A few weeks ago we covered how to knock that summer job hunt out of the park. But once you land that coveted interview…then what?
Here we have some tips on how to prep for potential job interviews and then what to do once you get a job offer.
Practice being interviewed ahead of time
Over the past few weeks we’ve been talking about building a network to help you find that great summer position. But what happens if you actually land an interview for the role?
To prep for a job interview, we recommend writing out a bunch of questions on cue cards, and then take time to think about a solid answer to these questions, and write it on the back. Then, quiz yourself! Even if you’re not 100 percent on the nose when it comes to what sorts of questions your interviewer will ask, the answers you prepped will likely be useful for other questions.
Good answers to interview questions should be to the point and refer to personal work or volunteer experience. For example, if the question revolves around your leadership qualities, you can start if off with something like:
“When I was a camp counsellor, I really developed my leadership skills. I was responsible for taking the campers hiking, and in order to get the kids to listen to me, I would…. This taught me…”
According to Monster.com, the most common interview question include: (don’t forget to add specific questions based on the field you are applying to)
- What are your weaknesses? …
- Why should we hire you? …
- Why do you want to work here? …
- What are your goals? …
- When were you most satisfied in your job? …
- What can you do for us that other candidates can’t? …
- What are three positive things your last boss would say about you?
Research your interviewers
When you get that awesome email inviting you to a job interview, usually the experience is a rush of excitement, followed by some anxiety. We recommend taking a deep breath and patting yourself on the back for landing the interview, then REPLY to the email!
You don’t have to reply that very second, but employers do look for punctuality in your job candidate’s responses, so make it a priority to get back to them.
When you craft the email, on top of the general thank you’s/scheduling considerations, we recommend that you ask the following questions:
- What is the structure of the interview? (ie. test, panel interview, one-on-one, etc.)
- Who will be interviewing you?
- Is there anything they would like you to do to prepare
These questions will give you an idea of what kind of preparation you should do before the interview. If they tell you who will be conducting the interview ahead of time, it’s a good idea to look into their position and craft some questions that relate to their work to ask at the end of the interview. This is an opportunity to really demonstrate that you are interested in the company’s work and have a deeper understanding of what their field.
Navigate the DREADED salary question
Likely, if you’re starting a first job or a part time job there won’t be much opportunity to talk about your salary. However, if it does come up, or later on in your career, here are some tips to approach the dreaded salary question.
- First of all, don’t feel pressured to bring this conversation up in the first interview. Instead, for the first time you meet your potential employers focus on building that connection and highlighting how great you are for this position. Salary talks can come later.
- If you, like many people, have been taught that it’s rude to talk about money, first practice having this conversation with a close friend or maybe even a mentor.
- There’s no shame in saying what you think you’re worth! Maintain eye contact, don’t drop your voice, and do your best to steady your nerves while having this conversation.
- Come armed with research. Look into how much others are making with the same position and amount of experience as you. Put together a salary range that you think is fair and in line with what others are making.
- If you want to aim for the high end of the salary range you’ve put together, or want to increase what you’ve been offered, have a few reasons why. Maybe it’s because of a particular certification you have that adds to your abilities. Maybe it’s because you have a lot of experience outside of work/school that you will believe will add value to your position. A friend or mentor can help you figure these points out.
This is a difficult conversation to have, but the more often you have these conversations the better you’ll get at them. Good luck – we’re rooting for you!
Read the contract!
So you’ve worked really hard to put your skills together, you’ve networked, you’ve practiced your interviewing skills and you’ve handled the stressful salary conversation. Now your new employer sends a quick document over for you to sign and you’re off to the races!
But before you start picking out a plant to keep you company on your desk, make sure you do one critical thing and READ THE CONTRACT.
Knowing all of the expectations of your job is critical to you performing well and avoiding any headache later on down the road. Your contract should do a pretty good job of explaining the higher-level expectations of your employeeship while at the company.
When you first get sent the contract, let your hiring manager know you’ve got it and thank them for sending it over to you, then let them know you’ll need a day or two to read the contract and get back to them.
We recommend you read the contract immediately. Write down all the things you don’t understand, or things that you find concerning. Then take a break. Sometimes we need a few moments to really process what we’re agreeing to, or to put into words why something is bothering us. Really think about how this contract could impact you. For example, if you’re signing a non compete, will this interfere with your ability to get a summer job next year?
If later on in the day or the next morning you still feel like there’s a clause in the contract that you find concerning, simply reach out to your hiring manager to ask them about it. Why did they include this expectation in your job? If you find it concerning, let them know why. There’s no need to be defensive here just yet – think of it as you’re working with your boss to find a solution that works for both of you.