Student Part-Time Job Interview Preparation

Getting a student part time job requires preparation and showing your motivation and commitment to work, even if the position will be temporary.

Studying for the Interview

Prior to the interview, you should view the company website or do a search on a search engine about a company to find background information. If your friends or family members have worked for the company in the past, or in a similar position, ask them about the types of questions or work expectations you should prepare for.

If the company doesn’t have a website or only has a small site, such as a landscaping company that only posts a services list, or a family that is looking for childcare, you can learn about the requirements of a position by reviewing an occupational profile, such as those found on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

Prepare for Basic Questions

Some interviewers may ask only basic questions about schedule and availability and if you have any previous experience in this type of job. There are also many sources of basic interview questions on the Internet, such as this list of Interview Questions to Expect and Prepare for, or you can take a look at the sample questions available in an interview book, such as Boost Your Interview I.Q. Ten Steps to Interview Success also has additional resources on interview preparation basics.

Job Specific Questions

Some interviewers may ask questions that are highly specific to a job. A person interviewing for a position as a nanny will have to talk about their experience with children, as well as explain what First Aid and child development courses they have taken. Other jobs may ask about equipment and tools. For example, an interviewer with a landscaping company may ask if you have performed any landscaping in the past, the types of tools that you have used and if you are able to drive a car, truck or a bobcat, your experience applying herbicides and pesticides, or if you have used a jackhammer.

You can also get unusual questions that are relevant to the workplace. For example, common questions for fieldworkers and treeplanters include asking if the candidate can drive an all terrain vehicle, or even if the candidate is afraid of wildlife, such as bears. If you have never encountered these situations or had experience with some tools, explain that you are eager to be trained and will follow safety protocol should any of these situations occur.

What to Wear to the Interview

Though most interview books will suggest you wear a suit, or even business casual, this may not be appropriate attire for an interview in landscaping, childcare or even retail sales. In this case, wear a version of the clothes that you plan to wear each day to work, but make sure they are brand new and clean. Don’t wear a T-shirt with a slogan, displaying offensive or sarcastic humor and especially not the uniform of a rival company, even if it is vintage. Pants don’t need to be pressed and you can’t really shine your steel toed boots, but they should be free of paint and stains and comply with safety standards.

Getting to the Interview

Get a map or directions to the interview so that you can show up on time to the interview. Punctuality is very important to employers, especially if they are arranging transportation to a work site, or if there is a safety meeting each day at the site, as can happen on some construction sites. If you have limited experience in these positions, punctuality is an asset.

Bring a Copy of Your Schedule

If the employer has offered to work around your schedule during the school year, bring a copy of your school schedule to the interview. Though you may be solidly booked with classes, some employers can be very understanding of these limits and will work around them. In other cases, an inflexible schedule may keep you out of the running for a position, so only offer the schedule if asked.