Ever have an interview? Did you get awkward, tense and ridiculously nervous? Well, you are not alone. Being interviewed is scary stuff. It is literally being subjected to complete judgement on everything you say and do. Still, no matter how much they suck, we all have to go through one at some point or another, whether it be applying for a job, student leadership, a scholarship, or any other position. Since it can’t be escaped, you might as well learn to do it well. Here are some tips that will help you to rock your next interview and hopefully calm your nerves:
- Be yourself. Employers want to hire people that they will enjoy working with, so they genuinely want to get you know you. Be funny, interesting, confident, honest. Just be you. Don’t try to be somebody else, or something you’re not.
- Be prepared. Think of some potential questions you might be asked before the interview, so you’ll be more prepared and you won’t have to think of everything on the spot. Most employers ask things like: What are your strengths and weaknesses? Why should you be hired? Why do you want to work here?
- Do your research. Look into the company you’re applying to. Make sure you know their mission statement and values if they have them. Recall a good experience you had with the company and bring that up. They want to know that you really do want to work there.
- Know what they are looking for. If you’re applying for a job that requires a lot of interaction with others, then present yourself as a people person. If it is a labor job, show that you’re a hard worker.
- Be confident and relaxed. Show them how awesome you are. Don’t be shy, go ahead and brag and talk about all the things you’re good at! After all, if you don’t think you’ll be hired, why should they even consider you? And, don’t talk in circles. Get right to the point and if you don’t have anything else important to add, just stop there.
Again, everyone gets at least a little nervous during interviews, and employers understand that. But really, just be straight up with them. You just need to tell them about yourself and why you want that job. No biggie… so just chill!
Tips for Teens: Getting a job
- SHUT YOUR CELL PHONE OFF!! Not on vibrate, not on low, not on any setting but OFF!!!!!!!
- Sit how the interviewer sits – it sounds weird but will make them more comfortable talking with you – if the interviewer is leaning forward on the table and looking directly at you, do the same; if he/she is sitting back with legs crossed, go ahead and lean back
- Use good communication skills and style
— maintain eye contact, but don’t stare and be creepy
— after each question is asked, pause – it’s okay to process before answering then articulate a concise response
— don’t be afraid to repeat what is in your resume/cover letter/application
— bring extra resumes, just in case someone is present who did not receive one
— ask for clarification if you do not understand a question, it’s better than giving an answer that doesn’t make sense
- Dress like you mean business
— no jeans, no midriff, no ripped clothing, no shirt you got at last Friday’s concert, no “just got outta bed” hair
— blend in: if possible, visit the business prior to your interview and see what the employees are wearing, dress one step better than those working (you’re interview, not going to work); better yet, see what the highest level supervisor is wearing and try to dress like her/him
— if other employees do not have visible tattoos, piercing, or other visible body alterations, it would be wise to remove or conceal yours (if applicable) – you might be able to show them while at work later
— ladies: choose simple jewelry, not 15 bracelets and 6 necklaces, and if you like to wear a scent, make it minimal; what if the interview is asthmatic?
- Early is on time
— arriving late to an interview is an easy way to lose a job before they ask any questions
— allow extra time to arrive (30 minutes early is better than 3 minutes late), if you will have to get through traffic or navigate unfamiliar streets
— being punctual shows that you are responsible and that you really want this job
— it also shows that you have a reliable way to get to work, something many teens do not (that doesn’t mean you need your own car – knowing bus routes provides a reliable way of getting to work)
- Be ready with answers & questions
— interviews are not only for the employer to question a candidate but the other way, too; it shows that you know what you want and what you need to know
— prepare answers to common questions like: why are you interested in this position? what experiences have prepared you for this job? what are your short and/or long term goals? tell me about other interests you have; try to think about specific scenarios on which you might be questioned don’t be afraid to google good responses
— it shows that you’ve really thought about THIS position
— ask them some appropriate questions – try to make them as specific as possible in an actual interview:
— What is the most important thing I need to know about this job?
— What opportunities are there for me to learn new skills here?
— Will I need to attend formal training, be trained on the job by you, or by a colleague?
— (if considering a career in the field) What kinds of advancements do you see in this company in the near future?
— When will I be contacted with your decision?
— When would I start, if hired?
— What type of dress code do you prefer?
— do not ask inappropriate questions (some of these are inappropriate interview questions but should be asked when offered a position)
— When would I get my first paycheck?
— When will I get my first raise?
— How much did you say I would be making?
— Can I call you by your first name?
— Can I text on my phone while at work?
— Can my boyfriend/girlfriend visit me during my breaks?
- Say thank you – twice
— thank the interviewer for meeting with you at the beginning of the interview and thank her/him for her/his time at the end
- Write a thank you – yes, again
— E-mail works great for this – thank the interviewer again for the opportunity to meet, visit the business site, answer questions, etc…
— offer to provide any supplementary information required
— express excitement about hearing back and getting started
Do you have an interview tip you think should be added to this list? What industries are most likely to hire teens? What are the biggest obstacles blocking you and/or your friends from getting jobs? What skills are MOST important for teens looking for jobs?