So you’re leaving school, and you've found a suitable potential job, sent out your application and now it's interview time. Congratulations! You have successfully moved past the first hurdle and bagged an interview.
However, cracking the competition of being selected amidst thousands of applicants isn’t the only hurdle you are going to face. Surviving the interview process could also be quite daunting and overwhelming for you beforehand.
The key to victory in an interview lies in – preparation and confidence. Also ironically, if you are fully prepared, and follow our instructions below, you will undoubtedly feel confident in front of the questioner.
Here are some basic tips on what we mean by being prepared so that you can easily radiate confidence.
Arrive 15 min’s early : Punctuality is a huge concern for employers of school leavers, and late arrival may very well minimise your chances of getting hired.
“Prevention is better than cure”, so make sure to take a trial trip to the interview location if you are uncertain of the directions or the parking time.
Practice common interview questions : Type “common interview questions for school leavers” in Google and you will find a swarm of general questions. We suggest below the most common ones along with quick pointers.
“Tell me about yourself”
This is an opportunity to talk about you and your present and future plans and not about your childhood, the music you love or even your trophies that is not relevant to the job. Remember to keep it concise as it will set the tone for the interview.
Here’s your chance to tell the interviewer why you applied for this role. Talk about what skills you have that are relevant to the role and how you think you can contribute to the organisation's goals.
“Any extra curricular activities?
This is your chance to showcase your personality in a brief but catching way. Your extracurricular activities should reflect your strengths and your interests. You can include any trophies or competitions that you have won here.
Exude enthusiasm and a positive attitude : First impressions are pivotal for job interviews so smile and be polite to everyone you meet. Greet the interviewer with a firm but not so tight handshake, a warm smile and look them in the eye at all times. When sitting, avoid slouching and sit up straight, like you are keen to hear what the interviewer has to say.
A lot of teenagers get drowned in excitement and start talking too fast which conveys nervousness and lack of confidence. Try to avoid talking swiftly to help the interviewers understand what you are saying properly.
Dress up : As a school leaver, when you have no past experience to exhibit, be attentive with the way you dress and groom yourself to show the assessor you are taking the job seriously. Consider the type of organisation you are targeting as you decide your outfit. For example, If your employer is recruiting for a direct customer interaction jobs like helpdesks, receptionists, customer service agents etc.
Keep your attire casual, but not too casual. Showing up in jeans and a T-shirt may be comfortable but doesn't portray the best impression, trousers and a collared shirt, or a tailored top and skirt (not mini) are always a good choice. Also, A full suit is probably more than required, unless you’re applying for a reputable internship. Avoid a unshorn look with your hair, and don’t wear excessive perfume or deodorant, makeup or jewelry.
The best way would be to pick out the interview outfit a week in advance, try it on and make sure it’s ironed and clean.
Research the company in advance : When you are leaving school and meeting employers for the first time, remember to read about them online. You don't need to learn the facts and figures by heart but it is important to have an idea of what the organisation goals are, their culture, how they earn revenue, and the details of the job for which you are applying. You can find all this on their website , social media pages, blog posts and brochures. If you retain some points, demonstrate your interest by talking about them in your interview to let the other side feel like you are passionate about whatever you do.
Know your CV : Nothing annoys a panel more than a candidate who isn’t sure about their own skills and achievements. So, it's imperative to know your resume inside and out so that you can feel confident when pointing out your strengths or experiences without looking at your resume.
Switch your mobile to off or silent : Fight the urge to take a quick peek at your Instagram , Snapchat or calls at any time when you are in front of the interviewer. Employers are very particular about losing productivity among teenage workers who are constantly engaged or distracted by their phones.
Make a list of questions to ask : Create a list of questions to ask at the end of the interview, about the company and the opportunity. Focus on the job description, training, supervision, clients, and when you might expect to hear from them. Try to avoid questions about remuneration and perks.
Determine 2-3 key points that you want to showcase : To efficiently answer the interview questions, it is a best practice to develop a good strategy. If you have a list of major thoughts and ideas you want to convey, you would deliver a more focused and polished answer. Use examples from your past when trying to make a point which helps proving your capabilities.
Think about your experiences in detail: Before your interview connect the dots about your past work, hobbies or volunteering that could be interpreted into skills relevant for the job whether big or small with the job perspective. Babysitting shows that you are responsible and loving while playing football highlights you as a team player.
After the interview
It’s a nice gesture to send a short email to the interviewers, extending thanks to them for the interview and recapitulating your interest in the role. If you don’t get the job, don’t be disheartened. As a teenager, it would be best to request feedback from the interviewer as to why you were not selected so that you could stay clear of the mistakes in the future. Also, remind them to consider you for any further opportunities that may come up in the time ahead.
If you follow the above simple rules, you should be able to clear interviews for all sorts of jobs with flying colours.