Tuesday, November 22, 2011

PREPARING YOUR TEEN FOR THEIR FIRST JOB INTERVIEW:



     It's hard to believe that your image conscious, eye rolling, mono-syllabic teen will one day make his or her way into the work force.  Though they may act like they don't need you anymore, preparing for a job interview will be one of those times when your advice and previous experience will come in handy.
     A good stepping-stone for any teen ready to enter the work force is to become active in extra curricular activities in school or around their community.  This will help build their confidence, and get them used to the idea of selling themselves to authority figures.
     Your teen's first impression on the interviewer, whether they are applying for a job working weekends or a few hours after school, counts for 55% of their decision on whether your teen gets a call congratulating them on their new position within that company.
     Once your teen has settled on a business that they are interested in working for, have them do some research on the position they are applying for.  The more knowledge he or she is equipped with, the better their chances of getting hired.
     Next you will want to set aside time to practice what will happen in the interview, such as what will be asked, what they should ask, etc.  Playing the role of the interviewer, prepare some questions to ask that the real interviewer might.  Your rehearsals should cover real scenarios that might arise, including working through situations that may be positive, negative or even embarrassing.  Also, help them work through answering those questions that they may have difficulty answering.
       Teach your teen to answer the questions precisely, without sounding unsure of themselves.  They should begin to learn to believe in themselves, and therefore exude confidence in the interview.
  During this time, feedback is essential for your teen.  Whether it is praise or constructive criticism, your teen will benefit from learning from their mistakes, and thereby gaining confidence in themselves.
     Now that you feel like your teen has mastered the Q&A part of the interview process, it is now time for them to make an appointment with their future employer, and gather the necessary paperwork together.  This includes a completed job application, working papers (if your teen is under the legal hiring age), and a resume'.
     Since your teen will have had no previous job experience to pad their resume' with, they will need to list those traits, outside experiences or interests that will make them stick out when the interviewer begins looking over their paperwork.
     With an interview date looming in the distance, there are some points to go over with your teen to ready them for the actual day.  Though one of the things you may admire about your teen is their sense of an individual, free thinking self, you need to help them realize what is appropriate attire and attitude to present themselves with in front of the man or woman interviewing them.
    Whether your teen is of driving age or not, it is best to let them go into the interview room by themselves.  If you have to drive them, either wait in the car or come back to pick them up.  Without you in the room, your teen has only themselves to rely on, and doing something on their own builds their confidence and gives them a sense of independence.  It is important that they speak for themselves, without you in the room. 
       If your teen is of driving age, have them map out a direct route to the place of business, taking into consideration how long it will take to get there.  Also, have them arrive 10-15 minutes early.  This will give them time to get their bearings and become familiar with their surroundings.
    
     How your teen presents themselves is important, so have them dress conservatively, yet casually, so they are not completely untrue to their identity.  But have them remove any piercings, wash out the hair dye, and cover any visible tattoos, as these might make the wrong impression.
     Regardless of how your teen acts around you, it is essential they are polite and well mannered during their interview.  Some basic rule of good behavior to keep in mind are, offer your hand first, don't sit unless you are asked to, sit up straight, listen, stay focused and don't mumble when speaking.  Tell them to introduce themselves by stating their full name, age, and the school they attend, and also by giving a brief description of who they are, and why they want to be apart of the company.
   
    Tell your teen to keep in mind the fact that their future employer will take into consideration their personality, team spirit and willingness to work.

 Listed below are some standard questions that will be asked by the interviewer:

1. Why are you interested in working for our company?

2. Why should I hire you?

3. How would you describe your ability to work as a team player?

4. What do you think it takes to be successful in this position?

5. Why are you looking for a job?

     Thanks to your rehearsal time, your teen should feel comfortable answering these questions and more.  They should have some questions of their own prepared.  It is okay at this point for your teen to talk long-term with the interviewer about things such as the pay scale, bonus and advancement opportunities within the company.  This shows that they are interested in a long-term relationship with the employer and are eager to be apart of the team.   Though your teen may be eager to get the job, it is necessary for them to state what days of the week and hours in which they are available.  The last thing you want for them to do is excitedly accept a job, and then struggle with not being able to fulfill their end of the bargain by having to miss a lot of work, thereby compromising their employment. Now that the interview is over, your teen will need to ask when they can expect a decision to be made.
     Once your teen receives a call back with a date in which they can start, there are some ground rules you will need to set in order to maintain some balance between school and work.  They should know that their schoolwork is their number one priority, and that their new job must not interfere with or compromise that.
     Whether he or she may know it or not, your teen is gaining valuable experiences that will guide them later on in life.  They will learn responsibility and the importance of hard work, what it is like to be depended on, and what it is like to be apart of a team.

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