It’s just a chance for the company to get a sense of who you are and whether you’re a good fit for their school leaver programme. It’s also your chance to interview the company and find out whether you’d like to work for them.
The more relaxed you are at the interview, the better.
Of course, you’ll want to have a few tricks up your sleeve before going to the interview. Footballers don’t rock up to an important match without putting in lots of effort on the training ground or without their boots and shin pads.
Likewise, if you want to impress at an interview, you shouldn’t turn up without doing some preparation or without your kit (a.k.a. your interview attire).
Before the interview
We are firm believers in preparation. If you put a little bit of effort into researching the company and the role, and have a go at some practice interview questions, it’ll really pay off at the interview.
In fact, we believe in interview preparation so much, that we’ve got a whole separate article dedicated to it. Head over to this article for some choice tips on how to prepare for a school leaver interview.
During the interview
Ok, back to business. There are a few interview techniques that you can master to help you out during the interview. One of the big things they’ll be looking for in their ideal candidate is good communication skills.
It’s not just about what you say during the interview, but also how you say it. Speaking clearly and trying not to rush your words is super important. Even if you think it sounds a bit stupid slowing down your speech, it really can make a big difference.
As your gran might say, “Speak up, dear”. Also, try to make eye contact with the interviewer when you speak to them. If you find this a bit awkward, then concentrate on the space between their eyes just above their eyebrows.
At the risk of sounding even more grannyish, sit up straight during the interview. You don’t need to sit ramrod straight, but do pay attention to your posture. Uncross your arms, lift up that chin and put those shoulders back.
If you’re slouching or hunched over, it’ll just make you seem like a stereotypical teenager, instead of a young professional. You want to seem eager, enthusiastic and alert, not moody, insecure or just plain bored.
Of course, interviews are all about the questions. Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer to clarify a question. You won't be able to go into the interview knowing exactly what questions are coming your way, but there are some general questions you can expect to be asked.
You might want to prepare a list of questions to ask them at the end of the interview. These should usually be about the company and the opportunity, especially things that you haven’t been able to find out via their website.
You can also ask questions during the interview too, as well as at the end.
This makes it seem like you are interviewing their company too and repositions the interview as a kind of formal conversation. It’s all about showing that you are interested and enthusiastic about the role and company, but also that you have a sense of your own self-worth.
After the interview
It’s good manners (and certainly doesn’t hurt) to send a little thank you note after the interview to the interviewer, thanking them for the interview and reiterating your interest in the school leaver position.
If you don’t get the job, try and get some feedback from the interviewer as to why you weren’t right for the role and how you can improve.
Above all, don’t get yourself too worked up about the interview. The employer won’t be expecting a super experienced, incredibly mature person. What they will be looking for is great potential, confidence and a willingness to learn.
So don’t be afraid to be yourself and let your personality shine through. And don’t forget to smile!