Inside: Learn the job interview tips for teens which teach your child how to stand out among the candidates and get hired. Get a list of 50 interview questions to practice with.
Do you have a teenager ready to go out into the workforce? Does he communicate easily, know his strengths and weaknesses, and can look up from his phone to make eye contact for more than a few seconds?
You might think the last one is crazy, but it’s a huge problem with the millennial generation right now. Employers are having a terrible time finding employees who have basic skills such as carrying on a conversation and making eye contact with people. It’s sad but true!
Is your teen ready for a job interview? If you’re not sure, don’t worry! I have some job interview tips for teens that can teach him how to stand out among the candidates and get hired.
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My Best Job Interview Tips for Teens
- Practice Interview Questions
- Research the Company
- Put Together a List of References
- Dress Appropriately
- Arrive Early
- The First Five Minutes Are the Most Important
- Act Professional
- Use Good Body Language
- Use the STAR Method
- Have Questions Prepared for the Interviewer
- Keep Answers Short
- Stay Away from the Phone
- Find a Negative That’s a Positive
- Know Your Schedule
- Ask What’s Next
- Send a Thank You Note
- Follow Up Email/Call
- Learn from Your Mistakes
How Do You Prepare Your Homeschooler for a Job Interview?
Preparing your teen for his first job interview isn’t hard. Having conversations with him and discussing what he should say and do is a great place to begin. I have put together 18 tips so you can cover the most important areas for a successful interview. I separated them into three categories for before, during, and after the interview.
Tips for Before the Interview
Practice Interview Questions
You never know what questions people will ask. It’s a good idea to practice as many of them as possible. Find a friend or family member to rehearse with your child. I have a big list of first job interview questions your teen can practice answering. Be sure to sign up for it at the bottom of this article.
Have your teen spend some time learning about the company he is interviewing with. Start with their website and then their social media channels. If they ask him what he knows about their company, it will impress them he took the time to find out. This will show he is interested and knowledgeable, but also help him see if the job is a good fit.
If the interviewer is interested, he may ask for references. Having a list already prepared can speed up the process.
What should a teenager wear to a job interview? Wearing jeans and tennis shoes might be great for everyday apparel, but not for an interview. While they don’t have to wear a suit or dress, it is nice for the guys to wear khaki pants and a collared shirt and girls in a skirt or dress pants and a nice shirt. Half the battle in making a positive impression in the first few minutes is how your teen looks.
It is always a good idea to arrive at the interview at least 10 minutes early. This shows them your teen is punctual. It also allows him time to find the room they are interviewing in and get himself together before being called. It may be a good idea to drive by the building the day before so he knows where it’s at and doesn’t get lost. Arriving late will set a bad tone and also cause your teen to be more nervous.
Tips for During the Interview
Remind your child he has five minutes to win these people over. They often make the decision to hire someone during those first few minutes. It starts with how he looks when he walks through the door. The next step is wowing them with some energy and saying something positive he’s heard about the company. He should remember to smile and interact with everyone.
Giving a firm handshake, making eye contact, and stating your name is not something many teens do today. These simple acts will make your teen stand out and look professional. If your child has had a job before, make sure he doesn’t talk negatively about his previous employer.
Our body language says a lot. Tell your child not to slouch in the chair. He should sit up, act interested, and establish good eye contact. The SLANT strategy would be perfect for this.
Behavioral interviews are the new thing. Employers ask questions about situations your teen may have been a part of in the past and how he handled them. To answer these, the STAR method can help.
Task- This step explains what his duty was. “It was my job to motivate my team members and make sure everyone was working together.”
Action- This step describes the action he took. “I had team meetings before each game and talked about how far we had come and told them we needed to work even harder and not give up. I pointed out positive ways each of them had helped us get that far.”
Result- What resulted from the action? “We played harder than we ever had and won the game to advance to the championship!”
The interviewer isn’t the only one who can ask questions. In fact, your teen should prepare a list and be ready to ask them. This lets him get involved in the process and also get some answers to the questions he may have.
Some examples might be:
- What would my responsibilities be?
- Do I work with other departments and how does that work?
- What does a typical day in this job look like?
- Is there an opportunity to advance?
- What do people like the most and least about this job?
When answering questions, there’s a fine line between talking too much and not enough. Tell your teen not to give one-word answers, but at the same time, don’t go on and on. Try to answer the questions with the information they are looking for and not add to it with unnecessary rambling.
Today’s teens are constantly on their phones. This can be a problem in the workplace. If the interviewer sees your teen glancing at his phone, he’s going to assume he will play with his phone during work hours as well. It’s best to keep it in his pocket or leave it in the car during the interview.
Almost every interviewer will ask what a person’s strengths and weaknesses are. Finding something negative that is still a positive can be tricky. The weakness should be something that is truly a negative, but there are ways to correct it. If your teen has difficulty managing time, he can say he uses a planner or sets reminders on his phone to make sure he meets deadlines and doesn’t miss appointments.
Most likely they will discuss the hours your teen is available for work. Make sure your child knows his schedule and is flexible. Also, if he is not driving yet, he should explain how he will get to and from work.
Here’s a video with some tips.
Tips for After the Interview
It’s perfectly fine at the end of the interview for your teenager to ask what to expect. It’s shows he’s interested in getting the job. This will let him know whether to expect a phone call or email and if there is another step involved before getting hired. He may find out when they intend to fill the position and if they still have other people to interview.
It might seem strange to your teen, but writing a thank you note is a personal touch that will set him apart. If he asks for a business card from the interviewer before he leaves, he will have an email address to send his thank you to. Do this the same day if possible, but at least within 48 hours.
He should thank the person for his time and considering him for the position. It’s a good idea to include something from the interview such as, “I am interested in…” or “I am excited about the possibility of…” Finish by letting the person know he looks forward to hearing from him soon. Not only is sending a thank you note polite, but it also puts your child’s name in front of this person again.
If a week has gone by and your child hasn’t heard from the company, it’s acceptable to call or email and find out if they have filled the position. He can write out a script if he’s nervous about making a phone call. Let the person know he’s still interested in the job and was calling to find out if they have hired anyone yet.
Have your teenager think about what went right and wrong after he’s done with the interview. Have him tell what he could change next time. Tell him it’s okay if he made a mistake or didn’t answer something correctly. The best way to practice for interviews is to do more interviews. The more he does the easier they will get. Explain even adults are nervous for them.
Here are two helpful books to prepare you teen even more for interivews.
My son had a rare situation with his first job where he didn’t have to interview for it. Someone recommended him and that was all it took. He walked in to meet the boss and he hired on the spot, no questions asked. This is not typical.
His second job was very different. He had to apply online and take a competency test. Then he had to interview in front of a panel of people firing questions at him. Luckily, I had prepared him in advance with my interview tips for teens. He answered the questions confidently, dressed for success, and stayed away from his phone to make eye contact the whole time. They were impressed, and he was hired.
With a little practice and help from you, your teen can do the same. He will feel confident when he goes into the room knowing he’s prepared and ahead of the game.