Common Interview Questions for Students (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated April 5, 2021 | Published October 27, 2020

Updated April 5, 2021

Published October 27, 2020

Related: How to Answer "Tell Me About Yourself:" College Student Edition

In this video, Jenn, a certified career coach, will give you the knowledge you need to tell a compelling 2-3 minute story about your career aspirations and why you’re a good fit for the role you’re interviewing for.

Interviews are a crucial part of the job application process. For a student or recent graduate with less professional experience, one way to boost your interview performance is by practicing your answers to commonly asked questions. When responding to interviewers, use examples from your educational background or other relevant experiences to showcase what makes you the best candidate. In this article, we provide over 30 common questions you may face as a student during the interview process, along with sample answers to help you prepare.

Related: The New Graduate's Guide To Job Search

General questions

Usually, interviewers start by asking general questions to assess your personality, interest in the position and general background. Try to prepare for some of these questions:

  • Tell me about yourself.

  • What are your strengths?

  • What are your weaknesses? How are you working on improving them?

  • Why are you interested in this position?

  • What do you know about our organization?

  • Why are you interested in working for our organization?

  • What are your professional goals?

  • How would you describe yourself as an employee?

  • What are your interests or hobbies?

  • What are you passionate about?

  • What motivates you?

  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

  • Why should we hire you?

  • Do you have any questions for me?

Related: 125 Common Interview Questions and Answers (With Tips)

Questions about experience and background

Interviewers want to ensure your educational background and prior experience can support the role. Prepare yourself to answer questions about your qualifications, including:

  • Walk me through your resume.

  • What do you enjoy most about your major? What do you like least about it?

  • Tell me about some of the relevant courses you are taking.

  • Do you believe your grades accurately reflect your academic achievements?

  • What do you enjoy most about your school? What do you like least about it?

  • Are you involved in any extracurricular activities?

  • What have you done for professional development?

  • What prior experience do you have related to this position?

  • What do you hope to gain from this position?

  • What academic or other accomplishments are you most proud of?

  • Do you have leadership experience?

  • How has your education prepared you for this position or industry?

  • Do you have plans for continuing your education?

In-depth questions

These questions assess how you handle specific situations at work. Some examples include:

  • Tell me about a time when you disagreed with someone you were working with, and how did you resolve it?

  • Tell me about a time you failed or made a mistake. How did you handle it?

  • Have you ever disagreed with a professor on their evaluation of your work? How did you handle the situation?

  • What is your ideal work environment?

  • Do you prefer to work independently or with a team?

  • How do you handle stressful situations?

  • Describe how you organize your time and set priorities during a typical day.

  • Tell me about a time when you had to manage multiple assignments or projects at once.

  • Give me an example of a time when you set a goal for yourself and achieved it.

  • Have you ever missed a deadline? Why, and what was the outcome?

  • Give me an example of a time when you overcame a challenge.

  • Tell me about a time when you exceeded expectations on an assignment or task.

Interview questions for students with sample answers

The following questions and sample answers can give you a sense of the type of information you should provide to interviewers:

What would you consider to be your greatest achievement as a student?

Interviewers want to see that you can set goals for yourself and take the right steps to achieve them. Try to focus on an achievement that makes you unique from other candidates and showcases the value you would bring to the employer. One way to differentiate yourself is to include specific challenges you overcame.

Example: "During my freshman year, I set a goal to make the dean's list at my university, which required at least a 4.6 GPA. Not only did I achieve this by the end of that year, but I stayed on the dean's list until graduation. Because I worked during the week, I set aside time during weekends to study and get ahead on my coursework. I also formed study groups and joined academic clubs to gain extra support. Though difficult at times, the sense of accomplishment I felt drove me to work harder and harder each year."

Why did you choose the school or college you attended?

Interviewers may ask this question to get a sense of how you make important life decisions and set the priorities for your career and education. Your answer can show interviewers that you have a professional path you are working toward and understand the steps you need to take to get there. Highlight what aspects of school were important to you as a student but also in achieving your desired career path.

Example: "One of the first things that drew me to my university is that it hosts one of the nation's top engineering schools. I knew obtaining a degree from there would allow me to work with some of the best engineering professors and students, which would make me strive to do the best I could to compete with them. It also provided me the opportunity to specialize in my preferred field, civil engineering, and conduct research that would not only improve my expertise but give me hands-on experience."

Why did you choose your major? What do you enjoy most about it?

Interviewers want to learn more about your educational background and how it relates to the position. Try to include the skills and experiences from your major that will help you succeed in the job. You can also use this question to show your interest in their industry and your motivation for why you are pursuing a career in it.

Example: "I decided to get a degree in education because teachers made significant impacts on me throughout my life—and I want to do the same for today's students. I had the chance to work as a teacher's aide at a middle school and greatly enjoyed working alongside children and supporting their educational growth. Inspired by my past teachers, I communicate with empathy and patience while using listening skills to ensure I provide as much guidance to the children as they need. I am passionate about creating an environment where children feel safe and thrive."

How would your professors, previous supervisors or peers describe you?

Interviewers ask questions like this to assess your level of self-awareness about your strengths. In some cases, they compare your response with how your supplied references describe you, so you may want to ask references for their opinions before your interviews. Focus your answer on strengths that are relevant to the position or valuable to an employer, such as being a hard worker or a quick learner.

Example: "My supervising peers at the college newspaper have complimented me on my reliability as a reporter and ability to work well under pressure. My editors know if they assign me a story that I will complete it within the deadline, and for that reason, they continue to hand me larger, more complex stories because. I am often required to report on breaking news, so I am very comfortable working in high-pressure situations while keeping my composure and producing great work despite the time constraints."

Related: Interview Question: "How Would Your Coworkers Describe You?" (With Examples)

Tell me about a time when you worked with a team to meet a specific goal.

Many jobs require some form of collaboration or teamwork, so interviewers want to ensure you are comfortable working with others. As a student or recent graduate, you can share an example from school or an extracurricular that shows your collaboration and communication skills. Try to be specific about the role you played and your contributions toward achieving the team's goal.

Example: "Last semester, I worked with three other students to complete a presentation for our sociology class. I set up an initial meeting to discuss our topic, and we determined it would be best to divide different sections of the presentation amongst ourselves. Due to my graphic design expertise, I handled the presentation's visual components. We set up several check-in meetings for accountability purposes. With our organized approach, we completed the project well before the deadline and got an A. Our professor also complimented me on the unique design that I created for our presentation."

Related: How To Use the STAR Interview Response Technique

Why would you be a good fit for this position?

Interviewers ask this question to gain insights about your qualifications for the job. Try to take a two-step approach, starting with the unique strengths, skills or experiences you have that make you a great candidate. Then use those skills to show how you would bring value to the organization and the specific role. Depending on your experience level, your examples can come from a prior job, extracurricular activity or academic life.

Example: "For the past year, I have been responsible for managing my sorority's social and fundraising events. I organize these events and ensure everything goes according to plan while also overseeing the events' marketing efforts. I am also obtaining a bachelor's degree in communications, where my relevant coursework has taught me the most effective marketing tactics, including email campaigns. Together, these experiences helped me improve our sorority's alumni engagement by 5%, and I am confident I could use these skills to support your marketing team's goals."

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