Summer Job Interviewing

by Carol Chandler-Wood

Many high school students are beginning to look for summer employment. In fact, many adults are seeking employment, too. In order to increase the chance you are hired for the job being sought, it is important you thoroughly prepare for the interview and articulate how you are a “fit” for the position.

It is important to:

  • Know general information about the position to which you are applying
  • Learn about the organization you are applying to and the nature of its work
  • Demonstrate your interest
  • Specify your qualifications


You need to know what the position does, its job responsibilities, educational requirements, and starting salary; however, do not discuss salary during the first interview. This will help you prepare to demonstrate to the interviewer your credentials and the position for which you are interviewing. If a student, participate in a summer job or internship in a field you wish to pursue. Doing so will help you gain experience and provide you with first hand knowledge of the field.


The more you know about the employer, the more comfortable you will feel in the interview. By being knowledgeable of the organization, it will help convince the interviewer of your interest. Many interviewers will open with questions such as, “Why are you interested in our organization?” “Tell me what you know about our company.” You cannot bluff your way through these questions. You must conduct research to become properly familiar with a company in which you are interviewing.

Learn the following:

  • Type of organization and its function
  • Mission and goals of the organization
  • Products and services offered
  • Divisions and subsidiaries
  • Position description and career paths
  • Sales and earnings if a public or for profit organization
  • Company size
  • Competitors
  • Locations
  • Current company projects
  • New trends in the field

Sources to use to locate the above information:

Career related websites, Career Resource Library occupational handbook, work section of Choices Planner, Standard and Poor’s Register of Corporations, Directors, and Executives, Dun and Bradstreet’s Guide to Your Investments, Thomas’ Register of American Manufacturers, The Value Line Investment Survey, Moody’s, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Forbes, Fortune


Review your qualifications for the position and know what you have to offer. Express yourself clearly and concisely. Self-assessment of your skills, interests, and work values will help you organize your thoughts in order to project a positive impression.

  • Summarize your education experiences as it relates to the position for which you are interviewing
  • Articulate your related skills and abilities
  • Cite examples of how you develop/used articulate skills
  • Know your personal strengths and weaknesses
  • Discuss your work and extra-curricular experience in detail
  • Talk about your career goals and objectives
  • Know where you want to work
  • Identify any problem areas in your background and be prepared to discuss them
  • Discuss variables you are willing to negotiate

Top Ten Reasons People Are Not Hired

  • Dishonesty on the resume and/or application
  • “Bad mouthing” a previous employer/company and not taking personal responsibility
  • Showing no long-term potential
  • Having digital “dirt” on social networks, such as Facebook and MySpace
  • Having no knowledge of the company with which you are interviewing
  • Acting bored, cocky, arrogant, or disinterested during the interview
  • Sharing too much personal information during the interview by discussing hobbies, race, age, and religion. You may be setting yourself up for biases from the interviewer.
  • Talking dollars (salary) not sense
  • Omitting examples of how you can increase the organization’s revenues, decrease its costs, and help the organization in some other ways
  • Being inexperienced for the position

Stay focused on your goal and be willing to expend the time and energy required to be prepared for a very important part of locating a job; the interview.