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Preparing Your Student for an Interview

For one reason or another, students inevitably have to interview. Whether the student is doing an admissions interview, trying to land a job, or going on a date, the ability to interview well is crucial to success. Good Interview skills begin and end with impression management. We teach students to manage the impressions they leave on others both inside and outside of the classroom because the real world is social, and it always will be.

In other words, it is even becoming increasingly important to have strong interview skills as a high school student. Unfortunately teaching these skills is not easy, especially since there aren’t many resources geared towards helping high school students. Below, we have provided a step-by-step process to help your student crush his or her interview.

Managing the first impression

Did you know it takes just seven seconds for a first impression to form?

  • Making the best possible first impression starts before you even leave for your job interview.
  • Make sure you look your best, dress nicely in clean clothes without rips or stains. This is a great initial way to show the interviewer that you are taking the interview seriously.
  • It is better to be overdressed then underdressed.
  • Make sure that you communicate appropriately before the interview via email or over the phone. For more information on managing impressions via email, see our other blog posts.   
  • Punctuality is a major concern for employers and late arrival will often kill your chances of landing the job. Try to arrive five to ten minutes early if you can.

Maintaining a good impression

  • Introduce yourself and shake hands with the interviewer. Smile, speak clearly, and make eye contact.
  • Be prepared to answer questions about your skills, personality, and past experiences. It is important to be prepared to discuss why you are interested in the job and why you would be a good fit.  Employers want to hire employees who show a positive attitude and are truly interested in the work they will be doing. The same goes for college interviews. If you don’t seem interested in their school, they may not want to admit you, even if you have all the qualifications.
  • Resist the temptation to check your phone at any time when you are in view of the interviewer. Employers are very concerned about losing productivity among employees who are constantly checking their phones.
  • Displaying a good attitude is so important. Employers want upbeat teen workers who don’t bring a negative attitude to the job. The same rule applies for admissions interviews and volunteer or internship opportunities.  
  • Body language is critical. When sitting, demonstrate a proper posture, avoid slouching and lean slightly forward, this showcases that you are eager to hear the next thing that the interviewer has to say. Make sure you maintain strong eye contact. 
  • Reflect the three Cs during the interview: cool, calm, and confident.

Following up

  • This is the time to really showcase your manners. After your interview, make sure to send a short email or make a quick phone call to thank your interviewer for taking the time to meet/talk with you and be sure to mention that you are excited about the opportunity to work at the company. This is also a great way to highlight your punctuality and ability to get things done, as well as repeating your interest in the job.

Want more help to prep for an interview or strengthen your other impression management skills. Our academic coaches teach students about the importance of utilizing resources such as teachers, counselors, advisors, parents, peers, etc. to maximize their success. Coaches introduce the idea of social capital and stress the importance of involvement in clubs and activities, both inside and outside of school. They will also work with students on preparing their resumes, as well as discussing and preparing for interviews, this may include interview role play and critiquing.  Give us a call for more information!

Evan Weinberger


Staying Ahead of the Game offers unique academic coaching & tutoring services to help good students achieve greatness.

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