Growing a career starts with an interview
After weeks of rehearsing good answers to questions and mastering confident body language, Hillsboro High School’s junior class braced for their first formal job interviews between Oct. 8 and 22.
“We had a big class practice where we had a whole bunch of random questions that we had to ask each other,” student Deon Weeks said. “I also went through and wrote down some answers that I found on mine, just so I would be prepared for when I got asked. It helped a lot.”
“We had to make eye contact, shake hands, and improvise because we had no idea what the questions would be,” another student, Moriah Jost, said. “It was a really good experience.”
The class of 42 also prepared resumes listing their experience and skills, usually gained through summer or part-time jobs as well as hobbies.
“That was the first time I’ve actually had to submit it to someone and have them look at it before an interview,” Jost said.
Cooperative Grain and Supply, Emprise Bank, Hillsboro Community Hospital, Hillsboro Hardware, Marion County Record, Legacy Eyecare, Mama C’s, Parkside, Tabor College, and the school district office all had employers participate.
When the day for interviews finally came, many students didn’t know who would be interviewing them, having been given several options in case schedules didn’t work out. This raised anxiety for many already-nervous students.
“Most of us had our first choice, but some of us got our second,” student Alana Suderman said.
Suderman and classmates Tylee Miller and Lane Rogers said they struggled with maintaining eye contact, sitting up straight, and not fidgeting during the interviews.
“I think I got to sit up straight in the start of the interview, but near the end, I was fidgeting with my fingers a lot,” Suderman said.
“Usually, I’m very introverted, so I was afraid I was going to slip up and say the wrong thing,” Jost said. “I surprised myself: I did a lot better than I thought I’d do.”
According to each of the students, the experience helped build their confidence for future interviews.
“It really helped boost my confidence in talking to people in general, just because I had never really done anything like that,” Weeks said.
When giving feedback, employers at Legacy Eyecare, Tabor College, and Mama C’s struggled to pick just one student to hire from the ones they interviewed. One employer said they wanted to contact students when they next had job openings.
Two students were hired by the companies they were practicing with.
Suderman received a job application from Tabor College after her interview. Her dream job is being a flight attendant, however.