Job interviews can be challenging for high school special needs students, but with the right preparation and support, they can successfully navigate the process.
I am thrilled to be included in the Parenting Special Needs online magazine this month. I filmed a video specifically to discuss 5 actions a student can take to elevate their interview skills.
Here Are Job Interview Skills and Strategies for Special Needs
- Understand the Job: Help students understand the specific job they are interviewing for, its responsibilities, and the skills required.
- Research the Company: Encourage them to research the company to gain a basic understanding of its culture, values, and mission.
- Building Confidence:
- Practice: Conduct mock interviews to help students become more comfortable with the interview process.
- Body Language: Teach them about positive body language, like making eye contact, offering a firm handshake, and sitting up straight.
- Communication Skills:
- Listening: Practice active listening skills to ensure they understand the questions being asked.
- Clear Communication: Encourage clear and concise responses to interview questions. Role-play common interview questions and responses.
- Use of Technology: If necessary, teach students how to use technology or assistive devices to communicate effectively.
- Dress and Grooming:
- Appropriate Attire: Help students select appropriate interview attire based on the job and company culture.
- Personal Hygiene: Emphasize the importance of good personal hygiene and grooming.
- Self-Advocacy: Encourage students to share their strengths, skills, and accomplishments confidently.
- Positive Attitude: Promote a positive attitude and the importance of showing enthusiasm for the job opportunity.
- Social Skills:
- Interpersonal Skills: Teach basic social skills like making polite conversation and demonstrating respect. Our job skills component is customized for high school students and includes lesson plans and handouts to use in your classroom.
- Handling Nerves: Help students manage anxiety and stress through relaxation techniques or coping strategies.
- Questions and Answers:
- Prepare for Questions: Assist students in preparing answers to common interview questions, such as “Tell me about yourself” and “Why do you want this job?”
- Ask Questions: Encourage students to ask questions about the job or company to demonstrate interest.
- Problem Solving:
- Scenario-Based Questions: Practice answering hypothetical questions that assess problem-solving skills and adaptability.
- Portfolio or Resume:
- Create a Resume: Help students create a simple resume or portfolio highlighting their skills, experiences, and accomplishments.
- Mock Interviews:
- Conduct multiple mock interviews with different interviewers, if possible, to expose students to various interview styles.
- Feedback and Reflection:
- Provide constructive feedback after mock interviews, highlighting areas for improvement.
- Encourage students to reflect on their experiences and identify strategies for improvement.
- Teach the importance of sending a thank-you note or email after the interview to express gratitude and reiterate interest in the position.
- Advocate for Accommodations:
- If necessary, work with students to identify and request reasonable accommodations for the interview process.
Remember Each Special Needs Student Is Unique
Tailor your approach to their specific abilities and challenges, and provide ongoing support and encouragement throughout the interview process. The goal is to build their confidence and skills, ultimately increasing their chances of success in job interviews.
We offer a curriculum specifically for job interview skills. Click here to learn more.