March 1, 2013
CJ had his first job interview this yesterday. He wants to work at the local swim club this summer. He is not lifeguard certified so he wants to either be the guy who signs you in at the gate or the person who under cooks your frozen pizza at the concession stand. I thought it would be a good time to prep him for potential interview questions since his interview was being conducted by a real job search company as opposed to dude with a whistle and the white stuff on his nose at the pool.
CJ was able to fill out a good looking application, with the help of his mom, and it included his work as a soccer referee. It is excellent when a teenager is able to put some experience on their application even if it is babysitting. However, conducting missions in the World of Warcraft should not be on there.
Therefore, since I thought it possible that the person conducting his interview may ask him real interview questions, I prepped him on the way to the place in the car. When I had first asked him a typical one, "Why do you want to work at the pool?" he thought I was asking him as his dad. He told me it was a good way to make money that was close to home and could be a lot of fun. In his head I am sure he was also thinking that GF belongs to to the pool, but he did not say that out loud. I then explained that I was asking as an interviewer and wondered (hopefully) that he would then change his answer. He did. We discussed that real honesty is not any better than lying. His next answer included the fondness for working outside, working with people, and hard work that could also be fun. Not bad.
Here are some other typical basic questions us employers like to ask so you can help your child get ready for interviews this summer.
1. Why do you want to work here?
2. What are your strengths?
3. What are your weaknesses?
4. What did you like most about your last job?
5. What did you like least about your last job?
6. Do you have any questions?
Here are some general dos and don'ts for their answers.
Do smile and show some personality.
Don't be sarcastic.
NEVER use curse words, even if the interviewer does.
Do tell the interviewer what they want to hear as long as is also the truth.
Don't say you have used a forklift before if you have not.
Do spin negatives into positives. I have not used a register before, but I it am good at handling money and I learn quickly.
Do tailor your strengths to requirements of the job you are interviewing for.
Don't use a weakness that is glaringly bad like not liking to get out of bed in the morning, always late, etc.
Do turn you weakness into a strength. CJ's was that he gets frustrated too quickly when his referee partner does not take the job seriously. He is learning to be more of a leader and explain why they need to be professional when they referee.
Don't say you did not like your last job because it was too hard or your boss was an A-hole.
Do say that you did not feel it was preparing you for what you wanted to do later in life, or you wanted to experience new things, etc.
Finally, when it is question time, don't ask about pay if you can help it or how much time you can get off, or if you get free stuff, etc.
Do ask about training or advancement opportunities or dress code or something like that.
We do not know yet if CJ got the job, so perhaps all of my coaching did not help. However, I have interviewed plenty of teens (and adults) who could have used some of this advise. I hope it can help.