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Interviewing Skills for High School or College Students

This blog looks at a few things a college or high school student can do to prepare for an interview.

My soon to be 20 year old son has a job interview this afternoon.  He is a sophomore in college and this job would be perfect for him since he is burning through money by living off campus.  Last night I gave him some tips about interviewing for this particular job and today I sent him a few more about social media.  Here is what I said:

1. Google the position. My son is interviewing for a server position in a chain restaurant.  The qualities for a server job include:  an outgoing personality, ability to take orders and remember detail about the orders, customer service skills, a pleasant personality, a team player and others. I asked him to come up with examples from either school or other jobs where he had to demonstrate these qualities.  Also go to the company website, read the job description and think about how his skill set matches these.

Note: If the position description says, “Greets guests and builds rapport”, how should you greet the interviewer?  

2. How would you answer this question, “You haven’t been a server in a couple of years?  What makes you think that you could pick it up again with our restaurant?”  In the past few years, my son has been a lifeguard.  I asked him to list the qualities of a life guard (working with people, customer service, friendly and helpful) and align those with the server skills.

3. Be prepared to answer any questions about strengths, weaknesses and the ever famous, “Why would you want to work here?”  He needs to come up with examples from school or past jobs to explain his strengths.  As far as weaknesses he needs to select a weakness that doesn’t have to do with server skills and talk about he is doing to eliminate it.   For the “Why work here?” question, he said that he’s been going to this restaurant since he was a kid and he always thought that while it looked like a lot of hard work, it also looked like a lot of fun too and that he has the type of personality and skills that should allow him to fit right in.

4. Social media. I told him to Google himself and if he sees anything that might not look so good for him, to eliminate it.  This includes Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  He also needs to have a voice message that clearly states his name and message.

5. Dress nicely.  Wear a pressed collared shirt and slacks and wear socks with your polished shoes. Lay off the cologne for a day, too.

It’s getting to the time of year when the college kids are going to start looking for jobs for the summer.  Taking a few steps to be prepared and show that you care can help ace the interview. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lois Costello January 20, 2013 at 08:25 PM
Sad to think we need to mention this to our kids :( ~ Social skills are definitely lacking in the teen generation probably because they all communicate through their smart phones and miss reading a person's facial expressions! Good Luck to your son I hope he gets the job!
Nancy Range Anderson January 24, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Thank you Lois! He did get the job!

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