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What parents can do to get their child ready for job interviews

Looking for a jobFirst of all, to get to interview stage your child needs a resume. You might be thinking; what does he/she put on a resume with no work experience?

Good question. It’s mostly about potential, examples of character and life experience to date. And there are many ways to illustrate that on a resume. If you were the employer, what would you like to see on that document? Think about their achievements to date; at school, at Uni, in sport, arts (performances/ showing discipline in required training) or in helping out in the community/ fundraising.

Lets assume the resume does the job and your child makes it through to the phone interview stage. Often you don’t get notified you have made it through to the phone interview stage, assume that an employer could call at any time.  So when your son or daughter submits their resume, they must start thinking about potential phone interview answers. Do a practice interview with your child.  Understand what sort of questions to expect. You can safely assume you will be asked “Tell us about yourself?” and “Why do you want to work for us?”. Google is always a good research tool to find more potential questions and many interview coaches will give you a heads up for free, don’t be afraid to ask.

Next step, they may face a group interview. Don’t underestimate this stage either. Some employers interview year 10 and 11 kids in groups of 10 and ask left-of-centre questions such as: “What is your favourite superhero and why?” (Tip: pick a superhero that is helpful and smart!)

How do you help your child to stand out from 10 of their peers and give smart and original answers? These group interviews are difficult as an adult, let alone a teenager.

One very important skill, that can be learnt and will help your child get through is to listen very closely and intently to each question, while thinking about what the employer is looking for. Employers want smart, energetic, enthusiastic, honest and motivated employees in their store. Not some kid that “just turns up.”

If you are able to demonstrate that you are a great listener and you are therefor able to give answers in the correct context, you show the employer that you can be trained/ are able to follow instructions. Employers understand that a year 10 or 11 kid won’t have a lot of work experience, so what they are looking for is someone that will fit into their team and will pick up new skills easily.

Another very important thing to teach your kids is that they can’t be too picky when they go for their first job. Accept a job that comes your way, get at least 6 months experience under your belt and then you can start building on that.

And lastly a great analogy that a friend shared: teach your kids to remember COTFEE (not coffee, COTFEE!)

Stands for:

  • Communication
  • Organised
  • Teamwork
  • Flexible
  • Enthusiastic (motivated)
  • Energetic

Teach them to use this when they have to answer the tricky questions such as “Why should we hire you?” Answer: I am a great communicator, very organised, I love working in a team…. you get the point. Just as important is proof.  The employer won’t take your word for it so they love actual examples of your experience. Build in an example about what you have done to prove that you are organised or a team player.

If you have a child preparing for an important job interview, don’t hesitate to call or email us to discuss further how to set them up for success.

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