Students learn interview skills

Haley Gustafson | Daily Press Doug Leisenring, Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District (DSISD) superintendent, performs a mock interview session with Gladstone High School students Tuesday at the high school. During the program, which was hosted by the Delta County College Access Network (DCCAN), two 40 minute group interviews took place, followed by some individual interviews.

GLADSTONE — Gladstone High School students were given the chance to practice job-seeking skills by being part of a mock interview process Tuesday. Area professionals conducted group and individual interviews with the students. The session was hosted by Gladstone High School and Delta County College Access Network (DCCAN).

According to Kathy Becker, director of DCCAN, a number of local professionals came to Gladstone High School Tuesday to conduct the interviews and offer tips to students on how to become a better ­interviewee.

“I think it’s gone excellent,” she said. “I’ve only received positive feedback.”

Becker said as part of preparing for the interviews, the students created a resume and will be sending out formal thank you notes following the sessions. The students prepared the resumes and thank you notes with their English 12 teachers, Jeanne Pearson and Nicky Wangrud.

In addition, Andy Cretens, who works at Gladstone High School as a DCCAN career/college advisor, assisted in getting local professionals to come to the school and being a part of the program, noted Becker.

During the group interviews, students and professionals took part in two 40-minute interviews, said Becker. Area professionals included superintendents, skilled trades workers, medical professionals, college administrators and others.

Becker said the mock interviews were meant to not only prepare the students for future job opportunities, but to give them a chance to network and work on conducting their life as if it was a real interview.

Gladstone Senior Tony Alexander said he thought the interviews went better than he expected.

“I thought it went really well,” he said, adding that because it was a group interview, it gave him and other students the chance to feed off of someone’s confident energy if a student felt nervous, along with building answers from another student’s response.

Alexander noted that at first he was nervous, but thanks to this program, he feels he will be more prepared for the near future as he heads to higher education and a career.

“I was nervous, but this made me a lot more confident,” he said.

Some advice the professionals gave Alexander was to make sure to create adequate eye contact with the interviewer, presenting oneself as a confident leader and watching what someone puts on their social media sites.

After graduation, Alexander wants to attend the University of Utah to study computer science.

One area professional, Jessica LaMarch, who is the admissions director at Bay College in Escanaba, said the students did a wonderful job.

LaMarch said these types of exercises are important for area youth looking toward the future because it allows them to practice their soft skills, such as communication, along with working on their job skills.

“The more you practice, the more you get,” she said, noting most of the time, a person doesn’t get to know what they did right or wrong in an interview. During the sessions, though, LaMarch was able to give tips to the students on what to work on and what to keep doing.

“That’s a beautiful thing,” she said.