How to Prepare Your Teen for a Job Interview

Happy young barista
Sturti/Vetta/Getty Images

If your teen is fortunate enough to get an interview for a job, use it as a learning opportunity to teach your teen job interviewing skills. There are many horror stories about teens showing up 20 minutes late for a job interview while wearing a ripped t-shirt and talking on the phone. Help your teen understand appropriate job interview etiquette and increase his chances of getting the job.

Suggest Your Teen Do His Homework First

If a teen walks into an interview and has no idea what type of job he even applied for, it’s not likely to go well. Help your teen research the business that will be interviewing him so he has some basic understanding of what type of products or services are provided. By developing an understanding of what type of employment he’s being interviewed for, your teen can showcase the skills that the employer is most likely looking for.

Establish Realistic Expectations

Talk to your teen about his expectations. Teens are usually not hired to lead a company after their first interview, no matter how brilliant they are. Help your teen to understand that if he’s fortunate to get a job, he’ll most likely be given basic tasks until his skills are developed.

By furthering his education and learning new skills, he will become a more valuable employee.

The more valuable he becomes, the better jobs he will receive and the more money he can earn in the future.

Discuss the likely pay for an entry level job as well. It’s important that your teen understands that he will most likely earn minimum wage. You certainly don’t want your teen walking into a job interview and acting horrified at the low pay or protesting that he doesn’t want to do a basic job.

Help Your Teen Choose Appropriate Interview Attire

If a teen shows up wearing ripped jeans or a t-shirt, he’s not likely to impress the interviewer. Help your teen choose appropriate clothing to wear for an interview. Although there’s no need to wear a business suit for an entry-level cashier position, it’s important to look professional.

Dress pants and a collared shirt, for example, may be most appropriate. Employers will be most impressed by a teen who clearly put effort into preparing himself for the interview by dressing properly.

Role Play How to Answer Interview Questions

Discuss potential interview questions that an employer may ask. Answering questions with, “I don’t know,” usually doesn’t fair well with an interviewer. Help your teen identify strategies to answer common interview questions.

Also, discuss what types of things an employer may be looking for in a future employee. An employer will likely hope to gain assurance that a teen will be able to behave professionally with customers, accept feedback from managers, and is punctual and reliable.

Role-play with your teen how to answer common interview questions. It can be helpful for your teen to actually play the part of the interviewer and as well as the interviewee. By playing the role of the employer, your teen can see what it’s like to hear someone else answer the questions.

Ask broad sample questions like, “What are some of your strengths?” and “Why do you want this job?” Also ask pointed questions like “What would you do if you caught another employee taking money out of the cash register?” or “Can you tell me about a time when someone was angry with you and what you did about it?”

Usually, at the end of an interview, an interviewer will invite a teen to ask any questions he may have. Asking a few questions can show the interviewer that he’s interested in the job and is really think about the position. Help your teen identify a couple of appropriate questions to ask the interviewer, such as, “What type of hours are you looking for someone to work?”

Review How to Behave Professionally

Talk about professional behavior during an interview. Clearly, texting while an interviewer is asking questions isn’t likely to land your teen a job. Tell your teen to shut off his phone or avoid carrying it into the interview altogether.

Make sure your teen is well-versed in how to introduce himself. Often, a smile and a firm handshake go a long way. Also, discuss the importance of making eye contact and using good manners. At the end of the interview, tell your teen to thank the interviewer for the interview.

Look at an Interview as Good Practice

Let your teen know that often people go on many job interviews before they get their first job. Also, explain that interviews cause some anxiety for most people. Help your teen understand that if he doesn’t get the job, it’s okay and he likely learned something from the interview process that will help him do better at his next interview.

Continue Reading