A job interview for anyone can be nerve-wracking, so for a teenager going for their first job, or with very little job experience, it can feel even more intimidating. What is the right thing to say? Which answers will make me seem most professional? How can I make the best impression?
If you’re asking any of these questions, we’ve got you covered. In these 27 interview tips for teens, you’ll feel way more prepared and confident going into your next job interview.
27+ Interview Tips For Teens & Sample Questions!
Research the company
This is the place to start for interview tips for teens, as you’ll begin this process before the interview happens.
Tip 1: Get to know the company/brand – start simple with reading their website (the ‘about us’ section, especially).
Tip 2: Research current news/events or anything that this company has been mentioned for that might stand out to talk about later.
Tip 3: Read the job description carefully and make sure your resume is tailored to what the ‘desirable qualities’ were in that job posting.
Tip 4: If they have a physical location like a storefront, visit and take note of the staff, the overall feel, and other details to keep in mind for the interview.
Tip 5: Find ways to mention what you know about the company from all of this research in the interview. Additionally, if you know who your interviewer will be, look them up to see if there are any facts on their professional achievements.
Be professional and attentive
Of course, we were going to mention ways to come across as professional in these interview tips for teens. Interviewers are looking for a composed and serious candidate.
Tip 6: It starts with the first impression (more tips on that below) – dress clean and covered up.
Tip 7: Make eye contact and use the name that they introduced themselves as.
Tip 8: Ask thoughtful questions about the role and the company.
Tip 9: If you have a previous employer, don’t speak negatively about them or the role – stay objective and respectful.
Tip 10: Be positive and optimistic. A bright and happy attitude is always appreciated and shows that you genuinely want to be in this role.
Make a good first impression
There are certain things that you’ll do that may seem small or insignificant, but will have a big effect on the impression you make.
Tip 11: Arrive a few minutes earlier than the start time to show that you are punctual.
Tip 12: Dress professionally – not showing too much skin. Make sure your hair is styled in a way that you would present yourself were you to get the job.
Tip 13: Bring extra documents with you like your CV copy (even if they already have it) and references.
Tip 14: Be cautious of visible piercings and tattoos – consider taking them out for the interview and covering up your tattoos.
Tip 15: Put your phone on airplane mode or off so that the interview does not get interrupted.
Prepare to answer practical questions
You’re going to be asked many different questions about the role, and your work ethic in general. The below interview tips for teens will help you be prepared to answer the most common questions asked.
16. Question: What is your availability?
Tips: This needs to be totally clear. Know before the interview your days and hours that you can work, and also how many hours per week you are able to. If you show up to the interview with no answer to this and try to think on the spot, this does not look good.
Answer: “At the moment, I have on my schedule school classes and some after school sport, so my availability for this role is weekday afternoons, besides Wednesday and Thursday. I can work all day Saturday and Sunday. I’m willing to work up to 25 hours per week, and I’m happy to work both weekend days. I can be flexible to also come in on short notice, provided I am not in school or sport.”
17. Question: What are your salary expectations?
Tips: Do a little research on the industry and role you are applying for, and the wage policies for your local area according to your age. This gives you an idea of what to expect. The general rule of thumb here is to not demand higher and to not ask for less than the minimum wage.
Answer: “I understand that the minimum wage for my role is [insert wage], so my expectations would be in line with this, or if you have a different procedure here with pay and benefits, I’d be interested to discuss this with you.”
18. Question: Tell us about how you have overcome a challenge in the past?
Tips: This is a good chance to highlight some of your skills. Prepare to answer this question by reflecting on past situations, whether personal or in school or other work. Reference that and explain it in a way where you show that you know what skills got you through it (resilience, being flexible to solve the problem, etc).
Answer: “When I was working on an assignment at school that was a group-based activity, we were having trouble keeping up with communicating to everyone on all different message channels, and we often got confused and got lost in keeping on top of the work we were doing.
I suggested that we use the online communication platform ‘asana’ in order to allocate our tasks and have a better process throughout the assignment. It worked really well and I realized that I had a strong ability to organize and lead others through overcoming this challenge.”
We have a more detailed guide on dealing with stressful situations in interviews if you’re interested.
19. Question: Why should we hire you?
Tips: The interviewer is really asking here why it is worth putting the energy into training you, and how you might offer something a little different to other employees.
These interview tips for teens are for newbies in the job-interview-arena, so rather than talking about your experience (which is probably not so extensive), share how you are motivated to put in the effort to learn.
Answer: “I know about myself that I am really self-motivated. I’ve always sought to do the best that I could in school and in any role of responsibility, and I take time to learn and take feedback in the process to get better.
I believe I’ll be a valuable employee because of my willingness to learn and adapt to new processes and a new environment.”
Another possibility if to invest some time upfront getting a free online certification that will be relevant in your desired role. It shows initiative and assures the hiring manager you’re coming in with useful skills day one.
20. Question: Can you tell us about how you work within a team?
Tips: Speak about a specific example, either from a past job, or from schooling if that’s more relevant. Also, consider future scenarios that may come up in that particular role and discuss how you would work in that context.
Answer: “Last year I was working within a team at my past job at [insert job] and what I loved about it was how we could all support one another in making the operations run faster and more smoothly with everyone helping out and having their own roles. I think communication is key for team-based jobs, as everyone needs to be clear in every step as it happens”
Understand your strengths and weaknesses
The last of our interview tips for teens is a very common question that can either make you seem like a promising candidate, or a little bit arrogant if you word it the wrong way. Here are some great tips!
21. Be completely honest. Don’t try to make up fanciful facts about your strengths when you don’t have them. That can hinder you in the future if you are expected to do a job that requires a skill you don’t have.
22. Ask a family member or friend to share with you what they think your strengths and weaknesses are.
23. Don’t try to pretend that you have no weaknesses. The interviewer will see this is immaturity and this will be a red flag for your application.
24. When it comes to the weaknesses, express them first, then follow with your strength.
25. When you share your weakness, also share how you are working on it.
26. “I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so when I don’t get something straight away in the learning process, it can be a little frustrating. Though I’m told that one of my strengths has always been that I’m a self-motivated person, and that’s true, so my capacity to keep going and learning helps me to let go of being perfect straight away.”
27. “I love to multi-task, and do it well, but a weakness is trying to do it all myself. Thankfully, I know that a strength of mine is communication, so when I can communicate to the team that I need some help with the tasks, it feels much more smooth and effective.”