On paper, the candidate looks great. She’s personable and would be a great fit for your team.

Now the big question: Will the candidate perform?

As an employer, you can help motivate employees with perks and benefits. You can create an atmosphere that boosts productivity. You can offer meaningful, ongoing training. But in the end, job performance comes down to the employee.

To find student employees who will perform, dig into work ethic, time management, and interest in the job during the interview. Here are five interview questions for teens you can use to get started.

Interview Questions for Teens About Work Ethic

Employees with a strong work ethic work hard and care about quality. They are dependable and demonstrate professionalism.

To that end, you can make some assessments before you even start the interview. Has the candidate dressed appropriately for the interview? Did he or she arrive on time? Did he or she come prepared with questions or any requested paperwork?

Beyond that initial assessment, try these two interview questions for teens about work ethic:

How would you describe your work ethic? Look for answers that reflect hard work, dependability, and focus on quality. Follow up by asking the candidate to give you an example of how he or she has demonstrated a good work ethic in the past.

Can you describe a time you went above and beyond your responsibilities? Having people who are willing to pitch in and do more than the bare minimum helps build strong teams and contributes to customer satisfaction. Ask this question to help weed out employees who will do what they’re asked to do and then sit around until directed to do something else or that have a “not my job” attitude when things need to get done. Even teens without previous job experience should be able to identify a time when they’ve gone above and beyond in school or extracurricular activities.

Interview Questions for Teens About Time Management

Part of how a teenage employee will perform comes down to time. Managing the responsibilities of school, family, extracurriculars, and work will require a careful balance. Employees who manage time well and work at a reasonable pace for your environment are likely to perform best.

We suggest these two interview questions for teens about time management:

Can you give me an example of a time you managed your time well? Responses should show how the candidate handled several tasks to get them all done on schedule or how the candidate paced his or herself to get things done. Answers may also demonstrate organization skills, common sense, and problem-solving to get things done in a timely way.

How would you describe the pace at which you work? Look for somebody who works at a steady pace and produces quality work versus someone who works frantically all day and is more apt to make errors. If the position you are hiring for requires people to think or act quickly, ask questions to see if the candidate is prepared for that.

Interview Questions for Teens About Interest

To avoid an employee who is just going through the motions, find out why the candidate wants this job.

What excites you most about this position? Genuine excitement about the position can translate to a motivated, eager employee. But beware. If the answer suggests the candidate is most interested in something that isn’t part of the job or is interested in only a small part of it, you may have a disconnect. Use this time to clarify the position. #TeenHiringGap

To find high performers to fill open positions, focus on the answers—spoken and unspoken—to the questions above. Need help connecting with qualified teen job candidates? Let HipHire go to work for you! 


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