Follow the conversation between a mother and daughter as they discuss interviewing tips in this episode of the Personal Finance 101 Chats.
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Anna: Mom, I got a job interview! My first ever!
Mom: Great! Where? When?
Anna: Mike’s Foods. Tues. 3:45.
Anna: Thanks! Will you help me prep? I’m nervous already! What do I need to know about interviewing?
Mom: Of course I will, what’s the job?
Anna: Customer service assistant.
Mom: OK, think about the skills you want to highlight during the interview.
Anna: Like the stuff on my résumé?
Mom: Yes, but give more details than on your résumé! Tell how you’ve used those skills.
Anna: Like…volunteering has helped me be a good communicator?
Mom: Yes! Exactly! Think of another one.
Anna: OK. How about how working the concession stand at school helped me learn to give back correct change and handle money?
Mom: Right! You’ve got it. Write down the skills and experiences you want to share, and take those notes to the interview.
Anna: Will do!
Mom: And remember…appearance is important. Brush your teeth, brush your hair, wear clean clothes, etc.
Anna: MOM! Jk...
Mom: I know. I’m just being a mom! But you’d be surprised how some people show up for interviews! Also, no strong smelling perfume, chewing gum, or eating breath mints.
Anna: Right. But what to wear?
Mom: Dress in clothes you think the job requires.
Anna: Hmm and that is...?
Mom: Well, think about it. Grocery store employees don’t usually wear business suits… or ripped jeans either. So for this job, nothing too dressy or casual. And you definitely want to dress modestly.
Anna: Makes sense. Should I get there early or right on time?
Mom: 10 minutes early, but be ready the minute you get there. They might be ahead of schedule and call you in right away.
Anna: Is 10 minutes early enough?
Mom: Yes! If you show up “on time” you look late. Too early makes you look too eager. That’s how it is.
Anna: Didn’t think of that! Thanks!
Mom: You’re welcome. Making a great first impression is crucial to getting a job.
Anna: Ok, first impression tips... GO!
Mom: Greet the reception staff and introduce yourself. Explain why you are there.
Anna: Anything else?
Anna: That should be easy…if I’m not too nervous.
Mom: You’ll do fine! Just try to relax, don’t fidget, speak clearly, and remember to smile. Smiling is important even if you are nervous.
Anna: What should I do when I meet the interviewer?
Mom: Again, make a good first impression. Shake hands firmly, but don’t use your super woman, athlete strength.
Anna: No hand crushing. What else?
Mom: Wait to be seated until the interviewer offers you a seat and then get ready for questions.
Anna: Questions? I’m nervous already.
Mom: Keep in mind, the interviewer may also be nervous!
Mom: Sure. They want to make a good impression and hire the best person.
Anna: Then I just need them to believe I’m the one!
Mom: That’s right! Be confident! When you answer questions maintain eye contact, but don’t stare.
Anna: Got it!
Mom: Be positive about how you can help their business.
Anna: Count on it!
Mom: And be sure to have a few questions ready for the interviewer. Write them down before you get there.
Anna: Me ask questions???
Mom: Yes. You are also interviewing their company to see if you want to work there. The interviewer will most likely ask if you have any questions.
Anna: What kind of questions should I ask?
Mom: You could ask about the hours, scheduling, and specific duties are for the job.
Anna: OK, I’ve got one! I can ask how much the job pays.
Mom: Well…don’t ask about that unless the interviewer brings it up.
Anna: Seriously? Why not?
Mom: Because they haven’t offered you a job. Let them open the discussion about pay. You CAN ask why the position is open, though.
Anna: Why would I ask that?
Mom: It might give you insight into why the person left. Perhaps they got a better job at the store. If the business is growing there may be opportunities to advance in the future.
Anna: Ok. So I need to pay attention too!
Mom: Yes, and if the job sounds like one you want, tell the interviewer you’d like to work for them.
Anna: Ok, but don’t gush, right?
Mom: Right! When the interview is over, say thank you, shake hands, and ask when you will hear back about the job.
Anna: I will! That is unless they offer me the job on the spot.
Mom: Well, I hope so. And it sounds like you are getting your confidence back!
Anna: Yes, you’ve helped a lot!
Mom: Glad to! Here’s one last tip for during your interview.
Anna: Cool, what is it?
Mom: Be honest about your schedule, availability, the number of hours you can work, the type of work you can do, and so on. It’s best for everyone if you discuss this sooner rather than later.
Anna: Good point. I want to work but I want to stay involved in school activities!
Mom: Yes, and school still comes first.
Anna: It will Mom!
Mom: One more thing. After the interview, send a simple card, thanking the interviewer for his or her time.
Anna: Even though they may not hire me?
Mom: Yes. If the person they hire doesn’t work out, they might call and offer YOU the job, rather than interviewing someone else. The thank you card will help them remember you.
Anna: Thank you card. Smart. And thank you Mom.
Mom: You’re welcome. Just doing my job. Good luck!
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