Response: Unfortunately, those grades are not true reflection of my potential. What you don’t see on my resume is that I worked 30 hours every week to pay my tuition and boarding. After attending the college in the morning, working during the evening and weekends at the cafeteria, I only had few hours to dedicate to my education – I did, however, spend all the time I could extract out of the day to studies. Even though my grades are low, they are the result of me investing 20% of my time. If I had more time to allocate to the studies – I would have definitely been one of the top students. Even so, now, I can completely focus on the job, in fact, I am confident that with the discipline I have developed over the four years in college – supporting myself and completing my studies – that I will excel within a short time.

Notes: What it takes to get good grades is not essentially the same skill set that will help you excel at the job. You have to keep this in mind and reiterate this without directly saying it. Never say anything to indicate that you do not think about education/studies were important, that would only mean that you do not commit to the endeavors you take up. If there were other incidents that prevented you from getting good grades, mention them and ALWAYS point out how in spite of the hurdle you got through your college.

Variations of this question:

  • Your grades show that you were not a star performer in your studies, how do we know if you will be at your job?
  • Do your grades reflect your potential?
  • Why do you think we should hire you instead of those with better grades?

Trap alert: Do not list the excuses of why you did not get the good grades (unless there were medical/tragic incidents involved). Always focus on the strengths you bring which help with the job.

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