I have worked in almost every industry imaginable, from food to retail to tourism, reception, and adventure guiding. Basically, every job that hires young high school/students without degrees. With that I have gone through several different bosses, management styles, and of course, interviews. As a college student who has juggled a few jobs with a full course load and has been through a few nerve-wracking hot seat questions, here are my dos and don’t when trying to secure a little extra cash.
- First things first, research where you are applying. A basic rule of thumb is to know your audience. If you are applying to a coffee shop make sure you know what your favorite drink is, or if you are applying to a consignment boutique make sure you have a few designers in mind. Interviewers want employees who care about what they are doing, and have background knowledge on the company’s forte. If it is a service industry job, they will often ask if you have been a customer there yourself, and if so what was your experience and favorite good/service they provided. This shows that you have an interest in them and pay attention to detail.
- Personality. Especially if it is customer service! Even if you are introverted socially, you will have to turn it on for customers. Employers love friendly, outgoing, and flexible people. If you adjust and adapt quickly to circumstances, mention it! That is vital in today’s working environment.
- Be professional. Even if you are applying for a job at a fast food drive through, employers will notice if you are speaking colloquially. Try to refrain from using “like” or terms that you may use all the time with your friends, but they might not understand. I know it’s hard to get out of that mindset, especially in college when you’re only surrounded by your age group most of the time, but speaking like an adult gains you major points.
- Dress for success! This goes along with research and being professional. By identifying your audience of the job you are applying for, dress accordingly and usually on the more professional side. If it is a boutique-y/fancier store, maybe wear a dress or skirt. If it is a coffee shop or somewhere with a kitchen, wear pants and a simple top. Dresses are not good for a kitchen or anything that requires manual labor, but they are good for looking cute and presentable to customers that you may be talking to. How you dress is one of an interviewer’s first impressions of you, so it is vital to start out on the right foot.
- Lastly, remember to let the interviewer know how appreciative you are of their time and shake their hand (unless they decline because of COVID). Remind them that you are grateful for the opportunity and that you look forward to the possibility of working with them. This gives off confidence in a way that looks more thankful than cocky.
You got it!! Get that bag!