First Job Interview Questions (With Examples)
Updated June 9, 2023
Your first job interview is where you have the opportunity to make a great impression. You need to be prepared and understand what the company does in addition to potential questions that may be asked. The way you answer the interviewer's questions determines if you move onto the next step of the interview process and position you to receive your first offer in the workforce.
In this article, we will talk about what a first job interview is, how to prepare for it, what questions you should expect and tips to be successful during the interview.
What is the first job interview?
The first job interview is the opportunity for you to meet with an interviewer about receiving an offer for your first job. Generally, you'll apply to jobs in high school, but this step can also occur when you're in college as well. During this stage, the employer is looking to narrow down the number of qualified candidates that can move ahead to the next stage.
You should expect to hear general questions about your background and interests, and you'll need to make the case on why you're the right fit for the position. You want to make sure that you answer the interviewer's questions clearly and concisely to give you an advantage in moving onto the next step of the process.
Read more: 12 Tough Interview Questions and Answers
How to prepare for your first interview
Review this list to help you prepare and increase your chances for success in your first interview:
Research the company and study the job posting.
Practice answering questions using the STAR method.
Get feedback on your answers from a mentor or a friend.
Come up with a list of references and questions to ask the interviewer.
1. Research the company and study the job posting
Researching the company is one of the vital parts of preparing for an interview. This step in the process enhances your knowledge of the company's industry, business operations, leadership and news coverage they have received. You can navigate their website and social media channels to find this information, but you can check search engines to locate relevant news coverage as well. The more you get to study an organization, it's more likely that you'll have a better idea about what type of person the company is looking for and the questions they may ask you.
Additionally, make sure that you have a full understanding of the job you're interviewing for. It's key to study the job description to identify the day-to-day responsibilities, years of experience and the skills required to answer the interviewer's questions appropriately. Usually, the first job you have is a part-time position that sets you up to get another job later on, so understand that your first job can set you up for another job that's aligned with your career path.
2. Practice answering questions using the STAR method
During your interview, you'll be required to answer questions about your skills and interest in the position. However, you may be asked behavioral questions to test your situational awareness, so you'll need to practice answering questions using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method that will turn your responses into a storytelling format that's easy to follow. You'll need to gear your answer to success during your academic career since you're applying for your first job.
Let's take a look at each step of the STAR method using an example of a student who's underscoring their experience while in school:
Describe the challenge you encountered in school and important details the interviewer should know about.
Example: "In my current role as the President of our school's French club, our club needed to hit our fundraising goal for our club's trip to Paris in the Summer. Our high school gave us tight deadlines, which lead to feelings of stress on my end."
Tell the interviewer about your responsibility that helped you rise above the challenge.
Example: "My role is to ensure that we schedule events in the community that help us fundraise and we're given three months to raise $5,000."
Explain the strategy you took to complete the goal you set out to finish by the deadline.
Example: "With our allotted budget, I contacted local businesses to help cater to our events for free took out ads in the student newspaper. We ended up having eight bake sales throughout the town, and we worked with other clubs to table at their events and drive more exposure and fundraising for our trip."
Define the outcome reached based on the actions you took. Use numbers and explicit examples to showcase your results when possible.
Example: "We ended up exceeding the $5,000 fundraising goal, so we donated the rest of the money to the school's French department which made me feel proud about my ability to execute under pressure and provide resources to a program I am passionate about. Our club enjoyed our trip to France, and it's great to explore another part of the world and get to know a different culture other than your"
3. Get feedback on your answers from a mentor or a friend
Practice your responses for your first job interview with a trusted mentor or friend that can give you constructive criticism. This way, you'll be highlighting which areas you need to prepare for on your time and ones you'll know when asked by the interviewer. A mentor may be a better source for you to prepare considering the experience they may have in the workforce, but your friend is also valuable if they work at the job you applied for. Either way, being prepared improves your confidence and increases your chances of receiving an offer.
4. Come up with a list of references and questions to ask the interviewer
Bring a list of references to your first job interview that can speak on behalf of your character and academic experience, along with questions that you want to ask the employer before going into your first interview. References can include teachers, community leaders and family friends. Also, the quality of the questions you ask shows your level of engagement and enthusiasm for the job you're applying for.
Check out this list of questions you can ask an employer:
How can someone succeed in this role?
How would you manage the performance of the employee working in this role?
Can you provide of few examples of challenges an employee encounters in this position?
What is the best way to collaborate to achieve success?
How do you expect to be working with this employee?
What do you like best about working for this organization?
Read more: The Complete Guide to Researching a Company
What questions should you expect?
You'll need to practice in advance before you interview with the interviewer. Take a look at this list of questions you can expect an employer to ask during the interview:
Tell me what you know about the organization.
Why are you interested in applying for this position?
How has your academic career positioned you to work in this role?
Why do you believe you're the right fit for this position?
How do you describe your collaboration skills?
Do you feel comfortable working in a team environment?
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Describe a scenario where you overcame adversity to reach a goal.
Explain a time where you had difficulty with a fellow student or teacher.
What are your salary expectations for this position?
Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years?
How do think others perceive you?
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Tips for a successful interview
Now that you have prepared for the interview, it's time for you to execute and stand out from the rest of the applicants. Review some additional tips to assist you during your first job interview:
Bring copies of your resume and take notes
You must print at least five copies of your resume, so you can give them to other interviews that may want to ask you questions about the position. You'll want to bring a notebook and a pen to write key talking points mentioned and refer back to them when writing your thank your note about what you learned.
Arrive at your interview at least 10 or 15 minutes early to ensure that you get there on time and get a feel for the workplace. Consider the best method of transportation to take and ask for a ride from a parent or a friend if necessary.
Focus on strengths and accomplishments
The point of your interview is to make yourself stand out from the rest of the applicants interviewing for this position, so highlight the primary ways you've impacted others in an academic environment and the measurable results you earned.
Follow-up after the interview
Take the initiative and send a personalized thank you note to each person you interviewed with. Make sure you obtain a business card from each person you interviewed with, so you know their email. You should email them within 24 to 48 hours after the interview.
Explore more articles
- 9 Subjects You Need to Become a Lawyer
- 40 of the Most Meaningful Jobs to Pursue
- How To Become an Esthetician in California (With Salary)
- 34 High-Paying Jobs That Offer Training (With Salaries)
- How To Become a Laser Hair Removal Technician
- How To Become a Dog Breeder (With Steps, Skills and Salary)
- 12 Characteristics of a Good Employer You Should Know About
- What Do Corporate Lawyers Do? (With Requirements and Skills)
- Q&A: How Long Do Job Postings Stay Up?
- What Can You Do With a Theology Degree? 28 Potential Careers
- Undergraduate Degrees for a Physician Assistant (With FAQs)
- 25 In-Demand Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree