Tips to have the perfect job interview

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By Lorin Alukonis

Student to teacher/ Junior Jonathan Pantelas-Hemmers is teaching one of his many clients the basic warm ups for the piano. He began tutoring only a few years ago and had already secured a large clientele of children who seeked to learn how to play. Photo by Jonathan Pantelas-Hemmers.

In Nevada, citizens of 16 years of age and older are permitted into a working environment. This means many people will be hired for their first job while still in high school, and it is likely they’ll lack any previous experience. Follow these tips on how to give the best first impression during a job interview and secure the desired position.

Typically for new workers, teenagers conduct private lessons or activities that only involve themselves and their clients, also known as self-employed. An example is coaching private practices with younger players in baseball to help improve their skills. When pursuing this option, find something one is talented or extremely experienced in where they can teach others efficiently. Offer credentials or evidence that one is qualified for this position to convince clients they are the best option. Doing so can help them believe that this tutor is worth their money and time, and the client can actually gain something out of this. Using coaching or tutoring for a first job gives work experience that can help when actually deciding to pursue a job with a formal company. 

“It was definitely hard at first when trying to find kids who wanted to take my piano lessons,” junior Jonathan Pantelas-Hemmers said. “Over time, I found connections through my family and friends who were interested and willing to let me teach them. I was recommended to their friends and parents through my earliest students, and now I am teaching almost ten kids. I remember being impatient because I thought my lessons weren’t going to go anywhere. Honestly, you just have to wait until the opportunity comes to you and everything will play out.”  

At this age, almost every high schooler has experienced babysitting of some sort, whether it was a sibling or neighbor. When aspiring to make a great first impression to parents, remember they want someone who can take care of their child, so be the perfect caretaker. Talk in a calm, friendly voice, and show is it simple to be around children and make sure they are safe. Maybe bring up school accomplishments to ensure you are responsible and can achieve certain tasks, but don’t talk too formally because acting artificially will not help in the long run. Ask questions about the child such as food allergies, favorite snacks, favorite games, nap times, etc. to show that there is concern about the kid’s needs and to be prepared for anything. Get to know the parents as well– this includes knowing their house rules, which rooms you are permitted into, and others so a relationship of trust can be built.

“I’ve been babysitting for a few years, and it wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be,” sophomore Sophia Howard said. “When it comes down to it, it’s pretty simple. You just have to always make sure whoever you are watching remains safe. Their parents are basically family friends at this point since I see them so many times during the week that all our conversations come naturally. The skills I got from babysitting transferred over to when I’m volunteering at the nursing home, so it’s the same thing just with older people. For sure it helped me communicate with people who are different ages than me, so it benefited me as a person.”

When looking to be hired at a company, such as fast food, grocery store, etc, the interviewing process isn’t too different from one of babysitting or private lessons. The interviewer will most likely be the boss or someone from management to see if one would be a good candidate working with them. Remember, they want someone who will work for them, not slack off and put no effort into their workplace. Being kind and respectful will not only improve the chances of being hired, but also the chance of being promoted, given a raise or even tipped by customers. Be the best version of yourself. Direct the conversation both ways so the questions are not only being answered by the new hire, but also the person interviewer. Learn about the company and their policies, and adapt to what they expect.

“Realistically, to get a job all you have to do is be a good person,” senior Chase Samuels said. “As a kid, it’s pretty simple, be kind to everyone you encounter, and you will be seen as a good person.”

To earn a position for a job, the key isn’t always age or past experience, but a compassionate and positive personality is needed to seal the deal. Be confident and ask questions to improve the likelihood of winning over management. Don’t get discouraged if your application is declined because there is always another spot ready for the taking.

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Lorin Alukonis, junior, is excited for her first year as the features editor on “The Roar” news staff. She enjoys playing club and high school volleyball in her free time as well as late night drives with her friends. Her favorite types of music to listen to are indie pop and throw-back 2000s songs; she also loves meeting new people and becoming friends with everyone. One of her life goals is to explore Europe and learn about the fascinating history and culture.