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How To "REALLY" Help Your Child Prepare For A Job Interview

Updated on January 28, 2010

Don't Help Your Child The Way Most Of Us Do

Whether your child is a teenager or an adult, don't waste your time telling him/her how to complete an application, what to include in a resume, or how to conduct himself/herself at an interview. Chances are your child has heard much of that before and certainly, given the computer skills of the average young person in our society today, he/she can make very effective use of the Internet to get such information. Your time is much better spent reviewing your child's job application and resume and conducting mock interviews.

How To Help With The Job Application

Some time ago, my 25 year old son decided to return home, to re-enroll in college, and to look for a for a part-time job. Since I wanted to do everything I could to assist him, we spoke at length on numerous occasions about all aspects of the job search. Of course, this included ideas about how to complete job applications. After months of his not getting any responses to his applications, I decided to look at his completed applications prior to his submitting them and I discovered that the manner in which he had answered questions was likely the primary reason for his not being able to secure even a single interview. I quickly realized that I had made a classic error. I had failed to inspect, that which I had expected. While I am obviously recommending that you scrutinize your child's job applications, in the case of an adult child, one needs to find a diplomatic way of doing so without encroaching on his/her autonomy.

Now, are you ready to learn how to inspect your child's job application? Good! The answer is simple. Don't spend even one minute telling your child what he/she did wrong or what he/she needs to do to improve his/her application. Instead, ask questions. Remember, your objective is to teach your child to think, and in this case, to think like an employer who is reviewing a job application. In order to do so, your questions must focus on the potential employer's anticipated reaction to each response included in the application. For example, you might ask: "What message do you think the employer will get when he/she sees that disagreement with a co-worker was your reason for leaving your last job?" Your child will learn so much more from addressing your question than he/she would from changing his/her answer to the one you suggested. Keep in mind that, for every poor response your child may have included in his/her application, there is an effective question to help him/her realize why it's poor and an effective question to elicit a better response.

Taking an inquiry approach will definitely result in a better application. However, more importantly, it will increase your child's knowledge of the skills necessary to be successful in his/her job search and it will boost your child's self-image since it was he/she, rather than you, who made the changes to the job application.

How To Help With The Resume

Using the Internet, your child should have no difficulty finding lots of sample resumes and all of the writing tips he/she needs to create an effective resume. Therefore, once again, your time is best spent reviewing the resume and taking the inquiry approach previously described.

Beyond this, is there anything else you can do? Yes! Even professional writers have editors. Speak to someone you know who does hiring as part of his/her job and ask that person to review your child's resume with a critical eye. FREE professional advice of this kind is relatively easy to come by and your child will likely appreciate your efforts.

How To Help With The Interview

Researching job descriptions, sample interview questions, and answer tips is your child's job and an imperative prerequisite for an interview. However, your time is best spent by helping your child to experience one or more mock interviews.

You have three choices in this regard. You may pay for the services of a for-profit professional in the field, take advantage of similar services offered by a college or university which is sometimes without cost, or do it yourself.

Should you decide to conduct a mock interview for your child, you may choose to video or tape record it. This will permit you to conduct an in-depth review and provide constructive feedback at the conclusion of the interview or simply provide your child with the means by which to conduct a self-review. It should be noted that a videotaped mock interview has advantages over the audio-taped interview in that it allows one to focus on aspects of the interviewee's non-verbal performance such as smile, enthusiasm, energy level, personality, confidence, attire, posture, and hand gestures.

Further, you should consider using a rubric or scoring tool to help in the evaluation process. These are easily found on the Internet.


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