As a high school student, you might feel that interviews are an intimidating and awkward experience overall. This is especially true if you don’t have any idea about how a job search goes. But it does not have to be. There are several ways to prepare you for your journey to achieving your career goals. One way is to read on as we dive into helpful job interview tips for high school students like you.
Importance of Preparing High School Students for Job Interview
An interview is not just a simple conversation between an interviewee and the interviewer. Instead, it involves students listening, focusing, thinking, and reacting appropriately to what the other person says. Furthermore, it is a great way to enhance social and communication skills. These life skills will help prepare students for college and jobs, and interviewing is a great way to enhance them.
Interview is part of the real life outside school—with real consequences if students are unprepared and a real success if they do well. It teaches the students to be responsible, adaptable, and hardworking adults. Hence, it is important for teachers, parents or guardians to prepare high school students for interviews.
What Should High School Students Expect from a Job Interview?
There are several things to expect when it comes to the interview process. Interviews vary in the questions asked and even their duration. But in general, the interview process follows the same sequence. Here is a step-by-step description of a typical interview, with details on what to expect throughout the process.
Before the Interview
At this time, the hiring manager has contacted you and asked you to come for an interview. That’s good to hear! It means that the hiring manager was impressed with your resume.
Some hiring managers ask you to provide additional material for further evaluation. Supporting documents for a job application can include a cover letter, LinkedIn profile, educational transcripts, writing samples, portfolios, certifications, a reference list, and letters of recommendation. It’s better to prepare these documents so you can submit them right away.
During the Interview
When you are called for an in-person interview, you should come early because it might take time for you to commute or drive to the office. Once you arrive, you’ll likely be asked to wait for the interviewer. While waiting, get off your phone and put it in silent mode. Be mindful of the employees around. Besides, if you are busy with your phone, you might be unaware when the interviewer called you in.
On the other hand, when you are asked to come for a virtual interview, the same preparation goes. Just because your interview can be done virtually doesn’t mean that you can slack off. Join the meeting at least 10 minutes before. That way, you won’t have to worry about last-minute technical difficulties.
Interviews can be a one-on-one interview with the manager or supervisor with whom you would be working most closely at the company. It can also be a panel interview wherein the manager is accompanied by a department head and the human resources representative. Occasionally, you will be interviewed by a human resources representative or manager.
Whatever the case, anticipate several personal, work-related, or situational questions. Be prepared to answer questions regarding your experience, skills, and achievements. No interviewer will have the same questions, so it’s best to prepare for the most common interview questions you’re likely to encounter.
After the Interview
After you leave the interview, it is good to send your interviewer a thank-you email. A simple ‘thank you’ will go a long way, and it’s a great gesture should you work there in the future.
While you’re waiting to hear from the hiring manager, it’s also the time for you to determine whether or not the role is a good fit for you. After all, the interview provided you with an outlook on the day-to-day activities, the company’s culture, and the work environment. Consider these factors to personally decide if this is a role and workplace you could see yourself in.
You should expect to hear back from the hiring manager within a week. In some cases, you might not hear back that soon. If that’s the case, it is acceptable to send a follow-up email. When you hear back, you’ll either be called to discuss the job offer, proceed with a final interview, or notified that they have chosen another candidate.
Remember that no interview is a waste of your time, even if you did not get the job or you decided not to take it. The interview process has provided you with valuable experience. Every interview gives you an opportunity to practice your communication skills.
Common Job Interview Questions for High School Students
Acing your job search depends on how well you have prepared for the interview questions. Check out these common questions to guide you.
1. Tell me about yourself.
This question might be a simple one, but it is hard to choose what is worth sharing. How you answer this question will likely steer the conversation; so be sure to share something interesting and meaningful.
As a high school student, you probably don’t have any work experience. Hence, you can tell them about your family, your hobbies and interests, or activities outside school. It shows that aside from your academics, you are engaging yourself in the community.
2. Why did you apply to our company?
Gain enough edge and learn more about the company. You can easily find details about them on their website or social media pages. These details can give you a glimpse of the company culture and how you fit in at work.
Aside from this question, they might also ask, “Why did you apply for this position?” Be sure to read the job description and align your skills that match the role.
3. Can you share a difficult experience you had and how you handled it?
Interviewers ask this question to gauge your determination and persistence when facing difficulties. It could be related to school, your home, or an extracurricular activity. Describe the scenario briefly but spend the majority of your response emphasizing what you did to overcome the obstacle.
4. What are your career goals?
Interviewers ask future-focused questions to make sure you have ambition and goals for your future. You can divide those goals into short-term goals and long-term goals. Be prepared to share some of your aspirations with the interviewer. However, not everyone has already decided what course and job to take. If you’re not clear about what you want to achieve, review these career planning tips for students like you.
After the series of questions, expect that the interviewer might ask if you have any questions about the position or the company. Asking questions shows genuine interest. It will also help you make an informed decision if the position fits your skills and career goals. Upon concluding the interview, do not expect the hiring manager to tell you definitively whether or not you have the job. However, you are free to ask when you will hear back from them. Also, don’t forget to thank your interviewer before you leave.
Job Interview Tips for High School Students
Now that you are familiar with the interview process and the common interview questions, let’s dive into foolproof job interview tips for high school students like you. Heed these advices to secure your target job post.
1. Do your research.
It is important research about the company and the position you’re applying for. It helps you understand the values, culture, and demands of the job. Not only that; doing your research shows the interviewer your interest and commitment to the job.
Browse through their company website or social media pages. You can also read about the industry they are into. That way, you’ll be able to align your answers and engage more with the hiring manager. Here are some guide questions to start with when doing your research:
- What does the company do and what do they stand for?
- Who does this company serve or who buys their products?
- What types of skills and training do their employees have?
- What type of environment do people in this job work in?
2. Practice makes perfect.
Anticipate the questions and prepare your answers ahead of time. You don’t want to scramble for words in the actual interview. Yet, remember not to be stiff and make it seem rehearsed. You can write your answers to potential questions the interviewer can ask you about; or you can use the START method when answering questions. This helps you to better assess how you respond to certain work situations.
Either way, practice your statements in front of the mirror or ask for the help of a friend. That way, you can observe distracting habits and filler words and prevent them in your actual interview. Doing a practice or mock interview with someone else will help you feel more confident and prepared going into the real one.
3. Dress the part.
Interviewees are recommended to dress one level above the position they’re applying for. This means that usual shirts, pants and skirts are not allowed. Gentlemen can wear nice button-down shirt or polo and slacks. You can’t go wrong with wearing a tie. Meanwhile, ladies should plan to wear slacks or a skirt and a blouse. Don’t forget to wear appropriate shoes for the outfit.
In addition, you should tone down your jewelry, make sure your hair is neatly groomed, and wear appropriate makeup for the girls. Be sure to prepare your attire and try it on ahead of time to see if your attire fits well.
4. Be confident and natural.
In your interview, be your best self! Work on your body language, posture, and hand gestures. While you did your research and prepared some answers, don’t make it seem like you rehearsed. Be natural, speak slowly and clearly.
Finally, don’t forget that a smile goes a long way. Be sure to greet them with a smile. It shows confidence and friendliness. Don’t forget to say your goodbye with a smile of gratitude. As noted previously, this also leaves a good impression on the interviewer.
Consult with Our Career Experts for More Job Interview Tips
For high school students with little to no experience, career planning is an integral part of your professional journey. Hence, preparation is key.
Now that you have read the job interview tips for high school students, you surely can secure that job post. You can also search for job search tips and resources from experts to prepare you for your journey to achieve your career goals. We also provide resume writing services that can help you land your target profession and realize your dreams. Connect with us today!