If your teenager will soon face an important interview, go through these tips on how to perform well in interviews or give your teenager a copy to read over. The first, second or even third interview can still be a stressful experience and even independent teens can benefit from a little help.
Give your teenager a copy of these suggestions well prior to the approaching interview so that the interview can be approached more positively.
Identify the unique skills and qualities that set you apart
Once we begin to think about it, we can all find evidence of these skills and qualities. Interviews are opportunities to highlight the positive aspects of our personality and to show that we would be an asset in the course or career area.
Find tangible examples to illustrate your skills and qualities
It’s important to give real-life examples rather than simply list skills and qualities. Interviewers want to hear about how you gained a particular skill, where you successfully used it or how a particular quality has been as asset to others. Actually write down a list of your skills and qualities so that you remember to use them as examples where appropriate.
Remember, there are no perfect answers
The best answers come from the heart. Sincerity and honesty are essential ingredients in all interview situations. If we don’t know something, it’s far better to simply say this rather than try to fabricate knowledge or evidence.
Prepare well and you will be more confident
Thinking about possible questions and researching the course/job helps us reflect on our skills, attributes and personality so that we feel well prepared and more confident. When we know we have prepared well, we are less nervous. Even the most experienced person is a little nervous at the start of an interview. This is perfectly normal. However, once we settle into the interview the preparation we have completed will pay off.
Investigate the job/course
Being very familiar with the details of the course/job we are applying for helps enormously. It’s important to search websites, attend Open Days and be aware of any unique features of the course/job. Is there any practical component? Are there electives? What does this company stand for? Be able to discuss the advantages of this course/job over similar courses/jobs. Be able to clearly articulate why this course/this job is so highly desirable? Highlighting special features and having convincing reasons for wanting this course/job will impress the interviewer.
Before arriving, prepare a list of questions you might like to ask
Often interviewers will ask you if you have any questions. This generally occurs at the end of the interview. Prepare intelligent questions which show you are really thinking. If you can’t think of any questions to ask, don’t worry. Simply thank the interviewer and say that you feel confident that you are familiar with the course/job.
Rarely answer questions with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’
Avoid answering with one-worders such as:
Interviewers often say that these one-word answers drive them nuts. They are forced to ask a million questions to drag information out of students. A good way to avoid doing this is to always throw in examples to illustrate answers.
Do you believe that you have the leadership skills this job requires?
‘Yes. I have had experience leading a team of five people at my current part-time job. I’m responsible for making sure that…’
If you had to nominate your top personal quality, what would this be?
‘Determination. I always strive to do my best in everything and don’t give up. I like learning new skills and keep working until I have perfected them. When things are tough or go wrong, I look for ways to solve the problem. Probably the best example of this is my determination to be selected as a coach for my local football team. The selection process is quite tough but I kept trying and am now the coach for the under 15 team. I really love it.’
Look professional, act professionally
It’s always a good idea to dress conservatively for interviews rather than casually. Avoid colloquial language and offer to shake hands at the start of the interview and at the end while thanking the interviewer. Naturally, chewing gum is completely inappropriate and make sure mobile phones are turned completely off.
Think about body language
Don’t fold your arms or tap your fingers. These give the impression you are not at ease. The trick is to use what is called open body language. Practice sitting in a chair while dressed in the clothes you plan to wear at the interview. If you do this you’ll know if your socks are too short, if your pants are too long etc. Find a comfortable way to sit with your hands placed in a relaxed way on your lap. This may sound a waste of time but you’ll feel more at home in the interview if you have a practice run.
There is nothing worse than lying at an interview. Being caught out will almost certainly destroy and credibility you have. If there is one subject you need to complete before being awarded your diploma or degree, be upfront about this. And it’s far better to simply say that you haven’t had any experience in a particular area than stating you do and then looking embarrassed (and dishonest) when you can’t go on to give detailed examples of this. Be honest and then confidently add that you would love to learn this new area and are confident you could master it. Never add a referee without first contacting that person to ask if this is okay. Never falsify academic qualifications or results. Everyone appreciates honesty and expects honesty.