Thursday: Where am I eligible to work based on my age?
Friday: How do I actually apply for a job?
Tuesday: Application Tips.
Wednesday: Interview Tips.
Don’t panic when the phone rings and you are asked to come in for an interview. It’s natural to be a bit nervous, but knowing what is coming will help you relax and nail the interview process. And speaking of “when your phone rings,” make sure you outgoing message is appropriate and professional. Despite what you think, most people won’t get your inside jokes and may not want to listen to your choice of music.
Here is a list of tips to help you be successful in the interview process.
Dress “one step above the job for which you are applying.” Don’t wear a suit to a tree-cutting interview, and don’t wear muddy work boots to an indoor secretarial interview.
Learn how to shake hands. Firm grasp. Two or three pumps. Look eye-to-eye. And listen to this little secret: Learn how to wipe your hand on your pant leg right before the hand shake to ensure that you are not giving your potential boss a wet, sweaty or clammy greeting.
Leave your cell phone in the car or at home. Same with your sweaty Dutch Bros. drink. And your friend. And your headphones. And your hat.
Know how to answer questions! Be prepared for: Tell me a little about yourself. Why should I hire you? What are your strengths/weaknesses? What would your teachers say about you? Why do you want to work here? Tell me about your work experience. Google sample interview questions and practice answering them with a friend.
Experience? Yes, you have experience. You’ve played on a team, been a TA, provided child care services for a neighbor, cleaned gutters, participated in a bake sale, sold holiday greenery, shoveled snow or watched a neighbor’s house. You may not have had a “job,” but you have experience.
Know something about the company. Your reasons for wanting to work at Subway should be very different from your reasons for wanting to work on a farm. “My mom is making me work,” or “I have to get money for car insurance” are not answers a potential boss wants to hear.
Be polite. Be excited. Keep good eye contact. Sit with your belly button facing the interviewer (shows confidence). And answer in complete sentences and avoid, “um.” And say “Thank you,” as you shake hands when it’s over.
And ask what the next step is in this process when they say, “Do you have anything you’d like to add or ask?” You do not want to leave without knowing when they might call you back; it’s a long weekend if you think they are going to call but they didn’t even plan on doing that for two weeks.
This little nugget is a lost art, but SEND A THANK YOU note to the person who interviewed you. It’s classy and it shows serious interest. And it will put you way ahead of the competition because people simply do not do this anymore.
And remember, practice makes perfect. You are not going to get an offer for every job interview, but you will become a better interviewee every time you go through this process.