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Preparing for a Job Interview via Work Readiness

Updated on October 10, 2012

Be Equipped For the Future!

(Photos public domain)
(Photos public domain)

If You Are Ready to Work, It Will Show In Your Interview.

One of the primary ways to prepare for any employment interview is to Be Ready To Work.

American middle and high school administrations have begun instituting Work Readiness programs in their curricula since the 1990s or before, with the advent of US Welfare Reform. The program also provides value skills that youth need for being successful as part of a larger society, contributing vital services and receiving the job satisfaction and pay that they deserve.

It is not a perfect system, but it works for some. It lives in other versions in Canada and the UK as well, and likely many other nations.

For 15 years, I wrote curricula, lesson plans, manuals, and lessons for these types of programs and saw substantial success when the materials were delivered effectively to students, ages 13 - 22 and Adult Students of any age. As a fun and effective difference, my program included a RESTAURANT SIMULATION in which we set up a large classroom with appliances and actually ran a restaurant that day for lunch. We issued play money to the workers in the other offices in our building and they had a good time and an excellent lunch. We included all aspects of a restaurant opening - health department inspections, interviewing, hiring, training, menu production, ordering, inventories, recipes, cooking, everything. We even had real problems - one of the opening crew people did not show up, just as in real life and we had to adjust.

No other program in the region had anything like it and it worked well, resulting in a greater number of GED certificates and college entrances than other programs. Over 85% of the participants went on to gainful employment on a long-term basis as well.

The Work Readiness program was also initiated in hopes of training students - from Kindergarten onward - that (almost) everyone must work and not rely on public assistance. This program targets 11 total categories of "readiness" and leads to a National Work Readiness Credential through the Federal program entitled Equipped For the Future or EFF. The categories are:

Transferable Skills - Sci Fi to Science Fact

Star Trek (R) and the Shuttle Enterprise (public domain).
Star Trek (R) and the Shuttle Enterprise (public domain).

Equipped for the Future

  • Integrity

Honesty is important. At the same time, you do not need to tell everyone everything you know. Be forthright but not gullible. Do your best work -- Not doing your best is a form of dishonesty.

Do not give out information that is to be held in confidence, including secure information about your company's products and services and, especially, any information about any employee whatsoever.

  • Know How to Learn

Do not attempt to only memorize things and think that this is enough; you must know how things work together and must be able to see Cause and Effect. You must learn where to look things up and how long that is likely to take. Next, you must learn who is likely to possess information from EXPERIENCE that no book contains and to go to that person and ask for help in the proper etiquette.

Read everythingyou can about your company, including trade journals and professional publications. Keep good communications with supervisors, because you may need their help. Do not be afraid to ask for it.

Know what a teamis: 1) vertical, 2) horizontal and which one yours actually is. Vertical teams take order from the top down, horizontal teams work together and share ideas and outcomes. Both are teams.

  • Responsibility

Be on time, do not leave early, complete your projects (on time or ahead of schedule and under budget, if at all possible), do not use company resources for your own gain, and set an example that will be noticed and earn you raises and promotions. Streamline work processes and save the company money that they can pay you in a raise.

Take initiative and come up with new ideas and learn what is the appropriate time to approach your boss with them. Look and sound like you want to work - have energy and focus.

  • Work With Others

Your First Highest Priorityis to serve your company and your clients, patients, or customers. Only then will you earn raises and promotions and retain the privilege of keeping your job. it is not a right - you must earn it.

You also need to work among diverse peoples of all kinds and know how to work through conflicts productively.

  • Self Management

Stay busy but don't string out your work to last longer than needed. Ask for more work or take the down time to read about your work, produces, and services, the industry in general, or read related material on the Internet. Take a free online job related course at your own pace.

Avoid absences and maintain appropriate appearance and personal presentation.

Avoid office politics and gossip.

Monitor and Correct Your Own Performance and Work

This is what major employers call CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT. They all want it. If you don't have it, you may not qualify for a raise.

Document and learn from advice given. Also learn how to improve on your own and document this. Keep all documentation in your Work Portfolio to use at your Employee Evaluations and Reviews. Find out about Ongoing Professional Development. If your company does not have one, set one up for yourself.

  • Allocate Resources

Organize your space and your work methods on the job. Maximize your production and best use of time for maximal results. Do skimp, either. Order supplies that you need, but not too many extra or you'll tie up business cash flow. We had a secretary that tied up $2000 in paper products that the non-profit company did not even use, and we needed other things that we could not purchase - the money was sitting there in outdated supplies that we could not return and no one wanted to buy.

Nationwide, American employers have reported to the US Department of Labor that they need their employees to have, overall, at least 10th grade mathematics skills. If you happen not ot have them, study, take an online free course, or get help. Don't say you're not good at math, but put forth your best effort and then work with your employer to help you if your cannot handle organizing and time strictures.

  • Solve Problems

Know when you can solve something on your own and when you need help. Accept added responsibilities, unless they are overwhelming, and then say so in a professional manner. Be flexible. Processes and policies change - even the name of the company may change - and you must change as well.

One particular problem is that increasing numbers of companies expect their employees to be on call 7 days a week. Be prepared for this and how you will handle it. Some people can work months without a break, say 6 hours a day, but others need time off. Know yourself and thereby know how to answer this dilemma.

  • Acquire and Use Information

American employers generally need employees that read at the 10th grade level and above in English. Having bilingual capacity in Spanish, Arab languages, African languages and Far Eastern languages is also a plus.

Students that pass the Ohio Graduation Test and other US state tests can do that. In the 21st century, the grade level on the test will increase very few years and likely stay put at 12th grade.

Speak proper English with good grammar on the job within an English Speaking Company. Many employers have ESOL classes onsite if you need them and in the 21st century, some employers are beginning onsite Spanish classes. Free classes are available online.

Do not use Hip Hop slang on the job if it is not a Hip Hop Company with that environment visibly very active!

I do employee evaluations for a large retailer; in one definitely-not-Hip-Hop store recently, one male employee walked up to another one in a crowded aisle and shouted, "Hey, what's up bitch?" Several customers were offended and the managers heard all of this. The young man is no longer employed by that company.

  • Use Technology

PCs, computer peripherals, faxes, telephone systems, a variety of software packages, office equipment, other equipment and tools.

  • Use Systems Effectively and Productively

Understand where you are in the corporation and how your output affects that of others and how they affect you and your work output.

Follow company rules and guidelines and know what the chain-of-command is for communications.

Ready to Work Pyramid

US Fed Dept of Labor, govt, public domain.
US Fed Dept of Labor, govt, public domain.

Lifelong Learning for the Interview

Prepare for your interview by

1) Gathering the basic skills illustrated in the above pyramid for work foundations, especially Lifelong Learning Skills, and

2) Access the Hub Pages Job Interview Portal at the top of this page.

Much success in your Career Planning and Job Search!

Junior Achievement - Youth Ready to Work

Develop Life Skills at Any Age - Career Boot Camp

Diversity - Work Possible for Nearly Everyone at WORK Inc.

Comments & Additions

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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thanks for the advice!

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Great tips. I would also recommend Top Grading book.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      monitor! - Hey, thanks. I've been practicing writing abou tit for so long now, I might even be able to go and have a successful interview myself! :)

      Chef Jeff! - Always a pleasure to have your visit. This list is good for all of us to review form time to time. I look at it every few months. Thanks for the comments.

    • Chef Jeff profile image

      Chef Jeff 

      12 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

      Inasmuch as I will soon be seeking new employment, I am going to make a hard copy of this and study it as if for a test - which, of course, is very similar to interviewing for a new job.

      Wonderful tips I shall take to heart and learn.

    • monitor profile image


      12 years ago from The world.

      As always Patti, Great hub, great advice.

      Your 15 years experience is glowing through. This hub is a must read for all job hunters.

      Your fan.



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