How to interview for a casual or part-time job

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So, we heard you’ve got an interview for a casual or part-time job. Congratulations! You’re one step closer to getting a job!

But we know it isn’t necessarily all exciting news.  Put your hand up if you’re low key freaking out rn because you think interviews are stressful!

If your hand is up, then this these tips are for you. Learn what to expect at an interview, tips to interview well and common questions to prepare for below!

What to expect at an interview

Depending on the company and type of work (casual, part-time, or full time) your interview may look a little different.

The company will decide between:

  • An individual or group interview
  • Whether the interview is formal or informal in nature
  • Whether the interview is held by solely the manager, HR person or a panel of employees

You should be given some idea ahead of time what to expect. If not, you can generally guess based on the position you’re applying for.

For example, if it’s a casual retail job, you will probably have a fairly informal interview with the Store Manager or Supervisor. If it’s a well sought-after Management position with lots of responsibilities and high salary, you can probably expect a panel of interviewers and you might even need to go through several stages of interviews.

Tips for a successful interview

Research, research, research

At this stage, you should have already done some research about the job and company you applied for to complete your resume and cover letter. However, it is vital that you go into the interview well versed to ensure you can answer potential questions such as ‘why do you want to work here’.

We recommend looking at the company website and social media pages. You should pay special attention to any mention of their mission or vision statement, company values, community involvement, customer experiences and testimonials, and examples of workplace culture.

Prepare ahead of time

Before an interview, you should prepare common interview questions (see below) and answers about yourself, your work experience (if you have any), your skills and your qualifications. This will also include your weaknesses, which should consist of a small fault and how you are trying to improve it (and don’t say “my weakness is being too much of a perfectionist”).

You can also practice mock interviews with a friend or family member or go over asking your questions to yourself in the mirror. It sounds silly, but it can help.

To reduce stress the morning or day of the interview, set aside your outfit, pack your bag/belongings, figure out how you’re going to get there (drive, public transport, your parents) and where you’re going to park (if driving) the night before.

Make sure you set alarms to leave with plenty of extra time to allow for traffic or delays.  Better to be there way too early than be late!

Practice answering questions

Once you’ve prepared well for the interview, it is time to practice how you will answer some common interview questions as mentioned above. It is important to know how to word certain answers so we have provided the STAR framework below which will help you effectively answer any question that comes your way. However, you shouldn’t memorise a script in case it sounds too forced or you aren’t asked the questions that you prepared for.

For extra practice, grab a friend, parent or sibling and conduct a practice interview – it’ll make all the difference!

Be on time!

You should turn up to the interview at least 5-10 minutes beforehand. This will show the employer that you’re organised and reliable before the interview even begins.

Make a good first impression

As they say, first impressions count! When you meet the interviewer, give them a big smile, make eye contact, and show your enthusiasm for the role. You should also ask them how their day has been and engage in small talk before the questions begin (this should also help you get more comfortable in the conversation and relax a bit).

Ask the interviewer questions

After the interviewer has got all the information they need, they will ask you if you have any questions for them. This is your chance to show that you’re interested in the job and the company and you’re thinking ahead to find out more.

Some questions to ask are:

  • What do you like about working here?
  • When can I expect to hear from you?
  • How many hours will I get a week?
  • What does a day in this role look like?

Dress appropriately

Depending on the type of job you go for, the dress code will differ. Most casual and part-time jobs in retail and hospitality will expect smart casual attire so make sure you look neat and clean to make a good first impression.

Common interview questions

Although all employers conduct an interview differently, there is some common information all interviewers want when hiring.

Some common interview questions may include:

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • What made you apply for the job?
  • What do you know about us?
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Tell me about a time when you showed leadership?
  • Give me an example of a time when you showed teamwork?
  • How do you cope with fast paced situations?
  • How do you cope with pressure?

To answer these questions, you can utilise the STAR framework (Situation, Task, Action, Result). Your answer doesn’t have to be long, but this framework can help you address all parts of the question.

  • Situation – Describe the context of the situation you were in
  • Task – Explain the task that you had to complete and what you were responsible for
  • Action – Describe the steps you took to achieve the task
  • Result – Explain the outcome of your actions and whether you completed the task successfully or not

Even though we have listed these common interview questions, there is always a possibility that you will get a question that you aren’t expecting. It is important to also be prepared for this situation and remember to take your time and address the question at hand.

It is so normal for you to be nervous before an interview, but we hope our tips put you at ease. Now go slay that interview!

If you aren’t at the interview stage yet, read our blog on applying for your first job here!