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How to Answer Common Entry-Level Interview Questions Like a Pro (With Examples)!

A woman answering entry-level interview questions

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Even when you’re interviewing for a role that isn’t entry-level, there’s a good chance you’ll be asked some entry-level interview questions. And whether you’re a seasoned pro or this is your first interview, coming up with an answer that impresses the hiring manager isn’t as simple as memorizing whatever shows up in your search results. 

This guide will give you the tips and tricks you need to answer entry-level interview questions with ease.

15 Common Entry-Level Interview Questions

While you’ll also likely hear some of the below questions during an interview for a higher-level position, here are 15 interview questions to prepare for when applying for an entry-level job:

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Why did you apply for the job?
  3. What are your greatest strengths?
  4. What are your weaknesses?
  5. Why do you think you’re qualified for the position?
  6. What are your career goals?
  7. How has your education prepared you for the job?
  8. What were some of your least favorite classes? Why?
  9. How did you hear about the job?
  10. What do you know about our company?
  11. What type of work environment do you thrive in?
  12. What are your salary expectations?
  13. What questions do you have for me?
  14. Where do you see yourself in five years?
  15. Behavioral questions (Tell me about a time when… How do you handle…)

>>MORE: How to Use the STAR Method for Interview Questions

How to Answer Entry-Level Interview Questions

It seems easy to prepare for entry-level interview questions. And, in some respects, it is. Because they’re such common interview questions, you can research an answer that works in any and every interview.

But that strategy alone is unlikely to help you land the job. Even though hiring managers know these are common (and easily researched) entry-level interview questions, they still ask them because they reveal a lot of information about the candidates — how prepared they are, how interested they are in the job, and what kind of employee they might be. And Your answers also tell the hiring manager how much work you did to create an original response that explains why they should hire you.

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So, how do you create a memorable and outstanding answer for these entry-level interview questions?

Include Unique Examples

“Most job seekers will have memorized all the lists of the ‘right’ answers,” says Bernadette Pawlik, senior partner at Pawlik/Dorman Custom Search and recruiting insider and career strategist at Coffee & Consult. “And, trust me, most employers know those lists, and they [don’t appreciate it when] someone answers, ‘What is your greatest flaw?’ with, ‘I’m a perfectionist.’”

Instead, Pawlik advises job seekers to come up with at least two well-thought-out examples that help them answer each of these questions. Pawlik explains. “So, if someone says, ‘Why did you choose your major,’ have two examples of what drew you to that major. If someone asks you why you are interested in the company, make sure you have 30 minutes of research in that company invested so you can answer with two examples.”

Two examples may seem like overkill. But having more than one can help you stand out to the hiring manager. It demonstrates you’ve done more than memorize the “one best answer.” And it shows that you’ve thoroughly prepared for the interview and are deeply interested in the role.

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Show Your Excitement

Researching the company helps you prepare answers specific to the company and the role. For example, you can mention a challenge the company faces and how you’ll use your skills to help it overcome the challenge. Your research can also help you determine what questions you should ask during the interview so you can better understand the role and the company’s culture.

Researching the organization will also help you express your deep and genuine excitement about the job as you answer the entry-level interview questions.

“If you go in having researched the company (google the company name to get analyst reports, read every article you can find, google the C-Suite) and you can reference what you learned, you convey authentic enthusiasm,” says Pawlik. Authentic enthusiasm is often the best answer to any interview question.

Example Answers for Common Entry-Level Interview Questions

So, what does this look like in action? Here are some example answers for common entry-level interview questions.

1. Tell me about yourself.

Recruiters and hiring managers often ask this question as an icebreaker. They may also ask you to walk them through your resume or to summarize your professional history.

How to answer: Stick with the professional side of things, and if you aren’t sure what to say, your elevator pitch is a great place to start.

I’m a senior who’s graduating this spring with a degree in accounting and finance, and I’m looking for my first job in the consulting industry. I volunteer in the tutoring center, helping students with calculus, and was also the vice president of the accounting club. I also completed several Forage accounting virtual job simulations, where I got to hone my skills and confirm that I enjoy the field.

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2. Why did you choose your major?

Some people start and finish college in the same major. Others start in one major then change (perhaps a few times) before declaring and graduating. No matter your situation, the interviewer is asking why you settled on this one. What about it seems exciting? Or are you motivated by a personal story or passion?

How to answer: What’s important here is answering with something outside of “I don’t know,” “It kind of just happened,” or “Money.” Any and all of these answers may be the truth, but they aren’t the kinds of things you should share in an entry-level interview (or any interview, really). Instead, talk about a professor who inspired you or a class that caught your interest.

When I started college, I wanted to be an engineer or architect. I liked the idea of building and creating things, but once I started the coursework, I found it kind of boring. I switched to undeclared, which allowed me to take courses outside of the engineering department, and I took a data science class. I really liked learning how to use data to tell stories and creating the visualizations. After a few more intro data science courses, I realized this was the career for me. It’s the perfect mix of creative and science.

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3. What were some of your least favorite classes and why?

This is very similar to asking about your weaknesses or about a time you made a mistake. But the interviewer isn’t asking about your errors or weak spots. They’re asking what you learned or how you’re improving yourself.

How to answer: Honesty is the best policy, but don’t talk about how awful the professor was or that the class was at 7:00 a.m. Instead, pick something you disliked about the material.

I didn’t enjoy my chemistry for non-chemistry majors class. I had to take a science class as a gen ed, and this one seemed like a good fit for me. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t like the fact that instead of actually conducting experiments, everything was video-based. I’d watch someone on screen start the experiment, then the video would pause, and I’d have to pick A, B, or C for the next step and see what happened. Sometimes things would work out, other times they wouldn’t. I’m all for safety, but I don’t think I learned as much as I could have if the labs were more hands-on.

4. What do you know about the company/job?

This is another way of asking why you applied for the role or what about the job seems interesting to you.

How to answer: Use your research to paint a broad picture of what you know, then focus on the details to give the interviewer a deeper understanding of why you’re applying or how the company aligns with your career goals.

I know this is a VC-funded company devoted to bringing alternative energy sources to inner-city communities and it recently closed a big deal with X community. I think what the company is doing is innovative and exciting, and I know you’re looking for someone to help scale your marketing efforts, which is why I applied.

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5. Where do you see yourself in five years?

This is another common entry-level interview question (and non-entry level interview question!), and the hiring manager is asking if you’ve done any career planning and how this role fits into it. If you haven’t done any career planning, that’s OK, just make sure to explain why you’re applying for the role.

How to answer: This is not the time for answers like “In your chair” or “Running the company.” Your answer should be thoughtful and explain why you’re applying for the job.

I’m not exactly sure where I want to be in five years. I know I like working with products, but there are so many paths I could take. I could become a product designer, a product manager, a UX designer … it’s a lot. And that’s why I applied for this job. I’d get to do a little of each of those things and more, so it’s a great opportunity for me to test the waters for a few years, then choose a career path.

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Entry-Level Interview Questions Anytime

So, whether you’re interviewing for an entry-level role or something in the C-suite, now you know that entry-level interview questions pop up all the time. They’re a great way for the interviewer to get to know you, measure your interest in the role, and determine how prepared you are.

One other ideal way to prepare for an entry-level interview is by completing a free Forage virtual job simulation. You’ll experience what it’s like to work for top companies, build practical skills you’ll use on the job, and unlock an interview talking point you can use in your next interview.

Image credit: Canva

Rachel Pelta is the Head Writer at Forage. Previously, she was a Content Specialist at FlexJobs, writing articles for job seekers and employers. Her work has been featured in Fast Company, The Ladders, MSN, and Money Talks News.

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