On the Spot
First Job Interview
BY MARY GAUKEL FORESTER
I hope that each and every reader, and family, is well and finding the positive opportunities and discoveries during Shelter In Place. The article for this month was to be about “Your First Job” with tips for parents and students about getting the first job. The month of May traditionally begins the hiring season for summer jobs, often the first job for a teen. As I write this article, the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and Whitings Foods, the largest Santa Cruz summer employers, are shut and no one knows when they will reopen and what that might look like. Many other first jobs in fast food and other food industry places are limited as businesses are closed or offer limited hours. Even with the unknown, preparing to get a first job, or any job, is time well spent. For this article, I am taking the perspective that most parents and youth arspending more time together and the focus will be on the opportunity to practice for interviewing.
A fun way to practice for the first interview is to role play which can be done with all ages, adjusting the questions. First jobs in Santa Cruz County might include:
Amusement Park Attendant
Camp Counselor or Counselor-in-Training
Hotel Desk Clerk Assistant
Movie Theatre Attendant Usher
Parking Lot Attendant
Fortunately preparing for an interview during Shelter In Place is easy with some internet research. The first step in preparing for an interview is to research the job or company. For a job at MacDonald’s it might mean researching jobs in the fast food industry, landyourlife.com/fast-food-jobs/, and McDonald’s, mcdonalds.com/, the corporation. It is important to know something about the job, if possible, the company or particular business. The next step is to research what questions might be asked in an interview, for fast food jobs, the following website offers standard questions and answers for fast food jobs: content.wisestep.com/restaurants-common-interview-questions-answers/. A third step is considering what to wear for an interview which varies for different jobs such as for McDonald’s which can be found at this website: work.chron.com/dress-interview-mcdonalds-15903.html.
Now begins the fun, role playing the interview, beginning with your child interviewing you and not the other way around. As a parent, you “dress for the interview”. Print out questions that your child can ask you so that you can model possible answers. Serious or humorous it is all good practice. Once you have had your interview, ask your child to choose their “interview clothes”, read over the interview questions, and ask them to show-up promptly for their “interview appointment” with you. You now play the role of employer and ask questions, allowing time for your child to think about and formulate the answers. At the “end” of the interview you can provide feedback and brainstorm improvements. Maybe your child needs to be more thoughtful and prepared to share their strengths, talents, and soft skills that will help them be successful in that job. They might need to talk slower or maybe they “nailed” the interview.
Practicing interviewing can be adjusted for any age group. My six year old grandson would like to be a firefighter. We talked about how you prepare for the job through education and training. I shared that before a person gets the job they have an interview and they are asked questions to see if they can do the job. We sat at the dining room table and I asked him very simple questions: Why do you want to be a firefighter? How do you put out a fire? What else do firefighters do besides putting out fires? He was serious about his answers and I intend to keep role playing with him so that he feels experienced for his first “real” interview.
Have fun and help your child be prepared!
Mary began teaching elementary school, had her own children, taught in middle school and high school, became a high school principal, finally a grandparent, and currently, the executive director for the non-profit organization, Your Future Is Our Business. Your Future Is Our Business partners with schools to link students to career explorations. Reach Mary at [email protected]