"With the growing complexity of the world and the increasing demands of the 21st-century workforce, there is little question that all students should graduate from high school fully prepared for college and careers."
College and career readiness standards have become the driving force behind the new education initiatives. As a result, students in Junie Eimiller's English classes received a first-hand account of how to get career-ready when Ken Monaco, High School Services Coordinator from Bryant & Stratton College, spent two days engaging them in an in-depth presentation on interviewing skills.
Twelfth-grade students listen as Ken Monaco of Bryant & Stratton College presents information on good interviewing skills.
"As a human resources specialist, Ken has spent over 10 years interviewing job applicants and brings a lot of first-hand experience to the table," says Eimiller. "He offers valuable information and personal narratives about the skills needed to succeed during the job application process."
Monaco compared interviewing to the sales process as job applicants are selling their abilities to prospective employers. He stressed that little things mean a lot. From quoting Vince Lombardi - "If you are on time, you are late"-to stories about interviews, Monaco offered a variety of tips:
Make sure the message you leave on your answering machine projects the kind of person an employer would want to hire.
Leave your cellphone in your car; it can disrupt and distract the interviewer.
Social media can be your downfall; a lot of prospective employers will judge you based on what is on profiles. Questionable photos and comments can cost you a job. Think about what you put there.
Setting your Facebook to "private" doesn't mean a thing. Employers have ways of looking at your profiles.
Treat everybody you meet -from the secretary to the maintenance man - with respect. You never know who someone is or what influence he/she may have.
Be a good time manager; anticipate the unexpected so that you will not be late.
The interview process starts the minute you walk in the door. First impressions count - both in personal life and in business. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Do research on the company; show that you are staying current and are interested in them.
Be confident but not cocky; there's a fine line between the two. Don't promise things you can't deliver.
Always be professional (even if you know the person interviewing you).
Give a firm handshake. A handshake shows character: A firm handshake means firm handshake (not a fist bump nor a wet noodle). Don't loosen your handshake for female executives.
Eye contact is important. Look people in the eyes; when you look away, you are either very unsure of your answer or you are lying.
Avoid controversial topics like politics and religion.
Dress for Success: Look your best from your head to your toes. If you look 95 percent good and 5 percent bad, that 5 percent shows a lack of attention to detail. What if you ask someone to do a project for you and 95 percent is good and 5 percent is bad? When two candidates are equally qualified, appearance can make the difference.
Wear interview colors: blue, black and gray. You don't want what you are wearing to distract from what you are saying.
Stress the contributions you can make.
Following the presentations, students asked questions and responded positively.
"It was extremely interesting and informative; I learned a lot," praised senior Riley Rybicki. His classmate Emilia D'Angelo agreed: "I really liked the presentation; it was very educational."
According to senior Tristan May, "It made me more confident in what I should do for an interview." Likewise, Andy Bell reflected, "The information was very good, and I learned new key skills that will help me in the future."
Eimiller has maintained an ongoing relationship with Bryant & Stratton College for the past four years.
"Each year, the college offers a series of interactive high school workshops that are fun, free and valuable," says Eimiller. "They provide students with effective career preparation skills."
Bryant & Stratton College has campuses in Orchard Park, Buffalo and Amherst. For more information on the free high school workshops available, Ken can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 677-9500.