Besides earning money, an after school job or summertime internship can provide an incredible foundation for learning workplace skills and the value of money. Entering the workforce enables teenagers to gain real-world experiences and develop essential workplace skills, such as teamwork, time management, and problem-solving that will serve them for years to come. Not to mention it will look great on their resume and impress future employers.
However, first your teen needs to secure the job. Interview scenarios are nerve-wracking for anyone at any stage in their life, but for teenagers, who may be experiencing it for the first time, the nerves are even greater. So, preparation is key.
Know the Role & the Company Don’t just read the job title and assume you know what skills and experience the employer is looking for. Read and re-read the job description and understand each component that the role requires. This is vital in helping you prepare valuable answers to interview questions. Researching the company you're interviewing with is always a must-do. Referring to the company's past and future endeavours during an interview demonstrates your interest and enthusiasm for the job.
Establish Your Skills & Qualifications Consider your skills, qualifications and relevant experience and understand how they relate to the job requirements. Making a list of your strengths can help you explain confidently why you’re the right person for the job. Remember, you don't need to have been employed to have experience leading a team or dealing with a stressful situation. Use real-life experiences to answer questions when you lack work experience.
Be Armed with Evidence Depending on what you’re applying for, it may be appropriate to bring references, a portfolio or even a copy of your resume and cover letter. The interviewer may not have it to hand on the day and will appreciate your preparedness. Leaving the interviewer with materials that outline your skills and successes will help them remember you and your suitability for the role.
Common Interview Questions
- Why are you interested in this position?
- Why are you the best person for this job?
- What are your greatest strengths?
- What is your biggest weakness?
- What are your biggest accomplishments?
- Tell me about a situation where you used your initiative.
- Tell me about a time you overcame a challenge.
Prepare for Common Questions Throughout the interview, the employer will ask a variety of questions. These will be behaviour, communication, opinion and performance-based. When preparing your answers, use the "STAR" method: outline the situation, task, action and result. Not only does this give your answers structure, it also demonstrates your experience, skills and personality simultaneously. See below a list of common interview questions you can use to prepare.
Ask Your Own Questions Two can play at that game! At the end of an interview, employers will ask if you have any questions for them. Whether you want to know more about what an average day looks like in the role or the next steps of the interview process, asking questions demonstrates enthusiasm and develops a further understanding of the job.
Dress to Impress Picking the perfect outfit gives the best possible first impression to your potential employer. If you want to come across as smart and professional, dressing as such can help you on your way there. Wearing a blouse, skirt, suit trousers, shirt, smart dress or blazer can also make you feel ready for the interview by getting you in the right frame of mind. Ensuring your outfit is neat, tidy and crease-free also demonstrates how important the job is to you.
Work Out the Logistics Don't underestimate the importance of being on time for your interview. Ensure you have everything scheduled in order to arrive 10-15 minutes before the interview. Be mindful of traffic, parking and public transport delays. All of this demonstrates your punctuality and time management.
Follow Up with a Thank You After leaving the interview, follow up with an email thanking the employer for taking the time to interview you. As with all written communication between yourself and the interviewer, this email should be error-free. You could also include a short and snappy sentence to summarise why you think you should be chosen for the role.
Parkway Academy offers workshops on resume building, entering the workforce, interview prep and college prep that would be beneficial to teenagers and young adults. See page 72 for more information.
Request Feedback If you are unlucky in getting the role, don't end your relationship with the company abruptly or sourly. Instead, continue to thank them for their consideration and request they give you constructive feedback on your interview. This can help enormously going forward and may make the difference in securing the next job you apply for.
What's important to remember is that an interview is simply a conversation in which you're able to show off all your professional qualities. Remember to be polite, use the right language and take your time to think about the questions before giving your answer. Refrain from heaping pressure on your shoulders, and remember that preparation and confidence will take you a long way. You've got this!
There are plenty of internships available to Caymanian students across several industries, including accountancy, law, conservation, business and creative. Competition for placement is steep, so make sure to get your application in before the deadline. Visit the Internships page for the most comprehensive list of internships offered across the Cayman Islands. Find application forms, deadline dates, contact details and more all in one helpful place. What's more, many of the internships advertised on Cayman Parent are also paid!