HSHSP Ep 166: Helping Teens Prepare for First Job Interview

This week on HSHSP Ep 166: Helping Teens Prepare for Their First Job Interview. This post is running concurrently at the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network.

HSHSP Ep 166: Helping Teens Prepare for Their First Job Interview. Give teens the edge and confidence they need for their first job interviews with these important skills. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #FirstJobInterview #FirstJobHuntSkillsForTeens

HSHSP Ep 166: Helping Teens Prepare for Their First Job Interview

Do you remember your first job interview? Remember how it felt trying to think with a clear mind when you’re SO nervous and feel so inexperienced and unprepared? The entire process of job hunting, followed by harrowing interviews is an important rite of passage for teens. If your teen is just starting out with the job hunt, listen to this HSHSP episode first.

Besides being a 7Sister and homeschool coach, I am a Career Coach. I’ve worked with teens and college students as they’ve searched for their first jobs. Sometimes things go great and sometimes the experience happened for character building ūüėČ

Here are some of the goofy experiences teens have shared with me about their first job interviews:

  • Several of the have gotten lost on their way to the interview, so arrived late or almost late (and thus, flustered).
  • One told me about the crabby person who interviewed him. One of the questions she asked (a standard question for many entry-level jobs) was, “What is your greatest weakest?” His rehearsed answer was, “Sometimes I get nervous but I’ve practiced breathing and grounding skills so I’ve always been able to overcome the feelings.” (I thought that was a pretty good answer, myself.) His interviewer became irritated and asked why he had even applied to the job, if that was so.
  • One told me he realized about halfway through the interview, that his his zipper was down.
  • Some have told me they got stumped by a question and felt flustered.
  • I remember early in my career, interviewing in a Human Resources office where the painting behind the interviewer was hanging dramatically crooked. I never knew whether it was a goofy test (how do I address odd things) or they simply didn’t know. What I did decide was, I can’t work at an organization that can’t straighten paintings on the wall.

What I have learned is that preparation is key!

So how do you go about helping teens prepare for their first job interview?

Help guide your teens, this first time around, with these simple tips:

  • Research the company they are applying with.
  • Most companies have a website.
  • Read the history of the company and find out about the corporate culture.
  • Look for buzzwords, “Respect and helpfulness”. Memorize those buzzwords and drop them into the conversation. In fact, prepare a phrase you can throw in. This shows respect for the company, the interviewer’s time, and your teen’s initiative.
  • Look on Linkedin and see if you can find out about your interviewer.
  • This is not an option most of the time for an entry-level job, but if your teen DOES know who will be interviewing him/her this will be helpful:

Rehearse with your teen, the common, basic, entry-level job interview questions. Have him/her write the answers:

  • Tell us about yourself?
    • Prepare ahead of time an elevator pitch (a statement SO short that you could say it between the first and second floors of an elevator ride). For this elevator pitch have them include some vital things about you and where you’re going and what you would like to do for the company.
  • Why do you want to work for us?
    • Think of something that makes you look interested in the company.
  • What is your greatest strength?
    • Sometimes homeschool high schoolers have a difficult time with this question. They feel like they are bragging or prideful if they truly answer the question. However they are not being braggadocious if they have a strength that will help them in the job. It is simply a strength God has helped them build.
  • What is your greatest weakness?
    • Name a mild weakness and what you are doing. Never give a weakness like this:
      • I argue with my parents a lot.
      • I am sort of lazy.
  • What are your salary expectations?
    • The going rate for this position.
  • How you have handled a failure in life?
    • Pick something that shows your problem solving and bounce-back skills
  • Who has mentored you?
    • Tell a story of someone who has been influential in your life. Give details of the story.
  • Why should we hire you?
    • Say something along this line: I believe I can serve this company and make you glad you hired me.

Now it’s time to rehearse with your homeschool high schooler:

  • Have them get dressed in interview clothes.
    • Interview clothes are clean professional clothes. Shirts with buttons (ties optional for guys but do give an edge in some jobs). Clean, closed-toed shoes.
  • Have them enter the room with magic non-verbals (shoulders back, chin up, Mona Lisa smile), carrying 2 extra copies of resume and a notepad and pen.
  • If this is your teen’s first job, have them prepare an experiential resume. 7SistersHomeschool has an easy how-to guide.
  • Offer them a handshake.
  • Offer them to take a seat. (Teen should then sit down, straight-backed and both feet on floor.)
  • Ask them the above interview questions.
  • At the end, have them say, “Thank you, Mrs. __, for the interview.” Then stand and leave calmly.

For the day of the interview, tell your teen:

  • Know where you’re going (maybe drive there the day before just to make sure).
  • Arrive 15 minutes early.
  • Bring 2 extra copies of their resume.
  • Bring a notepad and pin.
  • Make sure all buttons are buttoned and zippers are zipped.
  • Take a few deep breaths before entering the building.
  • Also stand arms akimbo 15 seconds before entering the building (maybe while still in car).
  • Walk into building and interview room with magic non-verbals.
  • Greet interviewer with a professional (firm) handshake.
  • Stand until interviewers sit down.
  • Use interview non-verbals (back straight, feet on floor).
  • Try not to fidget (or jot a few notes instead of fidgeting).

The job interview isn’t over when the interview is over!

  • After the interview, send an email thank you to the interviewer.

First job interviews are stressful, but necessary to gaining that first job. Give your teens the skills for this important life event by joining Vicki for this chat.

You’ll also be blessed by these posts on Career Exploration:

Join our Facebook Page and 7SistersHomeschool Facebook Group for good conversation and encouragement!

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Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at 7SistersHomeschool.com, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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