Recent college grads will be asked all of the typical questions, but there are also a few questions that are rarely asked of anyone but recent graduates. Be prepared for the following questions, which could be asked of you up to five years after leaving college.
96. Why did you pick your major? Try to recall your reasons for choosing your major, then give only the most positive reasons. The question gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your forethought and planning ability. Indicate that the decision was made only after considerable thought. If you are not using your major—you were a psych major now looking to get into banking—indicate the strengths you were able to develop as a result of your major.
97. What kind of grades did you have? If your grades were mediocre, you need to prepare for this question. If, while you were in school, you worked 20–30 hours per week you might say, “I was a good student and worked hard in my classes. I’m confident that if I hadn’t had to work nearly full-time during school I could have maintained a 3.0 GPA.” If you simply weren’t a good student you might say, “I’ve never been a great student, but I do retain information well and I use a lot of common sense. That’s always been my strength.”
98. What courses did you like most? Least? Why? For courses that you liked, mention those that are most related to the job you’re interviewing for. Otherwise simply choose courses which excited you and explain why. It’s safe to mention courses having little to do with the job as those you liked least. For instance, business majors can say they least enjoyed science courses and can even admit they disliked accounting.
99. How has your schooling prepared you for this job? If your education is directly related to the job you are interviewing for, emphasize that your education has given you a strong foundation upon which to build. If you are a liberal arts major, emphasize your broad education, your written and verbal communication skills, and your analytical ability. If you’re a liberal arts major seeking a job in private enterprise, discuss any business-related courses you took, such as macroeconomics.
Also describe how your overall college experience has prepared you for work. You could mention that you matured while in school or that you gained excellent experiences by participating in extracurricular activities. Describing how you served on a committee and learned how to negotiate and compromise would be helpful. If you worked on any group projects you would describe how you learned teamwork and how you were one of the hardest working people on the team. If you became the team leader you would emphasize your experience in leadership. If you had an opportunity for study abroad you would mention how you have learned to adapt to other cultures. If you had an internship, even one in which you had little real responsibility, emphasize that you gained a good understanding of how business (or government) really operates.
100. Do you feel you did the best work at school that you were capable of doing? If you truly worked hard at your studies, you might say, “I worked very hard and really took my studies seriously. I graduated with a 3.2 GPA [or with honors]. Even the classes I didn’t do so well in grade-wise really taught me something.” Or you might say, “I worked hard and got good grades, but I also wanted to balance my education. I was active in [student government, debate, sports, dorm counseling, etc.].” If you received poor grades you could admit to a lack of focus at the time, adding that you are very focused now.
101. How did your summer jobs benefit you? If you had the typical summer jobs in which you had little responsibility, and they consisted mostly of grunt work, emphasize that you developed a strong work ethic and proved to yourself that you could handle physically demanding or highly repetitive jobs because you had a long-term goal in mind. One client shared with me that his summer at a sawmill, where he was the only college-educated person, proved to him that he could get along with anyone. By the end of the summer he had gained the respect of the crew and was accepted as “one of the guys.”
Other questions frequently asked of recent graduates include:
How did you choose your college?
How did you pay for college?
Which college professors did you enjoy most and why?
What are your career goals?
Were you active on campus? How?
Did you get involved in student government?
Do you like to cram for exams or study throughout the quarter?
Do you think grades are a good indicator of a person’s success, or lack of it, on the job?