Interview Questions for Youth Summer Jobs

The youth summer job market can be competitive.
The youth summer job market can be competitive. (Image: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

For youths, obtaining a summer job can offer financial freedom, help build confidence and provide valuable work experience. For hiring agents, interviewing a youth candidate may require certain modifications to standard adult interview questions. In addition to inquiring about availability and experience, youth applicants should be questioned about issues such as transportation, basic math skills and even their age. To plan an age-appropriate interview, teen interview questions should be carefully considered in advance.

Why Are You Interested in This Job?

This inquiry can provide much different information from a youth. For example, a youth may be looking for any summer job available, without regard to the position or employer. If this is the case, there may be future issues with reliability, dedication or job performance.

Do You Have Any Experience?

Although youth applicants may have limited work experience, this question may uncover prior summer job experience, related work experience or education specific to the position. For example, a youth applying for a summer job in a floral shop may lack work experience, but she may have been a member of a school horticultural club.

Are You Under 18 Years Old?

Although the age question is typically out of bounds, it can be asked during a youth interview, if applicable. For example, if the youth answers with a positive response, no further discussion is necessary. For applicants under 18 years of age, however, certain local and state laws regulate work schedules, days and hours of work, type of machinery that can be operated and type of job to be performed. These limitations make the question of age appropriate for a youth interview.

Do You Have Transportation?

The issue of transportation should be addressed during the initial interview. How the youth will get to work may limit their availability or present a reliability issue. Even youth applicants of legal driving age may not have a personal automobile. For example, a youth who depends on public transportation may be limited to a work schedule that coincides with the bus or train schedules.

Are You Involved in Extracurricular Activities?

Involvement in too many extracurricular or summer activities can lead to missed work, complicated scheduling requests or lack of job focus. Although one or two activities may not be a problem, a youth with multiple interests may be forced to make a choice between work and other activities.

Are You Comfortable Interacting With the Public?

Youth applicants with a fear of public speaking or meeting new people may not fit a position that involves interacting with the public. Other noncontact positions may be a better fit.

Do You Have Any Preplanned Summer Vacations?

Trips to the beach, family vacations or group trips can interfere with work scheduling. Knowing these plans in advance can help avoid later issues.

What Is Your Availability?

Even if local and state laws have no restriction on a youth's availability, ask the question anyway. Summer activities, parental rules or transportation may present availability issues. For example, if a youth relies on a parent for transportation, getting to work during the parent's workday may be a problem.

Are You Comfortable With Basic Math?

For positions such as cashier, ticket booth attendant and office helper, youth applicants need a basic understanding of math. Although algebra and geometry may not be important, knowing how to add, multiply and subtract quickly and accurately may be an important skill.

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