Teen Summer Job Search – Part 3, Preparing for the Interview

Dear parents of teens, this is for them…

So, this is Part 3 and last of your mini-course on what to do to get a summer job. In case you missed it, Part 1 addressed the “What & Where” of looking for a job, as in “what do I want to do as a job” and “where do I start looking for a job”. Part 2 shared some tips on résumé writing and other docs that you need to prepare for your job hunt. And now, here are some tips & advice to prepare for the actual interview. Hopefully knowing that you are doing this part correctly will boost your confidence and reduce the sweaty palm syndrome.

Some of these tips will sound like a “duh”. But believe or not, it is news to some people…

  • Read the job description again before the interview so that you will know the details of what the job involves and be better prepared to answer related questions. Ideally, take 5 to 10 minutes to review the company’s website. This will give you some worthwhile company information that you can use in the interview conversation and might even prompt some interesting questions for you to ask. ‘Cause interesting questions (interesting as in smart, not as in weird) will make you a more interesting candidate.
  • Prepare your answers to some expected interview questions. Yes! People still ask the cliché “What's your greatest strength/weakness?” so be prepared to answer that. Beyond that, typical interview questions for teens can be found here and here.
  • Show up on time. Ideally, show up, in the office 5 minutes before time. You want to show your interviewer that you know the meaning of “being on time”, one of the most important factors in an entry level (or any) job. You want to allow yourself extra travel time if you are not sure where you are going. If you are driving, allow time for traffic and parking.
  • Have a good handshake and make eye contact. Make sure that you have a firm (but not knuckle breaking) handshake. This indicates confidence; you know who you are and you’re not afraid to assert yourself. Eye contact is just as important and for the same reasons. Avoiding eye contact indicates shyness and lack of confidence or even worse, something to hide. Not great for first impressions!
  • Smile. That goes along with the handshake and eye contact. You have great charisma; show it off with your smile and the sparkle in your eye.
  • Never, ever take a call or text during an interview meeting. That would be a major faux pas. TURN OFF your phone before you enter the location where the interview is being held.
  • Language. Sound assured and ENUNCIATE! Watch for slang, and don’t, like, say like every second word. Like, you know?
  • Don’t chew gum. I know, duh! But you just know that some kid would do this! Oh, don’t bring food or drinks in with you. Go ahead and accept water if offered.

Oh, What to Wear…

First impressions are everything. You want your interviewer to perceive you as the responsible, mature young person that you are. Caring about one’s appearance is symbolic of that. So, you will want to:

  • Dress conservatively with clean and pressed garments. NOT with something you had to rescue out of the laundry basket (or the floor). Guys, a shirt will score more points than a tee; pants always, no jeans or shorts. Khakis are a great investment and you might well need them for your job anyways. Girls, no mini-skirts and low cut tops; cover your shoulders, i.e. no spaghetti straps.
  • Shoes are important too. Many people say that you can tell a person by their shoes. A loafer or lace-ups for the guys and cute flats for the girls. No flip flops or sandals, please. These would most likely not be allowed in the work place anyhow. Unless you work at the community pool, bien sur.
  • Piercings: if you really want the job, take them out. Since you don’t know how progressive or conservative your interviewer will be, you want to maximize your chances by not being “judged” by your piercings.
  • Shower & have clean hair. Guys, you’ll want to shave. Girls, go for light, natural looking makeup. Skip the cologne and the perfume on this occasion. Axe won't work its magic in this environment anyways.

Final notes (to make you look really perfect):

  • Bring that carefully crafted résumé (see our tips for writing that here). actually, bring about 3 to 5 copies, just in case you are meeting with more than one person) and related materials (such as recommendation letters). You can bring them along in a portfolio or a folder to keep everything neat and presentable.
  • Be polite and respectful. We know that your mom told you this a thousand times, but now is the time to apply it with full force – but be sincere. And thank the interviewer for his or her time when you are done.
  • Send a thank you note! Yes, like you used to do for your grandmother… These days email might work as well as a paper note card. What’s important is what you say: Thank you + I’m really interested + I look forward to hearing from you. If you don’t hear back, you may follow up by phone within a week unless you were told otherwise.
  • Don’t give up: you might have to knock at 10 or 100 doors, and that will take some effort, but something will come up. And remember, it’s easier to get a job once you have a job. So, if you are offered a job that you are not so in love with, take it! It will provide you with some working experience that will be valuable for your next job hunt.

In conclusion, watch this video to make sure to do the exact opposite of what is depicted here. Unless you don’t want the job, in which case Candi's technique will work just fine!

Good luck! And let us know what kind of job you get!

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