11 answers

How do you reply to a interview question that is best answered if you have prior experience? (First job interview)

Updated Chapel Hill, North Carolina

I have a upcoming Lenovo internship and I am currently preparing for the interview. #computer-science #computer-software #engineering #career #information-technology #job-application

11 answers

Cody’s Answer

Updated San Rafael, California

As a general rule for interview questions; be honest, be yourself, and do your best to answer the questions. A big part of interviews is getting a feel for how you respond to questions, as much as it is your answers to those questions. I could give you a better answer if I knew what question in particular you are thinking of. However, for the general case, let your interviewer know that you don't have industry experience, but then go on to answer the question to the best of your ability - and be sure to let them know why you think that way.

Also, don't hesitate to use experiences at school, on personal projects, or at other jobs (outside industry) to answer questions like these. Your experience working on a group project at school for example might be just as valuable to the interviewer as industry experience, at least for determining things like how you work with others, are you a leader or a loyal follower, do you take instruction well, and do you learn from you experiences.

Hope that helps at least a little bit.

Sandra’s Answer

Updated Atlanta, Georgia

Hi Alex! I agree wholeheartedly with Cody's response above. A lot of people limit themselves to only using "work" experience when experiences from school, volunteering, church, etc are just as good! First be sure you clearly understand what the interviewing is asking and remember that it is perfectly fine to take some time to quickly think through all of your experiences so you can provide the most relevant example. And definitely don't apologize if your response isn't from a paid position. Be confident that the experiences you've gained from a variety of circumstances have all led you to get the interview!

Best of luck! Sandra

Devin’s Answer

Updated Woodbridge Township, New Jersey

Everyone starts somewhere and in most cases that means there is no prior experience. When faced with a question related to prior experience, it is a good tactic to tie it to a past experience of your own. For instance, talk to your previous job or internship. You can then tie in the fact that while you were in that position, everything was new to you. Despite the fact that you had no experience, you were able to learn the necessary skills to excel in during your time with that company. Painting a picture like this will allow you to avoid saying that you have no prior experience. However, it will allow you to highlight your ability to learn new skills quickly in order to excel in a role that you have no prior experience in.

Joanne’s Answer

Updated Montclair, New Jersey


I agree with the responses above too.

Look them in the eye and twist the answer to your advantage.

For example,

Q: "Do you know java programming?" A: " No, however, I have coded a cost efficient, time saving program in c++"

Your resume got you to the interview.

Now, it's an exercise of people skills and the ability to think on your feet under pressure.


Bill’s Answer

Updated Woodbridge Township, New Jersey

Look to see if you have had a similar job or experience. For example, if the interviewer asks how well you did as a waiter, tell them that you were never a waiter but you were a bank teller and you loved serving people and solving fulfilling their requests.

Amanda’s Answer

Updated Houston, Texas

I also agree with the previous answers. It does not have to be experience from the industry. Student organizations, class projects, and volunteer work are all experiences you can pull from to answer the questions. If they are interviewing you they know you do not have industry experience. They do not expect your answers to be from industry experience. Be as active as possible to prepare yourself for interviews. Join a student org and actually be an active member. Run for an officer position. Volunteer at a local non-profit. They love someone who can help them with their website, database, or update their computers. Even situations from part-time jobs are great interview answers.

Jason’s Answer

Updated Woodbridge Township, New Jersey

Interviewers have a good sense of your experience level coming into the interview, based on your resume. That question is used to hear you speak about your background and how you relate that background to the job for which you are interviewing. Maybe two things to think about when presented with that question: 1) how can you relate your experiences with the skills needed for the job? If "project management" is required, can you talk about examples where you organized and led a project from beginning to completion. What went well? What didn't go well? 2) tell a story with examples. Keep it crisp and to the point

George’s Answer

Updated Chicago, Illinois

I like your question. If you don't have specific job experience, then you honestly reply by your life experiences. For example, if the question has to do with handling a budget, you could tell them that you have save money from your lawn mowing or baby siting or other jobs to the point you are ready to get a real job. I always say to stay calm and relaxed but be dressed good and hair brushed or combed. Be attentive and take a breath before answering. You cannot lie, if you don't have the experience and cannot relate any life experience to the question, just admit it. Being honest is best. Pray before you get to the interview and ask for peace and look like your very interested in the job your interviewing for. Don't let your mind wonder.

Stefan’s Answer

Updated Woodbridge Township, New Jersey

You may not have prior work experience but you do have prior experience whether it be a project or assignment you worked on or some person experience you have had. As others have said be yourself and draw upon your personal experiences. Be honest and do be afraid to explain that you have yet to encounter something but based upon your personal experience you would view it this way...

Dawnyale’s Answer


It's always a good idea to have a few great work or school experiences to pull from that shows your interviewer that you qualified to be successful in the job. Think of any school projects, volunteer activities or work-related projects in which you were instrumental in the success of the assignment. Don't forget to fully describe your input in the situation and how that attributed to the end results. Good luck to you!

Meena’s Answer

Updated Woodbridge Township, New Jersey

Always be honest in letting them know when you are asked something you have not worked on, while quoting examples of similar work you have done, if any. Relating to real time examples always helps.

Having sad that, don't let this affect your ability to go through rest of the interview. They know what you did or did not work on and still invited you for an interview!