8 Interview Questions for Teens With Examples and Tips

Teens are an incredibly important part of the American workforce. You’re often the ones keeping restaurants, theme parks, and grocery store checkout lines afloat. You’re willing to do jobs some older workers aren’t. And you’re driven to save up for college or even just some weekend spending money.

As of July 2021, 36.1% of young people ages 16 to 19 had a job, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics—which means that if you’re one of the many teens looking for summer, part-time, and college campus jobs, you’ll need to stand out against the competition to get hired. And an interview is your best chance to impress a hiring manager. From clothes to resumes, body language to etiquette, preparing well for an interview can make all the difference when you’re trying to land an enjoyable, well-paying job.

Putting in some work ahead of time on a company’s history, values, and mission can make or break an interview. You can use this knowledge throughout the conversation to demonstrate that not only do you do your homework, but you are also a team player with the greater company purpose at heart.

This prep work also gives you the opportunity to fully consider the position, says Amy Marschall, a psychologist and the author of a mental health blog who works often with teens seeking jobs. “It looks good if you come in knowing things about the position as well as the company, and this helps you know if it’s a job you really want,” she says.

To do your research, Google the company and read multiple pages on their site (e.g., the “About” page or mission statement along with blog posts that demonstrate their values), use social media to see how current or past employees talk about the company, check out their Muse profile (if they have one) to get a behind-the-scenes look at company culture, and spend time at the actual business (such as a restaurant or grocery store) to see how it works.

You can also search for any news about the company to make sure you are up-to-date on any recent events, good or bad. For example, if the restaurant chain you’re hoping to work for just announced a brand new seasonal menu, you might want to read a bit about it and mention it in your interview.

Use this list of common interview questions with your teen.
  • Can you tell me a little about yourself?
  • Why do you want this position?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What are you learning in your classes that will help you succeed in this position?
  • What are your strengths?

Job Interview Tips for Teens

Common Teen Interview Questions

Here are 10 of the most commonly-asked questions that teens encounter during job interviews, along with samples of good answers. Do be sure to tailor your responses to fit your personal circumstances.

3. Prepare for Common, Specific, and Quirky Interview Questions

The interview questions you get will vary based on the field and other factors, but your future boss is looking to ensure you are responsible and respectful, and that you’re able to fulfill each of the job requirements. So as you answer each question, try to convey those abilities and values. Here are a few questions you may be asked—and some advice for how to answer them.

This seems like some informal small talk. But it’s actually your opportunity for a grand opening, where you can humbly brag about everything you want them to know. “This question will likely come up at the beginning of your interview and can be thought of like the trailer for a movie,” Elliott says. “Keep your response to 60 to 90 seconds in length. Focus on your relevant experience, transferable skills, and the reason you want to work for this specific company.”

Your answer could include:

  • Any prior work history
  • Your school interests, successes, and any awards or honors you may have received
  • Leadership roles you have at school or on a sports team or club
  • Personal interests and passions, where appropriate
  • Your projected career path and longer-term goals (the next five years)
  • Qualities you have that you consider important and that you think would help you in this job
  • Your interest and enthusiasm in this job and organization
  • This question might take the most practice to ensure you integrate this info in a natural but confident way.

    How do you imagine a typical day in work?

    The key is to show them that you do not expect an easy ride, that you want to work hard. I observe many teen employees–waitresses and shop assistants, who spend most of their days texting on What’s up or FaceBook, instead of actively attending the customers. Unless I ask them for something, they won’t move their eyes from the screen of their smart phone, and their butt from the chair.

    Such people are a waste of money, and they will soon be fired (unless the employer have no other option, since nobody else applies for the job, and they have to keep them onboard).

    Anyway, you should show a completely different attitude to work. Do you apply for a job in a fashion store? Say that you imagine walking in the hall, asking customers whether they need help, giving them advice, and so on.

    Applying for a job of a nanny? Say that you imagine playing with the child, giving him or her all your attention, creating a meaningful program for the child from morning to evening. I hope you got the point, and will be able to come up with a great answer to this question…

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