You’ve handed out your impeccable resume and your complementary cover letter – now the employer wants to meet this amazing person – you. Now is your time to shine.
Before the Interview
· Know yourself. Take some time to put yourself under the microscope. The more self-aware you are the more comfortable and confident you will be in job interviews. Make a list of your strengths and abilities. Make another list of your achievements. If you are very shy or painfully modest, practice saying positive things about your skills and abilities. No one expects a teenager to have started a multi-million dollar business or to have won a world championship, but even “ordinary” achievements show good performance and other career values.
· Know the job you’ll be interviewing for. Read the job description and take a copy of it with you on the interview. Do some research?
o What is the business of the employer?
o What is the nature of the job you are applying for? (duties, responsibilities)
o What are the qualifications for the position? What skills are they looking for?
o What are the physical requirements for the job?
· Employers will want to see that you know what you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for an aquarium guide position, but you think you’re going to be “feeding animals and stuff”, then the employer will know you haven’t read the job description.
· Understand what employers are looking for.The primary concerns for most employers are these: Will you be at work as scheduled and on time? If they are willing to teach you, are you willing to learn? You need to reassure the employer that you are reliable and that you are capable of learning quickly. The person interviewing you is looking for a person with ordinary qualifications who has the attitude to do an extraordinary job.
· Practice. Ask friends and family members to conduct practice interviews with you. Use the sample interview questions from these lessons or find commonly asked interview questions on the internet. Make sure to practice your body language and handshake.
· Set realistic expectations about salary. Let’s face it; most teen jobs pay minimum wage. Find out what the current minimum wage is so that you’re not surprised and so that you don’t ask for less than minimum wage. If the situation seems right, you could consider asking for a little more, but offer much better work. Don’t underestimate your worth.
· Be prepared to be flexible. Consider school, homework, extracurricular activities, and sports – anything that takes up your time. Be able to articulate clearly the hours you are available to work. If the employer needs more availability, and you really want the job, consider giving up a nonessential activity.