Youth: don`t be afraid of the job interview
Labor market is an important subject to everyone including young people. That’s why a bunch Estonian youth had an idea to organize a youth exchange about that. Youth from Portugal, Italy and Latvia also participated whilst most of them didn`t have any real work experience.
The leader of the project, Eilika Mätas, said that young people talk about going to work all the time and they are very interested of working, especially during summer. At the same time they have no knowledge and skills of the job searching process and how to act at a job interview. Insufficient knowledge and the fact that finding a job may not be easy can lead to lack of motivation.
To give all the necessary skills the participants of the youth exchange were offered to take part of a job interview fair. “It`s basically just a simulation of several job interviews. Everyone had to apply for five positions and meet five different types of employers. The goal was to prepare the youth for unexpected situations that can occur during the job interviews”, explained Mätas. “The participants met tough, unpredictable, foreign, timid and uncommunicative employers”.
One of the participants of the youth exchange, David (21, Italy), has the impression that labor market is one of the most important issues in the whole Europe. He said that the situation in Italy is quite problematic at the moment and that’s why he is working and living in Germany. David has looked for a job in different countries and that`s why he is quite experienced and has good set of skills of how to strike though the labor market. He thought that the simulations in the job interview fair were quite lifelike and therefore a good practice for those who don’t have any previous experience.
Diana (16, Latvia) has only done some seasonal jobs so far. According to her it’s possible to do some gardening jobs around schools during summer and earn a bit of pocket money like that. There are no job interviews though and the simulation was her first experience. “I struggled a bit with some of the questions, but most of the interviews went great. The most difficult thing for me was giving the interview in a foreign language”, was Diana really happy with her performance. The simulation took away some fears and in the future she will be more confident in participating a job interview.
Steven (16, Estonia) came to the conclusion that job interviews are no different from interviews Estonian high-schools hold for secondary school graduates. “In Estonia we have to apply to get to high –school and with selected persons, an interview is also held. In these interviews the high-school personnel ask, why they should accept me to this school. In job interview it’s the same, you have to talk why you think you are the best candidate for this job”. The most difficult thing for Steven was to answer questions like “make a 2-sentence summary why should we pick you”. So, in short Steven suggests thinking through one`s strengths and focusing on them during the interview.
During the youth exchange the youth also created an interactive CV and experimented on working at different hours for making sure what kind of rythm suits them the best. They also made some career choice tests and gave each other the overviews of labor markets in their countries.
„The career choice tests are not used in Italy and Portugal at all. Labor markets in these countries are also quite different from those in here. For example they still have governmental placement system for teachers “, brings Mätas out some variabilities between countries. The interactive CV is not yet very common in Estonia, nor in Europe, but the youth thought that learning how to do that may still be interesting and useful and it also might attract some innovative employers.
But even more important than the skills themselves is actually learning to know oneself. Mätas explained that the youth exchange also focused on subjects how a young person could find out things about themselves: how to motivate themselves, how to set goals, how to make the best choices and how to help yourself.
The suggestions for applying for a job from youth to youth:
• Put together a good and proper CV and motivation letter and keep them updated. Inspiration and good examples are to be found from Europass website.
• Dress up for a job interview: wear a suit, nice costume or dress.
• Make some background search about the employer and be aware where you apply to.
• Prepare the interview. Think about specific questions and answers that are related to this job only, be prepared for unexpected.
• Think through your strengths and focus on them in your interview.
• International experience could be useful in finding a job.
• If you apply to a job in some other country, do some research about the labor market customs in there. For example some countries still don’t use electronic CV-s; instead you have to go from door to door with a paper-cv in your hands.
• Don’t take the first random job you are offered to. Jobs come and go and you don`t have to say “yes” to everything. If you start working in a job that does not interest you, all you do is waste your time and energy.