Student Interview

A student interview is a final hurdle to overcome now your CV has got you that interview with your prospective employer. Many people hate interviews because you have to sell yourself and most of us are not very good at that. People can clam up and struggle for something to say but use the interview questions and answers and tips below, and you'll be more prepared for the job you are going for than the other candidates.

An interview is really like the exams you have already taken. Those can be stressful as you don't know the questions that you're going to get asked, but interviews are different because the same questions are the same for most people going for jobs.

Preparing for the Interview

You'll need to be prepared for the interview and know something about the company you are going to visit. Undertake some research online and find out what products the company sells and their turnover figures. Know the name of the person you are going to be interviewed by and take along a few copies of your CV just in case there is more than one person on the interview panel.

If you have a job specification, then take that along and while you are waiting to go through it and remind yourself how you fit what the job entails.

Remember that you have been asked to the interview because the employer believes your CV to be a good fit for the job they are offering so don't worry that you are not the right person because you probably are.

You'll need to be confident in your abilities but not over confident. The employer wants to hear about you and meet with you and it's also your opportunity to ask about things that are not in the job specification.

Interview Questions and Answers

Here are the most common interview questions you'll likely get and some suggested answers.

Tell me About You

This first question you'll need to spend the most time on because they are asking you to sell yourself. It will also be the answer to many other questions the interview panel will ask you. Say what skills and knowledge you possess and what your interests are outside of work. Say where you believe you will be in 5 years time.

What are Your Strengths?

Again, this is a selling question, and this is more about what you have achieved rather than course you have taken. You might say you are a good team leader and player but can work alone as well. Try to talk about strengths that relate to the job you are applying for so the interviewer can see how you will fit into their team. Some people have trouble finding their strengths but everyone has many - maybe ask your friends and family first to see what they think.

What are your weaknesses?

Everyone believes they have weaknesses but don't tell the interviewer but try and turn a negative into a positive like "I am better at strategic thinking rather than the detail elements and that's why I employ people to undertake these tasks for me to ensure they get done correctly".

What do Your Friends Say About You?

This question can stump some people but stay positive and describe how you are picked for the football knock about on Saturdays, or they find you reliable and trustworthy, and they can always talk to you about any issues they have, and you provide an unbiased response.

What Salary Are You Looking at Earning?

It's best to avoid money related questions in an interview but if asked you are likely to know what the job is paying but present your answer giving a range of figures rather than anything specific i.e.: I'm looking for a salary of between x and y for this position.

Why Did You Leave Your Last Job

This time isn't an opportunity to moan about the company you are leaving but to say you enjoyed working with your colleagues but are looking for more opportunities to broaden your skills and knowledge in a different industry to where you have been working previously.

Is There Anything You Would Like to Ask Us?

Towards the end of the process is your opportunity to ask some questions about the job, the company or the team you hope to join. Do not ask about money at all or useless questions like when do I start. That type of detail should be in the job description. It's best if you ask about the company and where they see themselves going as this shows an interest.

Illegal Interview Questions

Although the interview can be tough on your nerves, your interviewer just can't ask anything they like. Some questions are illegal especially if they're of a personal nature and are not trying to find out if you have the right skills for the job. Examples of these questions are:

  • Are you thinking of starting a family or are you pregnant?
  • What are your childcare arrangements?
  • How old are you?
  • Where were you born?
  • Are you married?
  • Do you have a disability?
  • Do you drink alcohol?
  • Are you affiliated with any organisations?

Mock Interviews

Everyone will have to have an interview at least once in their life and it's not something to look forward to so why not ask a friend to ask you all the interview questions above and see how you answer them yourself. Your friend can also ask you other questions to see how you cope under pressure. It's a good idea to write down the answers to every question so you get used to them and then look at them before the interview and when you are travelling around.