Practice interviews help the real thing go smoothly

Teens looking to do well in job interviews can practice with adult volunteers to improve their performance.

It is important to practice interviewing for jobs. Youth can use resources from 4-H volunteers or staff, teachers and schools, or online materials to help prepare their résumés and get tips for interviewing. However, Michigan State University Extension says that the best preparation for an interview is to actually practice one in as real a situation as possible.

Many 4-H clubs and afterschool programs integrate career exploration and preparation as part of their curriculum. This allows youth to gain skills that will help them in a future career as well as learn about requirements for different pathways. Leaders in 4-H can serve as excellent references for 4-H members as they search for jobs because they can speak to the youth’s skills and abilities. This is an excellent time for youth to be learning leadership skills through extra-curricular activities, which they can be adding to their résumés.

As youth prepare for job interviews, it is important to have an updated résumé and an understanding of the job requirements. Considering how your skills fit the needs of the organization will help you prepare for the interview. No matter what career pathway you choose, many employers will use similar questions in their interviews. Considering your answers to common questions ahead of time will help you gain confidence and poise.

In addition to thinking about interview questions, actual practice questions and answers will help a candidate immensely. 4-H clubs can set up a day to practice mock interviews with their adult volunteers, or join forces with other clubs for more variety in interacting with adult facilitators. If students do not have access to a club or school event, they can individually ask adult mentors in their life for some help.

Some counties have established events for area teenagers to attend for practice job interviews. Students in mid-Michigan can attend the Mock Interview Day held in March every year at Central Michigan University; here they can participate in a professional interview, have a resume, cover letter or portfolio critiqued, take part in mini-workshops, visit a college campus, and tour the library. These experiences are invaluable as students start to establish their careers! Check out the Michigan 4-H careers page for more resources to help youth explore and prepare for their future, including an upcoming statewide workshop.

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