Besides earning their own money, teens with a summertime or after-school job gain real-world experiences that help develop critical job readiness skills, like communications, working in teams, problem-solving and effective time management.
A job interview is your chance to showcase what makes you stand out from other candidates. Taking time to prepare is crucial to impress your potential employer and secure the job. Here are some tips to help you knock your first job interview out of the park.
How to Prepare for Your First Interview
Before the Interview
On Interview Day
- Know your story. Think about how your skills and passions align with the job you want. Be prepared to articulate why your background, strengths and motivation make you a strong fit for the company.
- Research the job. Use Google or LinkedIn to learn more about the company and your interviewer. Come prepared knowing their goals and focus areas, and have a list of questions to ask the person who interviews you.
- Practice. Using a list of common interview questions like those below, prepare your responses, and then practice answering them with a friend, family member or mentor. You can even watch yourself in the mirror to refine your answers and body language.
Common First Job Interview Questions
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why are you interested in this role?
- What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?
- What are your hobbies outside of work?
- Do you prefer working by yourself or on a team?
- What achievement are you most proud of?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
After the Interview
- Dress appropriately. Your interview is your first impression, and how you dress can show your interviewer how important the job is to you. Avoid being too casual or too distracting. Collared shirts, blouses, dress slacks, skirts, blazers and cardigans are good choices.
- Arrive early. Arriving on time shows your interviewer that you are a reliable employee. Do a drive-by of the interview location the day before and nail down directions using GPS in advance so you know exactly where to go. Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early.
- Silence your phone. Silencing your phone or leaving it in your car allows you to give the interviewer your full attention and the respect they deserve.
- Watch your body language. Unconscious mannerisms, like fingernail biting, hair pulling or cracking knuckles, can surface when people are nervous. Strive to stay calm by sitting still, maintaining eye contact with the interviewer and focusing on the questions being asked.
- Ask your own questions. Asking questions at the end of the interview shows that you’ve taken time to research the company and highlights your interest and dedication.
- Send a thank-you note. Thank your interviewer immediately via email within 24 hours of your interview. Follow up with a hand-written note that arrives shortly after the interview. Express your gratitude for your interviewer’s time, and re-emphasize your interest in the position.
- Offer references. Have a few contact names and information on hand who can share your qualifications for the role.
- Learn from your experience. The best interview practice is to interview! Accept any feedback with grace and incorporate it into your interview prep for the next time.
In addition to the tips above, many local Boys & Girls Clubs offer programs and resources that help teens explore their interests and passions, develop essential employability skills and gain real-world experience through internships, service learning and first jobs. Learn more about the Workforce Readiness programs that Boys & Girls Clubs provide and how you can help prepare today’s teens for lifelong success.