For teenagers looking for employment – whether it is a full-time school leaver’s post or a temporary Summer or weekend job – having to undergo an interview may seem very daunting. However, it is worth remembering that the same questions will be asked at almost any interview and it is worth practising and preparing for these beforehand – sitting in front of a mirror, if you think that will help.
Tell me about yourself. On paper, this appears relatively simple as only you will know the answer but it can be difficult knowing where to start and what to say. Try not to waffle and do not go into reams of detail. Do talk about your interests and what you liked studying at school.
What are your strengths and weaknesses? For young people, employers will be looking for attributes such as: reliability, punctuality, good social skills, enthusiasm and a genuine interest in the job. Do not tell a prospective employer that you hate getting up early or that you like to mess around and have a laugh. Try to pick a weakness that can be turned into something positive. For instance, you may say that you can be quite chatty but that you enjoy meeting new people and that you are keen to help customers or that you wish you had better computing skills but that you are hoping to go on some training courses to improve these.
Why do you want to work here? Do some research about the company where you may be working. Talk about having an interest in retail and customer service or wanting to work with animals or having an interest in taking cars and motorbikes apart and repairing them. You can also talk about a convenient location or that a friend or family member likes working here (providing you think this friend would be considered a good worker!)
Have you any questions? This usually comes right at the end. You could say, “No. I think you have answered all the questions I had, thank you.” However, it does look impressive if you do have a question or two. You may want to ask about dress code, specific hours of work or the prospects of moving around the company and/or promotion.
So, to sum it up, be prepared, practise answers before your interview and make sure you turn up at least 5 to 10 minutes before your interview time.