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Preparing for the Interview

As a youth or young adult, you may not have the experience or training that other applicants may have, so the interviewing process is key to showing your worth. The most important thing to do in an interview is to sell yourself. Many people do not get the job because they fail to do just that. Here are a few tips to help:

  • When an interviewer asks, "Tell me about yourself," talk about your accomplishments, skills, and abilities, NOT your family, hobbies, or interests.
  • Explain what you mean by using examples or stories.
  • Look the interviewer in the eyes.
  • Smile.
  • Be an active participant in the conversation.
  • Stay positive.
  • When the interview is coming to a close, finish by politely reiterating your desire for the job. Such as "Mr. Smith, I want this job. I can offer you (state your skills, abilities, talents)."
  • Demonstrate you have the ability to help their company.
  • Be honest. An employer will find out about your information through background checks, so applicants should be up front and honest about anything that may be of interest or concern to an employer.

The best way to prepare for an interview is to role-play. Grab a friend or relative and have them play the interviewer. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will feel in an actual interview.

During the interview, try your best to address the fears/concerns of most employers.

Convince them:

  • You put in an honest day's work.
  • You do not need constant supervision.
  • You are a hard-worker, and always give 100%.
  • Your attendance record is good. You do not constantly call in sick, arrive late, leave early, refuse overtime, or constantly ask for raises.
  • You are humble and positive.
  • You have integrity; you are honest and admit your mistakes.
  • You are not a quitter and you will not leave when needed.
  • You are not arrogant, conceited, rude, pushy or moody.
  • You take pride in your work, appearance and behavior.
  • You do not lie, cheat or steal.
  • You take pride in the company you work for and will do everything you can to help the company.
  • Never say anything negative about your former employer, even if they start sharing negative information. It may be tempting, but do not give in. It is probably a test. If you say negative things about your previous boss or company, it makes them wonder what you would say about them.
  • As part of the interview you may be asked for confidential or insider information regarding a former employer. Do not fall for it!
  • If you give confidential information about a former or current employer, your credibility and character have just taken a major hit. It is best to say only positive or neutral statements regarding previous employers. If they continue to ask, change the subject by saying you are not comfortable discussing confidential information.

Be prepared to ask the employer questions, as well. Avoid asking questions that give the negative impression that you are only interested in what the employer can do for you. Sometimes your questions will get answered during the interview, but here are some suggestions:

  • Is this a new position or was the person promoted?
  • What would my job duties be?
  • How would I be trained?
  • How would my progress be rated?
  • Are promotions possible?
  • Who would I be reporting to?
  • Why is this job open?
  • May I have a tour of the work area?
  • Save the "what's in it for me" questions until the end of the interview. If the employer has not volunteered this information, ask them about the rate of pay, benefits and hours.

Be prepared with answers to interview questions. Here is a sample of some common ones that may come up in an interview:

  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • What qualifications do you have?
  • Why were you laid off from your previous position?
  • How long have you been looking for a job?
  • What motivates you to do a good job?
  • Can you give an example of any major problem you faced and how you solved it?
  • Do you prefer to work alone or in a group?
  • Would you rather be in charge of a project or work as part of the team?
  • What would you do if one supervisor told you not to do something and another supervisor told you to do it later?

Success Tips For The Interview

  • The day before the interview, make a practice run to the interview location.
  • Be on time or early.
  • Go by yourself.
  • Look professional.
  • Have a well-organized portfolio of your notes.
  • Bring three copies of the application and résumé to the interview.
  • Avoid distractions.
  • Shake hands firmly.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Watch your body language.
  • Always tell the truth.
  • Bring your sense of humor and smile.

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