. Your Teen's First Job Interview - Manitoba Parent Zone | Healthy Child Manitoba
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Your Teen's First Job Interview

If your teen is currently looking for his or her first job, then this is the perfect time to start getting ready for that first job interview. Job interviews can make even the most confident adult feel a nervous, so it’s no wonder they can be a little nerve-rattling for teens. But with some preparation and practice, you can help your teen have a great interview - and hopefully, score that first job! Here are some tips to help your teen get ready to shine.

  • You can start by sitting down with your teen and spending some time talking about what to expect in the interview. Your teen should know that it’s important to arrive slightly early, to shake the interviewer’s hand, and to wait to be invited to sit down before doing so. You might want to share a little about your own interview experiences.
  • We all know practice makes perfect, so consider helping your teen prepare with a mock interview. Check online for lists of common interview questions, and go through them a few times at home. Manitoba Children and Youth Opportunities has a great list of interview questions, and the University of Manitoba has an interview guide available. It can be helpful if you and your teen take turns being the interviewer. This can help your teen get a sense of what the employer might be thinking and feeling during an interview.
  • You can also help your teen make a list of positive qualities to describe him or herself, as it’s likely this will be asked in the interview in some way. Spend some time with your teen brainstorming what qualities and skills might be important for the job, as well - you can then help your teen make connections between his or her skills, and what the job requires. And don’t forget to practice the all-important handshake.
  • In general, teens should dress conservatively for job interviews, and they may want to consider removing any piercings or covering any tattoos. Jeans are usually not a good idea for an interview. Some exceptions to these rules might be at very edgy or trendy stores, where personal style or a unique look may be a hiring factor.
  • Talk to your teen about body language; slouching can indicate boredom, fidgeting can indicate anxiety, and leaning in slightly can indicate interest to a potential employer.
  • Make sure your teen knows that it is normal and okay to feel nervous before a job interview. In fact, a little healthy stress can actually improve our performance in difficult situations. It’s also likely that the employer who is interviewing your teen has also interviewed many first time job-seekers, and expects them to be at least somewhat nervous.
  • On the day of the interview, your teen should arrive ten to fifteen minutes early for the interview. Being too early might not be a positive thing, as it may be an inconvenience to the interviewer. One thing is for sure – your teen shouldn’t be late!
  • In the interview, your teen should be honest about his or her availability, and how many hours he or she is hoping for. He or she might want to ask what shifts are usually scheduled, as well, to make sure there are no surprises later on.
  • At the end of most interviews, the employer will ask if the candidate has any questions. Make sure your teen knows to expect this, as a thoughtful and genuine question can show how interested your teen is in the position.
  • Your teen should also bring his or her references to the interview. References might include adults who have been involved in your teen’s extracurricular activities, supervisors from volunteer work, or teachers from school. Make sure your teen asks them first, though.
  • Remind your teen that it is important to send a thank you card after the interview, as it shows gratitude and appreciation for the employer’s time. This is a great habit to develop early, and future employers will appreciate it.

    If your teen gets the job, that’s great - congratulations to him or her! But even if not, help your teen see the interview as a learning experience. This might be one of those opportunities when you can use a ‘when I was your age’ story and get away with it! But in truth, empathy and some gentle guidance can help your child move forward from the disappointment. The right job will come along with some patience and perseverance. Check below for more great links for teens getting ready to enter the workforce.

    Employment Standards : Before your teen goes to work, make sure that he or she knows his or her rights in the workplace. This site from the Government of Manitoba gives a clear and readable outline of the rights and restrictions on young workers.

    SAFE Manitoba: Safety is another very important consideration for all young people, and SAFE Manitoba has many resources for both young workers, and their parents.

    KidsHealth: Balancing school and work - Great tips and information for teens on balancing school and part time work or volunteer work.
  • STEP Services: STEP services is the official student employment service of the Government of Manitoba. Your teen can check here for information on how to apply for these positions.