Interviewing students is an important step in ensuring a good fit between the student employee and the organization. While interviewing is an invaluable opportunity to get to know job candidates, it is important to remember that many students have never been employed and this may be the first interview they ever have. The following questions were compiled by Hollins University and may be useful for your interviewing process. These questions will help you to know and understand the job candidate without overwhelming them.


Traditional Interview Questions

Key Questions: The following questions are very important to the success of an interview. Remember as a supervisor, you are looking for competence, commitment and compatibility.

 Tell me about yourself.

 What do you know about our department at _________________?

 What special skills do you have that qualify you for this job?

 What experiences have you had that you feel would be an asset to this position?

 What do you see yourself doing five years from now?

 Why did you choose the career for which you are preparing?

 What attracted you to this position?

 How has your university experience prepared you for a position/career in _________?

 In what ways do you think you can contribute to our department?

 If you were hiring for this position, what qualities would you seek?

 How would others describe you?

 Why should I hire you?


Other traditional questions asked by employers:

 What are your greatest strengths? Your greatest weaknesses?

 How would you describe yourself?

 What motivates you to put forth your greatest efforts?

 Which people have influenced your life? How?

 Describe your relationships with others in a work setting.

 What 2-3 accomplishments have given you the greatest satisfaction? Why?

 Describe your most rewarding university experience.

 Why did you select this department?

 What led you to choose your field or major?

 What university subjects do you like best? Least? Why?

 Do you have plans for continued study? An advanced degree?

 What have you learned from participation in extra-curricular activities?

 In what kind of work environment are you most comfortable?

 How do you work under pressure?

 What major problems have you encountered (work or academically related) and how did you deal with it?

 What have you learned from your mistakes?

 Tell me what you learned from your volunteer, employment or internship experiences.



Behavior Based Questions

These questions are developed on the assumption that past behavior is the best predictor of future performance. Interviewers design questions around the traits and skills deemed necessary for succeeding in the position. These questions traditionally begin with "Tell me about a time when…", "Describe a time when you...", or "Give me an example of a time when..." Following is a list of popular behavior-based interview questions.


Tell me about a time when you...


Describe a time when you…


Give me an example of a time when you…


Worked effectively under pressure.


Were unable to complete a project on time.



Were disappointed in your behavior.


Handled a difficult situation with a co-worker.


Persuaded team members to do things your way.



Used your skills to push through a program in which you really believed.


Were creative in solving a problem.


Wrote a report that was well received.



Had to deal with an irate customer.


Missed an obvious solution to a problem.


Anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures.



Delegated a project effectively.



Were forced to make an unpopular decision.



Had to make an important decision with limited facts.



Surmounted a major obstacle.


Had to adapt to a difficult situation.


Were tolerant of an opinion that was different from yours.



Set your sights too high or too low



Prioritized the elements of a complicated project.


Made a bad decision.



Hired or fired the wrong person



Got bogged down in the details of a project.



Had to fire a friend.



Turned down a good job.



From: HSEP Advisory Board, Career Center and the Office of Scholarships and Financial Assistance. (2010). Student Employment Program Guide for Supervisors. Roanoke, Virginia: Hollins University.