Job Search & Interview

17 Common Job Interview Questions for Fresh Graduates With Answers

So your job application as a fresh graduate stood out. Congrats! However, that’s just the first part. You’ll have to impress even more during a job interview. 

This is why it’s crucial to prepare before the day arrives. To help you, I’m going to give you 17 common job interview questions for fresh graduates with answers. 

“Regardless of your educational background and specialization, the way you answer these common interview questions can have a significant effect on your odds of getting hired.” – Indeed editorial team

Read More: 7 Tips To Impress an Interviewer in 30 Seconds

17 Common Job Interview Questions and Answers for Fresh Graduates 

Let’s look at the 17 common job interview questions for fresh graduates with answers to help you prepare:

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. Why do you want to work here?
  3. What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
  4. Describe how your education has prepared you for this career
  5. What are your hobbies?
  6. Where do you see yourself in five years?
  7. Why should we hire you?
  8. What is your greatest achievement?
  9. Are you a team player?
  10. What is your motivation for doing a good job?
  11. Tell us about a time when you identified a problem and came up with a solution
  12. What is your ideal job?
  13. What do you know about our company?
  14. How good are you at handling pressure?
  15. When can you start?
  16. Do you have any questions for us?
  17. What are your salary expectations?

1. Tell me about yourself

As a fresh graduate, you’re almost always going to be hit with this first question. But what exactly do you tell about yourself? Jenna DiMartino, the Senior Talent Brand Strategist of BestCompaniesAZ, says:

“Interviewers mostly use this type of question to get to know more about you and your background.” 

What’s more, the interviewer is probably going to observe your confidence when describing yourself. So to put two and two together, your answer should be about your background that’s relevant to the job position, and it should be said with confidence. 

Here is a sample answer:

“I come from Texas, where my family has a strong background in the medical profession. I’ve inherited a diligent nature, and I thrive on challenges, constantly seeking innovative solutions to overcome them. It’s a mindset I bring to everything I do, including my approach to work.”

2. Why do you want to work here?

Get this: You can’t know the answer to this question if you don’t know anything about the company. This is why you should research the company. It’s a good idea to carefully read the job description, too. 

Find things you like about it. Maybe it’s what they strive for or the professional growth they offer. 

Knowing about the company is crucial. One survey revealed that 47% of recruiters rejected candidates who didn’t know much about the company. In fact, this is the very reason why interviewers ask this question to fresh graduates. 

Here is an example answer:

“I want to work here because of the company’s commitment to delivering top-notch services to customers, which aligns with my own values of excellence. Moreover, I’m excited about the ample opportunities for professional development and growth here. It’s a perfect fit for my career aspirations and ambitions.”

3. What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?

In a job interview, you probably don’t want to mention any weaknesses, especially as a fresh graduate with no work experience. However, the team at Page Personnel, a recruitment agency, says:

“Employers genuinely want to know if you have enough self-awareness to realize you don’t have every skill under the sun yet.”

That said, it’s important to focus more on your strengths. So the best way to answer this interview question for college graduates is to highlight your strengths and mention your weaknesses that aren’t directly related to the role. 

Also, when it comes to your weaknesses, make sure that you let the interviewer know that you’re working on them. 

Here is how you can answer this question:

“My biggest strength lies in being a stellar team player. For instance, during a school project, I coordinated efforts, ensuring everyone’s input was valued, leading to a successful outcome. Admittedly, time management isn’t my strongest suit, but I’m actively enhancing this skill through prioritization and scheduling techniques.”

Read More: How to Find Your Strengths and Capitalize On Them

4. Describe how your education has prepared you for this career

Quick note: This question is more about your behavior than about what you learned in your studies. Another way interviewers may phrase this question is “How have you demonstrated leadership qualities at university?”

With that, you need to give real-life examples of qualities you earned that are related to the job you’re applying for. Maybe you had a leadership role in your college. Or, maybe you were part of a group project that saw great outcomes. 

You can say something along the lines of:

“During my time in university, I guided a team through a tough four-week project. I had to understand everyone’s strengths to assign tasks effectively. Despite some challenges like conflicts and tight deadlines, handling them improved my leadership and problem-solving skills, preparing me for professional settings.”

5. What are your hobbies?

This commonly asked job interview question is a bit tricky. What does the interviewer want to hear exactly? That you like playing football with your brother? That you spend your free time reading? What?

The Indeed editorial team gives us their take:

“Asking about your personal time is a way for the interviewer to see what kind of personality you have and how you unwind after work. You should show enthusiasm when you answer but also reassure the interviewer that your passions are not likely to interfere with your work.”

You should also find a way to link your hobbies to the work you’ll be doing. Here is an example answer:

“I love reading in my free time. I would even call myself a bookworm. It’s not only something I do to unwind, but it’s a great way for me to increase my focus, reduce stress, foster creativity, and promote critical thinking.”

6. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Ok, this question is difficult to answer. The trick is to guess why the interviewer asked it in the first place. 

The most common reason is that employers want to know if your goals align with theirs. They don’t want to hire someone who doesn’t fit their long-term plans for that position. 

If your goal is to stay with the company and improve there, then you can answer confidently that you see yourself as a successful, say, marketer with the company. You should also mention that you believe that the company will help you achieve that. 

But what if you’re not sure? It’s fine to admit you don’t know where you see yourself in five years. However, that should always follow an idea of where you want to be that’s related to the job position. 

Here is an example of how to answer this question:

“I don’t really know where I see myself in five years. However, I want to become the best marketer out there, which is why I’m so excited about this opportunity the company is giving me. I know this is the right place for me to develop professionally and personally.”

7. Why should we hire you?

This is one of the most common questions asked of entry-level job seekers. The employer wants to find out what you can bring to the table since you lack work experience. 

Now is the time to highlight all your relevant skills. I say focus more on your soft skills than technical skills. This is because a LinkedIn survey saw 92% of hiring managers say soft skills are more important than technical skills. More than that, you should show your passion for the role.

When you prepare to answer this question, try to be unique and honest. No exaggerating. You shouldn’t just go with the most basic answers, too, if you want to stand out. 

Here is a sample of the best answer to give:

“While I may lack work experience, I bring a strong ability to learn quickly, especially when I’m passionate about something. I can also use my problem-solving, critical thinking, and teamwork skills to help your team achieve what they set out to do. My genuine excitement for this opportunity drives my commitment to contribute meaningfully to your team, ensuring I bring fresh perspectives and dedicated effort to the table.”

Read More: 9 Most Sought-After Soft Skills In The Workplace

8. What is your greatest achievement?

When you answer this question, follow the career advice of Jenna DiMartino:

“Focus on an achievement that is most relevant to the role you are applying for. If you don’t have any professional achievements yet, you can share a personal accomplishment. Just make sure it is relevant to the job.”

Also, when you prepare to answer this question, try to find an achievement you’re especially proud of. This will make you more enthusiastic to talk about it. Plus, if you’re proud, you will be more confident in your speech and demeanor. 

Here is a sample answer:

“For a school project, my team faced a challenge when a member failed to complete their task on time. Despite this setback, we successfully delivered our project by redistributing responsibilities and adjusting our timeline. This experience taught me the importance of adaptability, collaboration, and problem-solving in achieving goals.”

9. Are you a team player?

A survey by Zippia revealed that more than 50% of US jobs require collaboration of some sort. So it makes sense why this is a common job interview question for fresh graduates. 

Of course, the right answer is “Yes, I am a team player.” But don’t stop there. You need to explain how and why. For this, dig into your past experiences from school, internship, volunteer work, or even just a family matter. 

Here is one way to answer this question: 

“Absolutely. In family matters, I’ve often showcased my teamwork skills. For instance, during family gatherings, I effectively communicate with relatives to plan and organize events. For me, the best part about teamwork is that it fosters mutual support. Working together not only strengthens relationships but also achieves goals more efficiently.”

10. What is your motivation for doing a good job?

Workplace motivation is at an all-time low. In fact, only 15% of employees reported feeling motivated (according to a survey by The Motivational Speaker Agency). Because of this, employers want to see if you’re someone who can stay motivated.  

As a fresher looking for your first job, you’re probably highly motivated. However, you need to base your answer on something you can cling to in the long run. Here is how the Indeed editorial team puts it: 

“You should mention an internal or external factor that keeps you motivated to perform and to succeed.”

Here’s a sample answer to the interview question:

“My motivation comes from my eagerness to make meaningful contributions, advance professionally, and take pride in my work. For this, I know I need to constantly deliver high-quality results. Reaching goals and exceeding expectations makes me feel satisfied and motivates me to keep improving and striving for excellence.”

11. Tell us about a time when you identified a problem and came up with a solution

When you’re doing interview prep, you should always expect the interviewer to ask business acumen interview questions. You might be wondering, “What in the world is that?” Here is how Jay Fuchs, the Managing Editor at HubSpot, explains it:

These questions often require you to draw on your experience — but are more about the process than the big picture. They often dig into the nuts and bolts of how you handled certain projects, setbacks, or conflicts over the course of your professional life.”

Since you’re a new grad, you don’t yet have professional experience. You do have a lot of life experiences that you can draw on for this question, though. It can be about family matters, school projects, internships, or volunteer work. Use your most relevant problem-solving story. 

Here is a sample answer:

“During my time volunteering at a local community feeding program, we encountered a challenge with managing food distribution efficiently. The hungry people waiting in line were starting to get frustrated and impatient. Recognizing the issue, I took the initiative to observe our process closely and brainstorm potential solutions with fellow volunteers. Together, we developed a system to streamline food distribution, including assigning specific roles to volunteers, organizing recipients into smaller groups, and implementing a ticketing system to manage queues effectively. This experience taught me the importance of identifying problems early, collaborating with others to develop solutions, and implementing changes effectively.”

Read More: How to Answer the 5 Most Common Business Acumen Interview Questions (With Examples)

12. What is your ideal job?

Interviewers know that entry-level job seekers aren’t immediately applying for their dream job. No, they’ll have to work their way up first. 

So don’t go lying and saying that the position you’re applying for is your ideal job. Even if it is, it’s best not to say as that will mean you have very low career goals or you’re not looking to grow. 

Interviewers ask this to see whether your ideal job aligns with the position. This is why the best way to answer common interview questions like this is to mention a job that is related to the position. 

Here is one answer you can give if you’re applying as an entry-level retail salesperson:

“My ideal job is to one day be a sales supervisor. I want to use my skills and passion to oversee a team that makes impactful decisions and ensures that customers are satisfied. I believe this company can provide me with opportunities to grow and eventually take on leadership roles within the department.”

13. What do you know about our company?

You may be asked by employers what you know about the company. They are straight out checking if you did your research. Why? Here’s how DiMartino puts it:

“Failing to know the company or the organization you are applying for may portray a lack of interest in your application and poor research skills.”

To make sure you have a good answer, you should learn more about the company and the position prior to the interview. So again, DO YOUR RESEARCH. 

Now, you can approach this differently. You can choose to tell about the company’s beginnings, its daily activities, its main goals or objectives, or all three. 

Here’s a sample answer:

“I know the company traces its origins back to 1907 when 19-year-old Jim Casey and his friend Claude Ryan established the American Messenger Company in Seattle, Washington. Initially, the company provided local messenger services, delivering packages, documents, and other goods. I also know that today the company operates a vast network of delivery vehicles, aircraft, distribution centers, and transportation hubs. This enables it to provide logistics solutions and package delivery services to businesses and consumers around the world.”

14. How good are you at handling pressure?

No matter what job you are applying for, there will be some sort of pressure. There’s pressure to adapt to a new workplace. There’s pressure to submit deadlines on time. There’s pressure to perform well in your tasks. Etc…

It makes sense then that an interviewer wants to know if and how you can keep your composure in difficult situations. This is especially true for recent graduates who never experienced the employment world yet. 

Again, the Indeed editorial team gives us excellent insight:

“Simply stating that you are good at handling pressure is not likely to convince the interviewer, so the best way to answer this question is by giving examples of situations where you were faced with pressure and managed to handle it.”

Following that advice, here is how you can answer:

“When working under pressure, I know that the best strategy is to stay cool and collected. I figure out what needs to be done first. If things get too hectic, I take quick breaks to recharge and use simple techniques like deep breathing to stay focused. For example, in my final year of high school, I had to submit a critical essay for my English class. Despite the looming deadline, I organized my thoughts, outlined my arguments, and managed my time effectively to ensure I met the submission requirements without feeling overwhelmed.”

15. When can you start?

No, this question doesn’t mean you got the job. So don’t go jumping for joy just yet. Instead, an interviewer might ask this to see if you have other commitments SHOULD you get the job. 

The best answer is to be honest. If you have commitments to a family event/obligation or you’re completing a certification course or training program, say so. You don’t want to have to delay your start date because you didn’t mention this when specifically asked. 

If you have no commitments, GREAT! You can start as soon as possible. Here are two sample answers:

“I’m available to start as soon as possible. I’ve sorted out my schedule to make sure that if I land this job, I’ll have the time and energy to tackle it head-on from day one.”

“I have a family commitment scheduled in the coming weeks, but I’m fully dedicated to joining the team right after that. If given the opportunity, I’ll be available to start immediately after I complete my family obligation. I’m excited about the possibility of contributing to the team and eager to get started as soon as possible.”

16. Do you have any questions for us?

By the end of the interview, interviewers will usually ask this one final question. If you want a better chance at landing the job, always prepare your own questions. 

But what should you ask? Well, the top questions on your list should be about the company, the team, the company culture, the job, the training and professional growth opportunities, and the next steps. 

Here is a sample answer:

“Yes. May I know about the current goals the company is working on, and how does the team contribute to achieving them? I also want to know what a typical day or week looks like in this position?”

Read More: 55 Best Questions to Ask a Prospective Employer

17. What are your salary expectations?

This question usually pops up later in the hiring process. Most likely, you’ll be asked this during the next interview or your job offer. 

Now, this is a tricky interview question. Ryan Luke from explains why this can be a trap question:

If the number you give is lower than the employer was prepared to pay you, you just locked yourself into a smaller package. However, if you say a too high number, you may scare off the employer from offering you any package at all.”

To be able to answer, you need to do your research. You can head over to Glassdoor and Indeed to find the average salary entry-level workers earn in the position and industry you’re trying out for. This is to give you a good idea of your market value. 

However, to answer this question, it’s best to flip the question around to see what the company is offering. Here is a sample answer:

I’d like to know the salary range for this job before I settle on a specific number.

Read More: How to Deal with Interview Questions and Answers Salary Expectations (With Examples)

Final Words

As a recently graduated job seeker, it can be scary entering into the world of employment. But you really have to impress to stand out, especially during a job interview. 

This is why I’ve given you 17 common job interview questions for fresh graduates with answers. Of course, you need to make sure that your answers are specific to the role and company you’re applying for. Good luck!

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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