A good habit to develop is practicing answers to common questions you could face during a job interview. This is especially important if you are a teenager and may not have years of work experience to talk about. By learning what questions employers ask and how you answer them, you can give yourself a better chance at landing the job. In this guide, we review questions that hiring managers could ask teenagers during job interviews and provide some sample answers.
Teen interview questions with sample answers
Below are some common questions teenagers face during job interviews, along with some example answers:
- Why are you looking for a job?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- What makes you the best candidate for this job?
- What are some of your biggest accomplishments?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What are you learning in school that will help you with this position?
- Tell me about a problem you had recently and how you solved it.
- Do you have any questions about the job?
Why are you looking for a job?
Employers use this question to learn more about your motivations. Think about your reasons for wanting employment while you are still in school, then explain why these motivations can make you a good employee.
Example: "I am looking for a job for two reasons. First, I would like to gain more experience in this industry. I have a passion for computers, so I would love the chance to work with them and learn more about them after school and on weekends. Second, I am looking to attend college after I graduate from high school. Getting a part-time job now would allow me to start saving up so that I can afford classes in a few years."
Why do you want to work for us?
Employers could interview dozens of candidates for one open position, and they want to make sure the person they hire is interested in working for them. To answer this question, learn more about the business before your interview. Learn about the industry, customer base, size and history. Pick a few factors that interest you and explain why those factors make you want to work there.
Example: "I want to work for Premiere Marketing because of the size and the services you offer. I am interested in social media and online marketing, which seems like a large part of what you offer. I'd like to either open up my own marketing firm one day or become a full-time freelance marketer. Getting the opportunity to work closely with customers at a smaller firm like Premiere would give me the hands-on experience I'm looking for."
What makes you the best candidate for this job?
The job market is competitive, so employers want to know why they should hire you over someone else. Use this question to sell yourself and highlight your best qualities. As a teenager, you likely don't have a lot of work experience yet, so you may need to rely on your characteristics and high school achievements.
Example: "I believe I am the best person for the job because of my passion and dedication. I have always loved helping people out and working in a fast-paced environment. From a young age, my parents instilled in me the importance of hard work, which I think is reflected in my high school transcript. I am a reliable person who can be counted on to get my tasks done correctly and on time, no matter how small or large it is."
What are some of your biggest accomplishments?
Employers like to see that you have strived for something and achieved it. This shows your desire to improve yourself. You may not have many achievements yet, so you may need to be creative. If you don't have any awards or honors just yet, find a way to highlight smaller accomplishments. Use the STAR method to give a compelling answer.
Example: "I would say one of my biggest accomplishments was receiving a B+ on my Algebra 2 final exam last year. It may not sound like much, but I struggled with algebra last year. I stayed after school countless times with a tutor and spent hours doing homework questions until I got them right. Throughout the year, my grades weren't great, but I stuck with it. When I received that B+ on my final, I felt a great sense of accomplishment. I want to continue working hard in my math classes to learn more."
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hiring managers usually want candidates to have goals and ambitions since they demonstrate hard work and motivation. If you need to, consider where you think you'll be next year, then the year after that and so on. This can help you create a list of steps for where you plan to be in five years. Try to relate this goal to why you want to work at the company.
Example: "In five years, I would like to be close to graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in Education. It's my goal to become an elementary school teacher one day, which is why I felt working at a daycare would provide me with some experience working with young children."
What are you learning in school that will help you with this position?
As a teenager, the biggest thing on your resume right now is likely your experiences in high school. An employer may ask you to name some specific things you are learning in school that can translate over to the job since you don't have relative work experience yet. Think about what skills you need for the position and how you're learning these things in school.
Example: "One course I am currently taking in school is public speaking. In it, we are learning how to give presentations and speeches, which involves practicing our communication skills. Through this course, I have become more confident when I need to talk to or in front of others, which I believe will help me as a camp counselor."
Tell me about a problem you had recently and how you solved it.
Problem-solving is a big part of any job. Employers want team members who can solve problems on their own without having to ask for help every time they encounter an issue. If you can demonstrate your ability to assess and solve a problem, it can make you a stronger candidate. Think about a problem you may have had either in school or with someone else or at a previous job, then go into the strategies you used to solve it.
Example: "One issue I had recently was during a team project in my history class. We each had our section of a presentation to work on, but I noticed a few of the other members were not getting their work done as quickly. The deadline was approaching, and I felt that our finished product would suffer if they did not get started soon.
To help, I gathered the group together and discussed the state of the project. I also offered to help with other sections of the project so that we could finish on time. In the end, we were able to complete everything and receive a good grade."
Do you have any questions about the job?
This is a question commonly used to close out an interview. Asking questions about the job and company can not only help you decide if it's a good fit for you but also that you did your research. Before the interview, make a list of questions that you want to know about the job. At the end of the interview, ask any questions that you didn't get an answer to during the interview.
Example: "I have a few questions that I don't believe were covered during the interview. What's the day to day like for this role? How big is the team that I'll be working with? What are the next steps?"
Interview tips for teens
Here are a few additional tips you can use if you're a teenager going in for an interview:
The best thing you can do is plenty of preparation before the interview. Practice answers to common questions in front of a mirror or with a friend or family member. Make sure you have a solid resume printed out that you can bring with you. Also, research the business and your role, and bring any questions you may have about them.
Make use of what you have
You may not have a lot of work experience to talk about, so consider getting creative. Talk about your characteristics, your school experiences and any extracurricular activities, like sports or clubs. Employers aren't expecting you to have a wealth of experience yet, so don't be afraid to talk a lot about high school.
Try to relax
Interviews can be stressful, so do your best to relax. Get a good night's sleep, and make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview early. Take the time to form clear, concise answers.
First impressions are important during an interview. Choose an outfit that is professional, regardless of the job you're applying for. Have a parent help you pick out an outfit if you're unsure of what to wear.