Punk Rock HR Question: Interviewing Kids 'At Risk'


From a reader who needs your help.

You’ll read this and think, holy crap, where do we start?

Hi, Laurie.

I need your help. I am a volunteer with a group of high school seniors who are considered ‘at risk’. Basically, they’re struggling in school, usually have no parental support, have little chance of getting into college (except the local Community College), etc, etc. My April 20th presentation to them is on ‘interviewing’.

Here’s the question: what would newbie, inexperienced job seekers (average age 18, never been employed) need to know in today’s job market about interviewing??

Thanks for writing. You could give a day-long seminar to regular kids, let alone ones who are at risk, and it wouldn’t be enough.

There are basics that cover the HOWS in the process. How to dress, how to speak up and not mumble, how to avoid saying something stupid, how to sit, how to stand, how to shake hands, how to make eye-contact.

There are the WHYS, too. Those kids need to know why they are interviewing for a job. Why are you there? (No one is entitled to employment.) Why would the employer hire you? (Do you have anything to offer?) Why are you the right candidate?

Some of that carries over to the WHATS. What do you have to offer? What are your skills? What makes you a dependable person who can be trusted?

Most of all, these kids need to know how to advocate for themselves. This is the biggest challenge, IMHO, and not something that comes easily to most high school students — especially those at risk.

Good luck, and let’s see what everyone else has to say.

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