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Preparing for interviews

Your child has a job interview – what can parents do to help?

First up, congratulations if your child has secured a job interview! Presumably they’ve completed a professional-looking resume, and cover letter to reach this next level in the job application process. Now they are nervously anticipating what comes next and are asking some questions about what to expect and how to prepare.

Here are our top five tips on supporting your child at this important time:

  1. Make sure they have appropriate clean, pressed clothing to wear on the day –Skillsroad employers tell us that many candidates turn up for interviews looking unkempt – first impressions really do count!
  2. Make sure they have taken care of their personal hygiene –  discourage the use of strong perfumes as some people find certain scents offensive.
  3. Make sure they have organised transport that will ensure their early arrival for the interview – this means knowing the available transport routes that will ensure they arrive 15 minutes early so that they are unflustered.
  4. Make sure they have two copies of documents required by the employer, such as their resume, police checks, drivers licence and so forth, preferably in a protective cover to keep them clean and tidy. One copy to hand to the employer and the other that they can refer to if necessary.
  5. Make sure they rehearse expected interview questions so that they are ready to give their best responses – offer to help them practise with you in a role play if they are willing.

Looking for more ideas about how to dress appropriately and affordably? Check out our video featuring Fashion Hound, Faye De Lanty, and Rouge Homme blogger, Arrnott Olssen, for a demo on how to source key fashion pieces for work on a tight budget.

  • Be on time: Arrive 15 minutes early to make a great first impression and allow extra travel time in case of traffic or public transport delays. It is also a good idea to travel the route a few days before the interview, just so that you know exactly where to go.
  • Turn off your mobile phone: Or turn it to silent so that it doesn't ring mid-interview.
  • Establish a rapport: This means smile and be friendly. Sit up straight, lean forward slightly and always maintain good eye contact with the interviewer or panel.
  • Ask questions: Prepare your questions in advance, such as what hours will be required? What are they looking for in the successful candidate? What training and induction will be given? What are the company's plans for the future? Write them down as you will likely forget when you get into the interview.
  • Don't discuss wages: Generally this would be discussed at a second interview.  Discussion of wages in the first interview can be perceived as inappropriate.
  • Be a good listener: Listen to what the employer tells you about the organisation and the position - generally they will ask you questions based on this information.
  • Be enthusiastic and confident: Sell yourself! Let the employer know you want the job, but never interrupt and answer only what is asked.
  • First impressions count: Generally most employers will come back to you within 1-2 weeks, if you haven't heard contact the employer to gain feedback.
  • Be gracious: At the end of the interview smile and thank all the people involved for their time.

Take a look at our NAIL Vs. FAIL interview for some top tips!

Nail your interview!


Practice the answers to questions the employer may ask

Here are some typical questions that may be asked of you in an interview:

  • What parts of this job interest you the most?
  • What do you consider your special skills and abilities are?
  • What is your experience in this type of work?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Are your active in any clubs or community organisations?
  • What are you leisure activities/hobbies/interests?
  • Why do you think you would be suitable as an employee?
  • What are your strengths/ weaknesses?
  • As an employee, what would you have to offer us?
  • Which of your school subjects interested you most?
  • How would you manage study and work while undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship?
  • What do you know about this industry?
  • What are your long-term career plans?
  • How do you feel about working as part of a team?
  • Would you be prepared to work overtime or on weekends if required?

Finally, remember to offer your child words of support and encouragement.  Remind them that they’ve done well to reach this stage and that you are proud of this achievement!

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