Guest Author - Susan D. Bates
When you interview for your first job after college, you will likely be asked one or more of these questions about your education and your future plans. Prospective employers want to know what you gained from your college experience, your planning and decision-making ability, and your future goals. Use the information below to help you prepare for job interviews. If you have just begun their college career can use these questions to help them make the most out your college experience as you prepare for a future career.
Why did you choose your major?
Your answer to this question should convey that your choice of major was part of a well- thought-out decision and is related to the job you are applying for with their company. If you are applying for an accounting job and your majored in accounting, the connections are pretty easy to make. However, if you are applying for a job with a less-obvious connection to your major, do your best to make a connection. For example, if you majored in sociology and you are applying for a job as a buyer, you can discuss your experience with research and your understanding of people. Remember to show enthusiasm for your major and intended job field; enthusiasm goes a long way.
What did you gain from your educational experience?
When answering this question, include educationally related experiences including internships, extracurricular experiences, and service learning. Discuss any related experiences and skills you learned. These skills can be specific job-related skills and broad skills such as research or writing skills. Any skills that may be valuable to the employer can be mentioned. You can also discuss other benefits from your experiences, for example, the love of learning or self-confidence.
Which course did you like the best?
In general you want to select a course that you enjoyed and that relates to the job. If possible, subtly explain how the course is related to your intended job field in case the connection is not obvious to the employer. The most important thing is to show your enthusiasm for the subject and what you learned.
Which course did you like the least?
Never state you hated any course or professor. Discuss it using terms such as "least favorite." Select a course that is unrelated to the job to which you are applying. The course you select should not be one you did poorly in academically; you may be asked about the grade you earned. It is best to state something that you did like about the class or something you learned from it despite it being your least favorite class to show you still made positive gains.
Tell me about your involvement in extracurricular activities?
In answering this question, try to show that you did more than join an activity. Discuss how you were involved, your role, and any accomplishments. Explain how you contributed to meeting the goals of the group.
Why have you selected this career field?
When you answer this question, discuss what aspects of the job you expect to enjoy. Discuss why you think you will enjoy those aspects by giving concrete examples of any of your related experiences. Experience can be from internships, part-time jobs, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, or any day-to-day activities. Be sure to avoid mentioning salary or such potential benefits.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
This question is often asked during interviews whether the interviewee is a recent graduate or an experienced professional. Employers ask this question for a variety of reasons: to determine the candidate's ability to make well-thought-out plans, gauge the candidate's ambition, and predict how long the candidate is likely to stay in the current position. Therefore, this question can be difficult to answer. For recent graduates, it is best to respond with realistic, well-though-out goals. In general, employers expect employees to desire to advance beyond their first post-college job. However, you will want to make sure that any plans you mention could be accomplished while at their company. Employers invest a lot in new employees. They are often less willing to make an investment in someone who does not plan to remain at their company.
Employers use these and other questions to try to predict how you will perform in the job. Use these questions to help you prepare for future job interviews.