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Common Student Job Interview Questions and Sample Answers Australia

Interview Questions for Part-Time Student Jobs

Updated 31 August 2023


  • Job interviews can feel intimidating, especially for young students. Our guide simplifies this process for you, offering insights into typical interview questions and providing sample responses to help you prepare.
  • Australia’s economy is somewhat subdued right now, and getting a student job has become more competitive. 
  • We’ve published this guide to ensure you’re well-equipped for any job interview scenario. Though there may be the odd curveball question, our guide has you covered for most of it, boosting your confidence to impress and giving you the highest chance for success.

Important: Always be authentic in your responses; avoid rehearsed or generic answers. Instead, familiarise yourself with potential questions and formalise genuine responses that showcase your experiences and personality. Often, interviewers conclude with an invitation for you to ask questions. We’ve also provided suggestions here to keep the dialogue in your favour.

In this guide, you’ll find:

Common Student Job Interview Questions and Sample Answers Australia

Common Interview Questions and Sample Answers

1. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

This staple question offers you a chance to shine. Employers seek a compelling introduction. Mention notable achievements or experiences and relate them to the job at hand.

It’s normal for students to find it challenging when finding the right words. Consider your strong soft skills or activities:

  • Listening abilities
  • Caring for others
  • Babysitting or caring for siblings
  • Assisting families in their businesses
  • Tutoring younger siblings
  • Helping neighbours move

Even if these roles were unpaid, they offer valuable insights into your character. Keep your answers brief and delivered with enthusiasm.

Example Answer for a retail position:

“I’m in Year 11 and actively participate in community events, such as coaching badminton and volunteering part-time at a Vinnies. I’ve tutored my younger sister in Maths and recently assisted with a community fundraiser. Engaging with individuals across various age groups has honed my interpersonal skills, which I believe would benefit this role”.

2. How did you learn about this role?

This query allows you to demonstrate initiative and keenness. Even if you found the job through a generic platform, use this as an opportunity to convey your enthusiasm for the company.

Example Answer for a retail position:

“I am a huge fan of (name of the shop) and love the brand inside out. I routinely check for openings, and when I saw this position open, I promptly applied”.

3. What do you know about our company?

This question is a chance to show that you’ve done your homework and genuinely care about the company’s vision and objectives. Refrain from merely regurgitating information; instead, share what resonates with you.

Example Answer for a bookshop:

“I’m aware that your bookstore has been a staple in this community for the last decade, known for its wide range of literary genres and friendly staff. What stands out to me is your initiative to host monthly book clubs and author sessions, demonstrating a genuine commitment to selling books and fostering a love for reading. I’ve always appreciated how your store supports the local community and promotes literacy among young readers”.

4. Why are you interested in this job?

This question highlights your passion and how the role aligns with your strengths or interests. It’s a great opportunity to connect to the interview and align 

Example Answer for a café position:

“I’ve always been passionate about food and hospitality. Your café’s dedication to sourcing local ingredients and its reputation for excellent customer service aligns with my values and interests. I’m excited about the opportunity to contribute to a team that values quality food and exceptional customer experiences. Your reputation in the community is legendary, and I want to learn from the best and ensure I work to your standards”.

5. Why should we select you?

You’ll need to focus on your reliability, learning agility, and how you could be an asset to the company. You may also want to mention availability -while it’s a fact and not a trait, being available for shifts makes it much easier to get jobs. 

Example Answer for an office assistant role:

“While I am still in school and learning, I’ve always been organised and diligent in my tasks. I’ve been responsible for coordinating events for our netball team and have often assisted teachers in administrative tasks. My commitment to excellence and ability to quickly grasp new systems and processes would make me an asset to your team”.

6. What are your strengths and areas for growth?

You’ll need to provide honest and relevant strengths with examples. For areas of growth, frame it as something you are proactive about improving.

Example Answer (which is relevant for any role):

“One of my key strengths is listening and communicating effectively. During group projects at school, I often take on the role of mediator, ensuring everyone’s ideas are heard and considered. An area I’m working on is my time management. While I’ve been fairly successful at juggling my responsibilities, I’ve started using tools and techniques to help me prioritize tasks even better.”

“One of my key strengths is listening and communicating effectively. During group projects at school, I often take on the role of mediator, ensuring everyone’s ideas are heard and considered. An area I’m working on is my ability to prioritise tasks. While I’ve been fairly successful at juggling my responsibilities, I’ve always struggled with knowing what is the most important thing for me to do. I’ve started using tools and techniques to help me prioritise tasks better, but I feel as if working with your team and learning from the more senior members who have this skill would help me to develop my prioritisation skills better.”

7. How would peers and teachers describe you?

Provide a balanced view by sharing positive aspects and areas where you’re growing.

Example Answer (which is relevant for any role):

“My peers often describe me as someone they can rely on. I’ve been told I can organize group projects and ensure everyone feels heard and included. Many classmates have appreciated my approachability and ability to explain complex topics in simpler terms, especially during study sessions.

On the other hand, my teachers have acknowledged my dedication and perseverance. They’ve noticed my proactive approach to seeking feedback and how I always come prepared for lessons. I’m known to participate in discussions and contribute valuable points actively.

However, a consistent piece of feedback I receive is that I tend to be a perfectionist. This means I sometimes spend more time than necessary on certain tasks, trying to get them right. It’s an area I’m aware of and working on, trying to balance delivering quality work and managing my time efficiently”.

8. How do you manage stressful situations?

For this question, you’ll need to detail a specific instance, your coping strategy, and the outcome.

Example Answer (which is relevant for any role):

“During Year 11, I took on a leadership role for our school’s soccer team’s interstate tour. A week before we were meant to fly off, one of our main sponsors went bust, and we were relying on them to meet some significant costs. This event coincided with a round of internal assessments during the week. Instead of panicking, I broke down the challenge into smaller, more manageable tasks. Firstly, I gathered the committee for an emergency meeting. We brainstormed potential alternative sponsors and delegated the responsibility of reaching out to different companies and local businesses, looking for small amounts from many organisations. While the team focused on this, I dedicated evening hours to assist and monitor progress after my study sessions.

I also maintained my regular exercise routine to cope with the stress, as I’ve found that physical activity helps me clear my mind. Ultimately this was a stressful time, but we secured the funding, and I maintained focus on the assessments. Another positive result was that the crisis brought our committee closer together. We learned to lean on each other and trust in each other’s abilities. The tour was a success, and I also performed well in my exams. This experience taught me I can handle high-pressure situations effectively with the right approach and calmness”.Student Jobs Australia - Popular Questions to Ask Interviewers

Three Popular Questions to Ask Interviewers

When your interview is wrapping up, the interviewer might turn to you and ask, “Do you have any questions for us?” This is a golden chance to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position. Here’s a list of open-ended questions to consider asking:

What do you enjoy most about your role here?

Why is this question asked? This question reveals that you’re keen to gain insight into the daily experiences and positive aspects of working at the company. Regardless of the answer, it also opens avenues for deeper discussion and follow-up questions.

Could you share some day-to-day challenges that this role might encounter?

Why is this question asked? By asking this, you display a proactive mindset, indicating that you’re ready to face challenges and are curious about the full spectrum of the job.

Are there any upcoming initiatives or projects that the company is excited about?

Why is this question asked? While this question might resonate better with larger companies like Coles, Bunnings, or Rebel Sport, it’s adaptable for smaller settings too. It signifies your interest in not just the present but the company’s future as well.Student Job Interview Questions Australia Top Tips

Top Tips for Nailing Your Student Job Interview

Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but remember, they’re also an opportunity to showcase your skills and passion. Here are some pivotal tips to ensure you leave a lasting impression:

  1. Pack Essentials: Carry multiple copies of your CV, a reference list, and a notebook with a pen. Appearing ready to jot down information shows your attentiveness, enthusiasm and proactivity. 
  2. Punctuality Matters: Always arrive a little ahead of your interview time, say by 20 minutes, to calm your nerves and show your commitment to time management. The receptionist is usually a great information feeder to hiring managers, so every interaction matters. 
  3. Dress Appropriately: Present yourself cleanly and smartly. Your attire should align with the company’s vibe.
  4. Offer a Smile: From the receptionist to any staff you pass by, a warm smile can set a positive tone before the interview starts.
  5. Vocal Clarity: Use a varied tone, showing eagerness and understanding while conversing.
  6. Take Your Time: Before answering, pause to process the question. Thoughtful answers often fare better than rushed ones.
  7. Seek Clarification: If you’re unsure about a question, don’t hesitate to ask for clarity before answering.
  8. Maintain Positivity: Avoid referencing negative experiences from past roles or speaking poorly about past colleagues.
  9. Highlight Your Strengths: Focus on your achievements and what you bring to the table rather than what you might lack.
  10. Use the ‘STAR’ Method: When sharing experiences, remember:
  • Situation: Set the context
  • Task: Mention your objective
  • Action: Describe your contribution
  • Result: Highlight the outcome

Student Job Interview Questions Australia - Concluding Comments and Tips

Concluding Comments

  • Like any other challenge, interviews become more manageable as you prepare and practice. 
  • Treat every interview as a learning experience. Whether it’s a casual role at a local cafe or a more formal position with a retail giant, your passion and commitment can shine through if you’re well-prepared.
  • Best of luck, and remember to embrace the journey. Please get in touch with our research team for any further suggestions or edits to this guide.