentially the father of permission marketing." Here is a retail answer example: "I admire my older sister. I have always looked up to her but especially now in adulthood as I saw her overcome a learning disability to become a very respected artist and painter. It is inspiring how she tackles her goals and lets nothing stand in her way." Here is a sales answer example: "My parents came to this country when they were in their mid-30s, knowing no English and starting from the bottom. My dad delivered pizzas even though he was a high ranking military official with an economics degree. He did what he needed to do for us to thrive in the USA. He moved his way up through various jobs including teaching himself how to write code. Not only is he so hardworking and selfless, but he is also kind to everyone he meets. He is a "friend to all," as he says." Here is a teacher answer example: "One of the most influential people to me is Martin Luther King, Jr. Being a visible minority, and with dreams to be an educator, I found his messages to be infinitely inspiring and uplifting."12. What are your career goals? If this is your first job or several years into your career, you want to be thinking a little bit about the future as you prepare for your interview. Interviewers want to understand how this job fits into your longer-term goals. They also like hearing that you have professional goals!
If you're not 100% sure what career path you wish to take, you can tell them about how you want to develop specific skills that will help you in a professional setting. If the position is administrative, learning how to use software, phone systems, and scheduling are all skills that are helpful when working in any career. Here is an answer example: "I want to become a dental hygienist. Working at your clinic, as a dental assistant will give me exposure to the field and valuable work experience to help me reach my goal." Here is an admin answer example: "My goal is to start as your receptionist and earn my way into an executive assistant position. I will aim for excellence every step of the way." Here is a manager answer example: "One goal that I recently achieved was to complete my Bachelor's Degree in Organizational Management. The next goal at hand is for me to find an MIT (management in training) program that will give me the much-needed career foundation that I crave. I am so impressed with your company's MIT program and know I will reach this next goal with the support of your organization." Here is a marketing answer example: "Being a Marketing Director is a dream of mine which I realize will take many years of dedication and hard work. I like that you mentioned your agency's interest in grooming junior marketing associates for higher-level roles. I look forward to soaking up all the training and mentoring that your agency has to offer." Here is a retail answer example: "I have my eye on becoming a buyer for retail one day. I think it would be amazing to work my way up the ranks in your organization, gaining valuable experience at all levels, to reach this exciting goal with your company." Here is a sales answer example: "Ultimately, I want to run a branch as a Sales Manager. I have an aggressive timeline for this and have developed a 7-year timeline, and to achieve these goals, I need to excel in every position I have here so that I can earn my way up the ladder." Here is a teacher answer example: "My goal is to remain an elementary school teacher until I retire! Being a teacher has been my dream for many years, and I am excited to begin my journey with this school."13. Tell me about a time you were honest. Honesty and integrity are qualities that employers always seek out in candidates, but they can be difficult to find. By giving an example of how you were honest about a mistake you made, you are demonstrating that you are trustworthy. When an employer can trust you, they know they can rely on you to get the job done, handle confidential material and money. For your first job, this may be one of the most valuable qualities you bring to the table! Here is an answer example: "I noticed the cashier gave me back too much cash back at checkout, but I had already left the store. I went back in as soon as I noticed and gave him the ten dollars back. He was shocked. I felt so much better knowing I did the right thing." Here is an admin answer example: "Honesty is an important quality to me. When I was in high school, I handed in a paper that I didn't write. I felt so guilty about it that I quickly confessed to my teacher that I was not honest with my work. She appreciated my honesty and gave me an extension to try again." Here is a manager answer example: "'When I was the Captain of my football team, I knew about some of the students using performance enhancements. I felt it was my responsibility to let the coach know. I knew it would hurt my team, but I also didn't want our team to win due to dishonest behavior." Here is a marketing answer example: "In University, I noticed it was common practice for students to 'dine and dash.' I thought it was terrible behavior so I stopped hanging out with people that behaved that way. I never want to be associated with dishonesty." Here is a retail answer example: "I went shopping recently where the cashier forgot to ring in my third item and just charged me for two. I noticed when I arrived home, so I called the shop and had them charge my credit card over the phone." Here is a sales answer example: "When I was working as a server, I received an absurdly large tip on a party that had already paid the mandated large group gratuity. A lot of times people miss that there was a required gratuity included, so I ran over to their table before they left to let them know. It had, in fact, been a mistake. However, they were so appreciative that they told me to keep the extra tip anyway!" Here is a teacher answer example: "I once had a friend ask me my honest opinion on their style when it came to their interview outfits. I knew the persons' outfits were not professional looking and didn't want to hurt their feelings, but it was also vital that I help set them up for success. This friend took the feedback well and thanked me for my honesty despite the risk associated."14. What are you looking for in a job? This question can be a tricky one to answer if you've never had a job before! Think about your education and any volunteer experience you have received or training. What are some aspects of those experience that you enjoyed?
For most people, working in an environment that is positive and encouraging helps them to feel more motivated and often more productive. Your coworkers can have a significant influence on your experience as well. If you work with positive and encouraging people, you will feel appreciated and cared for at work.
Review the job description so that you can also share some of what you're looking forward to learning. The most exciting part of a new job is that you have so much room to grow and learn. This interview marks the beginning of your career so, get excited! Here is an answer example: "I am looking for a supportive environment with positive people who want to help each other succeed. I know that many workplaces have competitive cultures, but I am not interested in that as a focus, at this time. I appreciate the personalities that I have met in your organization so far. It feels like a nice fit here, already." Here is an admin answer example: "I am new to my career so I am looking for a job that will give me great training and a positive work environment." Here is a manager answer example: "I am looking for a company who will take the time to train me, and a manager who will mentor me. I am greatly attracted to learning opportunities and am a sponge when it comes to new information. An organization that will happily feed my thirst for knowledge is ideal. Your management training program looks intense and in-depth which is very exciting to me." Here is a marketing answer example: "I am seeking an agency that loves to take a calculated risk, try the latest methods in marketing, and be the first in many areas. Your agency has won multiple awards related to innovation in your creative space, which is what first attracted me to you. I am thrilled with the idea of launching my career with your team." Here is a retail answer example: "In the immediate term, I am looking for flexibility in hours, and to gain more customer service experience. As a full-time student, I am interested in working evenings and weekends in an industry related to my fashion design degree. Who knows - maybe down the road you will promote me to your design team!" Here is a sales answer example: "I'm looking for a company with which I can grow, and a team that will help me do it. I want to make the right decision with my first job out of school that will put me on the right career path and gives me opportunities for advancement when I prove myself." Here is a teacher answer example: "I am actively seeking a school with a solid community reputation, strong resources, and a seasoned faculty that I can learn from."15. If hired here, how long do you believe you would stay at our company? You may not know the answer to this, for sure, but the interviewer still wants assurance that this role is not just a short blip on your employment radar. It's expensive for an employer to hire and adequately train new employees and they need assurance that their investment of time and money will offer a return.
Rather than giving them a time frame, you may want to share your career goals. You can say, "I am working towards becoming a sales manager, and I would be thrilled to lead one of your teams here one day."
By sharing that you have a vested interest in the company, they will feel reassured that you are indeed going to stick around for a while. Here is an answer example: "I am working towards becoming a sales manager, and I would be thrilled to lead one of your teams here one day." Here is an admin answer example: "I would like to stay with your company as long as you will have me! I am just starting my career and want to have proven tenure, from the start. It sounds as though you have many professional development opportunities here that will keep me engaged, and challenged." Here is a manager answer example: "I appreciate you taking a risk when it comes to hiring me because I do not have current tenure to which you can refer. I am a loyal person, which you can see in my related athletic commitments as well as the volunteer opportunity I have committed to for the past three years. I plan to stay long-term." Here is a marketing answer example: "Working for your company would be a dream come true! I have had my eye on your agency since I started earning my Marketing degree. I would be a dependable and long-term addition to your team. You will be hard-pressed to find another candidate more enthusiastic than I!" Here is a retail answer example: "I see this as a long-term position for myself. I understand that there are many growth opportunities with your organization and I look forward to proving myself here, first as a retail sales associate, and eventually into a district manager." Here is a sales answer example: "I am looking for a company with which I can grow. It's been fascinating and informative to hear how you have some employees that have been here for over ten years, and how they've grown throughout their tenure. I loved learning that there are mentoring opportunities and hope to get involved as soon as I start. My professional goal is to earn my way into a territory sales position with your organization, in the next few years." Here is a teacher answer example: "It's important to me that I join a school where I can carve out a long-term career. My wish is to nurture long-term relationships with these students, their families, and this community."16. Tell me about a difficult situation you had to deal with. What steps did you take to resolve it? The interviewer would like to know how you deal with challenging or uncomfortable situations. If you're not sure about what type of example to give, you may want to think of cases from school, sports teams, volunteer or internships. Let's say you experienced a conflict with a member of your soccer team. Maybe they believed a rumor, or you had a situation of miscommunication. What did you do about it? Here is an answer example: "My soccer teammate and I weren't getting along. We used to be best friends but we started to get into fights, and I think I hurt her feelings. I apologized and asked if there was anything I could do. We patched things up, and through this, I learned how important it is to have clear communication and to be humble and willing to take the initiative to solve conflicts." Here is an admin answer example: "When I was in high school, I was in a terrible car accident right before my senior year. I spent much of my first semester in the hospital, going to physio, and attending physician's appointments. I had to work extra hard to complete my assignments on time, and perform research, with so many days missed. My teacher allowed my friends to take turns recording the class on their smartphone and they would text me the video, which was helpful. There is always a workaround when faced with a difficult situation. I truly believe that." Here is a manager answer example: "During University I lost a paper when my computer crashed. I was putting the finishing touches on it when it was just gone. Mortified, I immediately called my professor to explain the situation and ask for a minor extension. I then took my laptop to the Apple store for a major troubleshoot and fix. Amazingly, they were able to recover my document! Had I not been persistent, and just threw my hands up in the air from frustration, I would have caused myself unnecessary work and stress." Here is a marketing answer example: "One of the most difficult situations that I have faced was not being accepted into my first school of choice. This situation taught me not to put my eggs in one basket, so to speak, but to diversify myself a bit better when it comes to my personal and professional goals. I believe that everything happens for a reason and am now so happy that I completed my marketing degree at University ABC versus my initial first choice." Here is a retail answer example: "I have had some challenging experiences, but I would say that the most challenging was juggling my football commitment with school this past year. Our team was amazing which also came with high expectations. I needed to keep my GPA high while also dedicating an incredible amount of time to practice, games, and travel for tournaments. This experience taught me multi-tasking and gave me quite a good amount of resilience when it comes to managing a packed schedule!" Here is a sales answer example: "I am the Editor-in-Chief of my school's e-newsletter. The situation became complicated when one of the girls on the newsletter, who started at the same time as I did, was upset with my critique and edits on her submission. It is part of my job to critique the quality, substance, style, and grammar of her submissions and it wasn't up to par. I invited her out to grab a cup of coffee between classes to hash the issue out. I complimented her abilities, and we were able to come to a better understanding and clear the air. I'm so happy that I took the situation head-on instead of letting the uncomfortable situation fester." Here is a teacher answer example: "My practicum was probably the most challenging experience I had in my academic career. The school I ended up in was in a very rough neighborhood where the kids were not disciplined or well cared for, to be frank. I found it hard not to address their situations and focus only on the education point. I am a caring person and was very sensitive to their situations. As a teacher, I plan to provide my students with the education they need but also want them to know that I am there for them if they need an ear when it comes to their other matters."17. How would your favorite teacher or professor describe you? Talking about yourself can be challenging, especially when you feel like you may not have a lot of life experience. Focus on the great things that your educators have said about you in the past, either on report cards, in passing, or on the remarks on an assignment.
Your favorite teacher is someone who recognizes your hard work and your talents. They may be impressed with your writing and communication skills, how well you work in groups and your enthusiasm. If you have spent any time one-on-one with your teacher and received feedback, share what you have learned from your experiences in their class. Talk about how they noticed your strengths and helped you to develop them. Your perseverance, kindness and hard working spirit are all great qualities to share in your interview. Here is an answer example: "I believe that my favorite teacher, who was my Grade 12 English teacher, would describe me as creative, tenacious, and focused. I did well in her class and was highly engaged in most assignments." Here is an admin answer example: "My favorite professor always said that I was very disciplined and attentive. I took that as a great compliment because he was a very focused personality as well." Here is a manager answer example: "My favorite professor was my Statistics prof. He took a notoriously difficult course and made it fun. I enjoyed his teaching style and believe he would describe me as diligent, inquisitive, and well-spoken." Here is a marketing answer example: "While earning my Marketing degree, I had a professor who was an absolute whiz when it came to social media marketing strategies and algorithms. I soaked up everything she said when it came to her classes. I believe she would describe me as someone who goes the extra mile, a strong researcher, and a person passionate about results." Here is a retail answer example: "My absolute favorite teacher in high school was my drama teacher! She was so fun and encouraged us to be as creative as possible. I believe she would describe me as energetic, positive, and encouraging to those around me." Here is a sales answer example: "One of my professors gave me a huge compliment of asking me to research and edit his book after I graduated, as a contributor to his research project. So, not only does he think that I am a great persuasive writer, but he also trusts my work ethic, research, and editing skills." Here is a teacher answer example: "One of my favorite professors was also a published author and highly respected in the education space. He took a liking to me, and my work, and is one of my references. I know he would describe me as empathetic, self-assured, and enthusiastic about kids and teaching."18. Tell me about a time when a teacher or professor gave you constructive criticism. Part of the role of a student is to accept feedback on your work, and implement the recommended changes so that you can make yourself better for next time! Take some time to think of any constructive feedback you received and how you responded. Your reaction to feedback and criticism is essential to the interviewer. You should react humbly and highlight your willingness to work hard to improve. Here is an answer example: "I had a professor, during my first year of University, tell me that if I did not become more organized that I would have a difficult time in life. The criticism was a bit harsh, but his statement was true! After hearing that, I implemented a better schedule for myself and utilized some planning and organizational tools that the school provided to new students. Now, I am the most organized person that I know!" Here is an admin answer example: "Teachers and professors hold a lot of weight when it comes to a student's success and esteem in school. I had a biology high school teacher who knew that I had an interest in becoming a medical transcriptionist. She would give me suggested reading, and other tips and tricks to encourage my dream. When it came time for me to apply for the certificate program, she gave me incredible feedback on my application before I sent it. Without her willingness to give me feedback, I am not sure they would have accepted me on the first try." Here is a manager answer example: "I had a professor once tell me that my writing skills were atrocious. Ouch! Rather than become offended and drop his class, I took an online course on persuasive writing, and another on AP style. These two courses completely changed my writing style, and the prof noticed the improvement immediately." Here is a marketing answer example: "In my first year of Marketing, I was falling a bit behind in the class when it came to my understanding of certain business concepts. Out of a point of caring, one of my professors suggested that I find a tutor if I wanted to catch up and maintain a competitive GPA. I was expecting things to come a bit more naturally to me, so the reality stung a little, but she was not wrong. I found a tutor right away and was back on track shortly after." Here is a retail answer example: "In high school, my English teacher had serious criticism when it came to a paper that I had worked quite hard on. My research was impeccable, but she mentioned that the way I was trying to drive my comparisons home, was simply not effective. I took this feedback and took a creative writing course on Udemy that weekend. I gained some great tips and tricks, and my next assignment was much better. I am happy that she was honest with me and wanted to help me to succeed." Here is a sales answer example: "I had a professor in University that critiqued my fluency and writing skills in great detail. The feedback was often unexpected because I would hand in what I thought to be a perfect paper, only to get a masterpiece of red marker back from him. But, with this feedback, my confidence and comfort with writing papers grew. Thanks to him, I will now be able to write comprehensive proposals and quotes." Here is a teacher answer example: "While obtaining my Bachelor's Degree in Education, I had one professor tell me that I was too sensitive to be a high school teacher. I was deeply offended at first because she did not know me and it felt like a judgment! After letting the criticism simmer for a couple of days, I approached her after class and asked her to elaborate on the feedback. I needed to know what triggered the remark. She clarified by saying that I was seemingly unsure of myself when answering questions and when I wrote my papers I was coming across as too empathetic and unsure of my expertise. I looked back at my work, determined that she was correct, and pivoted from there. Now, my more recent papers truly reflect the confidence that I have in my knowledge as a trained educator."19. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? The interviewer would like to know what interests you in your off-time. If you are a part of any organizations, sports teams or clubs, talk about your involvement. Share the role you play and your contribution as well as what you enjoy about it. If you enjoy other activities like writing, hiking or spending time with friends, talk about those too.
This question gives the interviewer a chance to get to know you. They are interested in learning about your personality and what motivates you. If any of your outside activities are related to this position, be sure to talk about them and how they will strengthen your performance in this job. Here is an answer example: "In my free time I volunteer at the homeless shelter. I believe in the importance of giving back to my community and helping the less fortunate. It's very fulfilling for me and has given me work-related, transferable skills such as being reliable, offering 'service with a smile,' and actively listening to others and their needs." Here is an admin answer example: "In my spare time, I like to go hiking and biking in the mountains. I recently joined a mountain biking club where a group of us will meet on a particular trail every Sunday morning and ride together. It's a great workout and has been an excellent way for me to meet new friends." Here is a manager answer example: "I listen to a lot of podcasts on leadership, business, and coaching. I listen to one or two per day, which I consider highly valuable training for my future career in management!" Here is a marketing answer example: "In my spare time, I like to write content and manage my blog. I have learned a great deal when it comes to audience engagement and even email automation, by having my blog. Currently, I have over 500 subscribers." Here is a retail answer example: "I love to play around with fashion, styling, and photography in my spare time. My friends often ask me to go shopping with them to help them find stylish clothes. I have a fun fashion-related Instagram account with a couple of thousand followers. It's been a fun past time for me." Here is a sales answer example: "I love to read in my free time and spend as much time as I can doing that. I can be found reading anything from a 19th-century piece of British literature to the latest dystopian fantasy novel. My absolute favorite thing to do is to travel and couple it with reading: on the beach, on the plane, or just read about the cool intricacies of the place I'm visiting." Here is a teacher answer example: "I am currently writing an e-book in my spare time! The book focuses on helping students survive their first year of University. It will include tips and tricks related to writing papers, study habits, and more. It's been a fun project."20. What questions do you have about this job? The interviewer is opening the floor for you to ask any questions that you may still have. Be sure to have thoughtful inquiries not answered from basic research and active listening. Perhaps some responsibilities or expectations need clarifying. You should always have at least one question prepared so that you appear engaged in the process.
Here are some sample questions:
- When would you like to have this position filled?
- How long has this role been vacant?
- Is this a replacement search or a newly created role?
- What is your favorite part about working here?
- What is the company's primary goal for this position in the next 12 months?
- Is there anything from my education that I can clarify for you?
- What do you see as the most significant change in this industry over the past three years?
- Is there any reason why you would not hire me? Here is an answer example: Here is an admin answer example: "My biggest question for you is if you feel that I would be a fit for this job? Is there anything that I can clarify for you when it comes to my strengths, and how they will fit with your administrative needs?" Here is a manager answer example: "I am very keen on this opportunity. When are you expecting to make your decision?" Here is a marketing answer example: "Thank you for asking! Could you share with me who your biggest client is at this time, and the services that you are providing for them? I would like to understand your client scope better." Here is a retail answer example: "I would like to understand better the hours that you would like for me to fill, and also how soon you would like to fill this position? I am available to start anytime and would love to fill your need on weekends and evenings." Here is a sales answer example: "I was hoping you could share with me your career path here and what you foresee mine looking like, should I be offered this position." Here is a teacher answer example: "Is there anything that I can clarify for you regarding my education, GPA, or coursework? I would like to know if any roadblocks would prevent you from hiring me for this role."21. What do you hope to gain from this position? The interviewer is looking for an idea of why this job will fulfill your needs as a recent entry into the job market. If you can think about the main tasks that piqued your interest when you first read the job description, then those aspects are most likely what you are most excited.
For instance, maybe the job posting says, “Must be excited about social media marketing.”
You could reply with: “I love using social media for personal marketing but haven’t had as much opportunity to do so in a professional setting. I seek to gain the professional training that you offer as well as the opportunity to be in a client-facing role." Here is an answer example: " Here is an admin answer example: "I aim to grow as an administrative professional while contributing meaningful work to an organization. My new education had me ready and prepared to make an impact in the workforce." Here is a manager answer example: "I'm looking to start my career with an organization that will push me, stretch me, and teach me more about the industry and my leadership capabilities. I look forward to becoming more tech-savvy in the POS and inventory management systems you utilize. I look forward to becoming an effective team leader." Here is a marketing answer example: "I am strong in the areas of content writing and social media but have never been in a professional agency setting. I seek to move away from small customers as a freelancer, to a full out agency that can teach me their way. I know I am missing some considerable experience but my diligence and keen attitude will make up for my inexperience." Here is a retail answer example: "I seek to land a customer service role that offers commission opportunities while allowing me to work around my University schedule. I am looking for a company with which I can grow, and I feel as though this is the best place for me in both the short and long-term." Here is a sales answer example: "I am looking for a position that allows me to move into outside sales and with opportunity for growth into a territory manager position in the next three years. I am longing for a young company that believes in rewarding high performing employees and wants to invest in its talent." Here is a teacher answer example: "As a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Education program, I am looking for a school with a faculty that will help me to mold a successful teaching career. I understand that your school is well known for nurturing future talent in the education system which excites me."
Writers for No Experience Answers and Questions
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace.
Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career.
Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise.
Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
First written on: 12/16/2015 Last modified on: 06/29/2018
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