Learning skills:

AHS seniors get experience with job interview process

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Director Jim Klarich conducts a mock job interview with Alpena High School student Abigail Treece. The interviews Friday were part of the career readiness training program at the school that is done through the chamber.

ALPENA — Seniors at Alpena High School are participating in the career readiness training through the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce and Friday some took part in mock job interviews.

Local professionals posed as employers and conducted an interview, and the students a potential new employee. Chamber President/CEO Jackie Krawczak said the program helps to prepare for being a part of the workforce. She said a big part of that is making sure they are equipped to perform well in face-to-face job interviews.

“Having good interview skills is important, and unfortunately technology and cell phone use trends have hurt face-to-face communication skills,” Krawczak said. “Them getting to practice and sharpen these skills now can only help them because they can make or break their job situation later.”

After arriving in the commons for their interviews the students introduced themselves to the interviewer and some presented resumes outlining an educational, employment and volunteer history. Then the questioning began.

Each student was asked to tell a little about themselves and explain why they want to go into their selected field of employment, as well as why they believe they are the best candidate for the position.

Krawczak said the questions were crafted by the chamber and centered around their career choice, but there were some questions all of the students needed to answer.

Those questions included how they would resolve conflicts at work and how well they will be a team player. Some of the students also were asked if there was anything they would be embarrassed by on their social media accounts that a potential employer could see.

The seniors in the program who did not take part in the job interviews met in classrooms and other volunteers talked about how important interviews are and what impact being well prepared has.

“These are all people who have hired and fired before and they will give tips and talk about some of their experiences and help them now what to do and what not to do,” Krawczak said.

Next week the students will meet in the auditorium for a “You’ve been hired, no what” session that will help students to negotiate a salary, benefit packages and learn more about what is expected of them once work begins.

Krawczak said the program will be capped off with local business owners and managers coming to the school and possibly hiring some of the students.

“Businesses that typically hire or are hiring will be here to interview the students for what is basically a real life interview,” she said.

Krawczak said kids who are not taking part in the hands-on interviews should reconsidered and she said parents should encourage their children to do so. She said the chamber deals with businesses every day and they have noticed a decline in quality interviews, which makes hiring quality employee difficult.

“Our businesses are telling us this and there is a real need for people to have better interview skills,” Krawczak said. “They say people don’t shake hands, don’t dress appropriately, use bad grammar and spell words wrong on their application or resume and just aren’t prepared. Parents should really push for their child to do this because it is very important.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.