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Hitting with a spoon? Deal Breaker. And other Interview Do’s & Don’ts you can learn from toddlers

A fun article in honor of the first day of OCR

You all should know by now that I LOVE NPR! Yup. I say it loud and I say it proud: I love NPR! I love it even more when I can use it for work (like we did when discussing Elevator Pitches). Well, courtesy of NPR comes yet another post from me, this time about preschoolers and interviewing. It really made me laugh. Then it made me feel bad for these little tykes. My preschool days were carefree bliss of making play dough (and of course taste testing it), playing on the jungle gym, visiting a local potter … you get the idea. But that’s not the case for all and In Manhattan, Preschool Interviews Induce Anxiety…be a little creative and you’ll see the parallels in the do’s & don’ts of interviewing in the article and maybe, just maybe, when you have children vying for spots in pre-school you’ll give the little guys a break…they are just 15 months.

So how does a 15-month-old ace an interview? Here are some highlights of the do’s and don’ts from the article:

Hitting with a spoon? Deal breaker. Also on the don’ts list: biting. On the do’s list, says Clark, if you find yourself being hit with a spoon, remain calm and try to ignore it. Other toddler do’s: If you see a toy you like — even if it’s all the way on the other side of the room — go for it.

“We don’t care if they know their letters, but we want to know if they’re curious about that truck that’s on the shelf because what draws them to that truck is going to be the same power, the same resilience, the same overcoming of fear that they’re going to have to rely on when they go on those job interviews, when they’re asking probing difficult questions if they’re a research scientist, when they are a doctor facing a difficult circumstance — or when they’re one of us going into a cocktail party where we know absolutely no one and we have to start a conversation,” says Gabriella Rowe, head of the Mandell School on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

But the most important piece of advice for toddlers: Keep you parents in check.

More do’s and don’ts for parents include: Do turn off your phone. Don’t bring in your Starbucks.

“Don’t hover over your child and try and forcibly get them to engage,” Rowe says. “Don’t jump in if they’re doing a certain activity and you think they’re doing it wrong. We’ve had moms who see a child putting a puzzle back incorrectly and they’ll jump down and say, ‘No, no, no. You’ve done it wrong.'”

Remember toddlers are allowed to throw tantrums. Parents are not.

“I had one just horrible, horrible circumstance where I had a mom sort of sneak her child when they melted down around the corner toward the bathroom and start yelling at them that they had to get it together,” Rowe says. “And it broke all of our hearts.”

Relax, Be Yourself And Flatter

One question Rowe gets a lot: What to wear to the interview? Business casual is not the right choice for a baby, although Rowe does see toddlers in suits and ties. Her advice is to dress your baby in something clean and comfortable. Same goes for you, too. “We will have parents who very clearly dressed up for the occasion of the interview, and it’s incredibly hard for them to get down on the rug with their very, very high heels and short skirt,” Rowe says. “This is a classroom for young children. You’re going to be on your knees. You’re going to be sitting crisscross applesauce. You should be prepared for that.” Clark says the truth is that it can be hard to assess whether such little kids are ready for school. Even after years of doing this, the decision can be random. Her main piece of advice — it’s the same advice you’d get for any interview — is try to relax, be yourself, and if all else fails, resort to flattery. “The child who will say things like, ‘I really like this school,'” Clark says. “It’s hard not to fall for that.”

Read the full story: In Manhattan, Preschool Interviews Induce Anxiety

[Copyright 2011 WNYC Radio]



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