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Common graduate interview questions and how to answer them

Published: Tuesday, 28 February 2012   Category: All Graduate Jobs News | All Graduate job news

After spending hours perfecting your CV, you may still face the daunting hurdle of attending interviews that may run into second and third rounds.

Employers will ask questions that test your expertise, challenge your thinking and examine your dominant personality traits. Preparing for your interview in advance is critical to ensuring that you are fully equipped for one of the most important elements in your graduate job hunt and exuding an air of calm and confidence may be just the thing to impress potential employers.

While industry specific questions can vary, there a number of tried and tested questions that employers will incorporate into interviews time and again. To ensure that upcoming graduate job interviews don’t see you breaking out into a cold sweat, commit the following commonly asked questions and their corresponding answers to memory.

What made you apply for this role? Employers want to understand your exact motivations for applying for a position, and they don’t want to hear that you applied for the role because of its generous salary. Explain how your skills match the ethos of a company and talk about any company projects or products that you particularly admire. Refer to the person specification and job outline and talk about the specific points that attracted you to the position.

What are your weaknesses? This is a tricky one and while you should never be dishonest during an interview it’s important that you show any flaws in their most positive light. For example, if you lack expertise in a particular area then you could say something like: ‘Although I do have a good knowledge of IT packages, I would still love to have further training in the use of Excel.’

Have you got any questions? Interviews are normally rounded off by throwing the ball firmly back into your court. Questions regarding training opportunities, daily routines in the company or opportunities for growth should all help to put a smile on employers’ faces. You could also try some of the following questions:

  • Is there a fixed period of training for graduates?
  • I see it is possible to switch job functions - how often does this happen?
  • Do you send your managers on external training courses?
  • How often is a graduate's performance appraised?

Do you feel your interview technique could be improved? How important do you feel this might be when attempting to secure a graduate position?

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