I was recently asked for advice on how to approach an interview for a casual retail job from someone who wanted to earn extra income. As I was dishing out my best grown up advice, I realised that as young people, we find it hard to understand the value we can provide a business – let alone communicate it during a clammy-palm-ridden interview experience.
Once you get into the swing of a career path, interviews can become less daunting because you’ve got more to talk about. But when you’re applying for your first few jobs or a job that’s purely for the cash money, knowing what to say beyond the usual buzzwords of ‘teamwork’ and ‘driven’ and ‘enthusiasm’ is hard.
So I decided to share my best interview tips for anyone applying for an ‘extra income’ job. These will be particularly helpful for anyone applying for a second job to earn extra money on the side.
Whether you’re looking for a casual hospitality position while at uni, or you’re after some weekend retail work to supplement your salary and help you reach a savings milestone, expressing why you’re the best candidate for the job when it’s clear that you’re just looking for extra money isn’t easy.
Explain Why You’re Looking for Extra Income
Firstly, there’s no shame in wanting extra work to reach a savings goal or achieve a life milestone – so don’t shy away from it. Instead of pretending you’re passionate about working on a supermarket deli, try and explain to your interviewer why you’re looking for extra income in a way that feels most natural to you. If you’re saving for a first home – tell them! If you’re young and committing to your future early on – tell them! It says something about who you are as a person and the type of work ethic you have. Use this as an opportunity to show that you’re dedicated, that you’ve got a bigger picture reason for wanting to work there. Explain that you’re up for extra shifts, late night work, weekends and cover shifts, too. If they’re looking for someone they can rely on, it’s you!
Go Armed With Info
Don’t forget to research the company (obviously) but try to keep it relevant. If you’re applying for a retail job at a supermarket, don’t go too high level and start reeling off facts about the company merger of 1987. Consider looking into customer service trends for the supermarket sector, or commenting on positive things you’ve experienced in store as a customer. If you’re applying for a hospitality job in a restaurant, demonstrate that you know the menu, and show ways you may be able to assist a customer by suggesting food and wine pairings, or by helping them navigate an allergy or special request.
When it comes to experience, you may or may not have any in the role you’re applying for. If you do, practice ways to succinctly explain what you’ve done before and how that will benefit you in this role – don’t waffle on too much, and never criticise a previous employer, even if their management was more chaotic than a Bachelor cocktail party. It’s not very becoming.
Try to express your experience in context of the new role. Instead of saying “yes I’ve waited tables before. It was at blah blah restaurant and it’s quite busy there on Saturdays.” Try saying something like “yes I have experience in waiting tables. It was at blah blah restaurant, and it’s a similar size to this, so I’ll have no trouble adapting to the busy periods – like when new movies come out. I’m great at multitasking and will always try and clear a table as I’m passing to save me at trip!”
Have a Closing Line
Lastly, have a closing line. It’s often recommended that you have a question up your sleeve for when they invite you to ask any – but I personally, prefer to sidestep that and close out the interview with one last pitch about why I’m great for the role.
When they say, “Okay, I think that’s it. Is there anything else you’d like to ask us?”. Try saying something like, “I actually think you’ve covered everything! I think I would work really well here, and would love to have the chance to join your team and deliver an incredible experience to your customers.”
Are you applying for a casual job this year? I hope these tips are helpful and help you score that ultimate #sidehustle to help you reach your finance goals faster!
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