5 Job Interview Questions All Recent Grads Should be Able to Answer
Job interviews can be a daunting task for even the most seasoned of hospitality executives. So for new graduates with little to no professional interview experience, this phase of the job search may seem all the more intimidating.
While understandable, it’s also important to keep the interview process in perspective as no single interview will necessarily define anyone’s career and every interview is an opportunity to gain more comfort with the types of questions that will be asked of you and how to best respond to them.
But as you prepare for the interviews that will lead to your first post-graduation job, be ready to answer these five basic questions:
1. Why did you select your university or area of study?
The interview is asking for insight into how you made your first life-impacting decision. You can either respond by talking about how a small college provided a more intimate learning environment or how a large university gave you exposure to a greater diversity of students, professors, course offerings, and extra curricular activities, if relevant.
Alternatively, if your degree directly applies to the job for which you’re interviewing – a business, hospitality/hotel management or marketing major for example – this would be the optimal time to talk about why you selected your school for this program specifically and why it’s such a reputable program. Be sure to talk up specific classes that directly correlate to the job description.
2. Why do you want a career in hospitality?
If you’ve ever worked in hospitality – even if it was bussing tables in a restaurant – while in high school or college, this will be an optimal time to bring up that experience and the aspects of it that influenced your decision to work in the hospitality business.
Another option is to talk about a personal experience you've had as a traveler or a guest, like a family vacation, that may have impacted your decision to work in this industry.
3. How has your education prepared you for this job?
Emphasize any relevant course work in addition to specific experience that show measured growth between who you were in high school and who you are now. That is, if you were involved in extracurricular activities, volunteer programs or time abroad while in high school or college that introduced you to new experiences, discuss how that has changed who you are as a person for the better, making sure it’s germane to the job description.
So if you spent a semester or a summer living in a different country, point out how you had to make certain adjustments that you came to enjoy or if you did volunteer work that showed you another side of life, talk about how you came to appreciate the differences.
4. What is your greatest weakness?
This is a common interview question at every stage of a professional career. The key is to respond by discussing a lack of or need to improve skills that aren’t vital to the position, has a relatively simple path to further developing while also highlighting how you possess the necessarily capabilities to successfully carry out the work.
A “weakness” that should generally work well for more recent grads is a minimal amount of experience with public speaking, particularly since an entry level job shouldn’t require it and it provides the chance to talk about your ability to engage in one-on-one conversations.
5. Describe a time when you had to work as part of a team.
Whether it was as a member of a team sport or a class or extracurricular project that had to be done in groups, the goal is to focus on the endeavor was achieved because everyone worked well together, with success defined as the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
That is, everyone had a talent or particular skill to attribute and although no one individual could have achieve the task single-handedly, collectively and collaboratively, the objective was realized with little to no friction among group or team members.