Student job-seekers get practice

Deborah Prescott | Daily Press Weyerhaeuser Lake States Area Manager Charlie Becker, left, speaks with senior students in the commons at the Gladstone High School. Students met with area professionals Tuesday to learn interview tips and how to have a good interview by performing mock interviews. The students were asked to dress appropriately for an interview and have questions ready for the interviewer. Students at the table are Annabelle Christie, Bryce Cooper, Kaleia Lawerence, Devin Rath and Aubreanna Servant.

GLADSTONE — Senior students from Gladstone Area Public Schools sharpened their job-seeking skills Tuesday during mock interviews with a panel of 21 local professionals.

Kathy Becker, director of the Delta County College Access Network (DCCAN), asked the professional panel to raise a hand if they were currently in a different career than the career they had right after high school. Every hand was raised. Becker noted throughout a person’s career, they may have many interviews.

The program was started by Jeannie Pearson, an English teacher at Gladstone, then was continued in 2012 by Becker. Many professionals think the mock interview program is a great way to help the next generation get a job in the community.

“This is our next generation and we need to help them to prepare to be successful,” said Darren Widder, workforce services manager at Michigan Works! in Escanaba. “We want them to get those jobs in our community. It’s also about making sure they’re aware of what’s gonna be here for them if they want to go right into the workforce or into college and then the workforce.”

Before the mock interviews, students created resumes and gathered references. They also came up with four questions to ask the professional at the mock interview. Students were asked to dress appropriately and jeans were allowed for students planning to work in the trades.

Becker provided interview tips to the students in the auditorium before they broke into groups. Some tips included having an appropriate email address, check your email for responses to applications, review a phone message and verify the voice message system is set up. Becker also noted keeping a resume up to date made interviewing easier and it is important to write a thank you note to the interviewee after the interview.

“Review your social media sites, because employers do,” said Becker. “Remember that people are always watching. The interview starts before you walk in and watch how you treat people.”

Students and professionals met in the commons and had two separate mock interview sessions. The students and professionals were assigned to the tables by Becker. Ten individual students were able to interview one on one with a professional after the group sessions.

Part of doing the mock interviews is to present senior students with opportunities in the community.

“I’ve been doing this for a number of years. I see the importance of helping to develop the next generation of employees in our community,” said Weyerhaeuser Lake States Area Manager Charlie Becker. “I see the potential and the opportunities out there.”

Students learned many interview tips from the mock interview panel of professionals.

“I learned how to present myself better in an interview, like body language and making eye contact and speaking clearly so they can understand you better,” said senior Clarissa Groleau.

VanAire Director of Environmental Solutions Jeff Torvinen, has been on both sides of an interview.

“There’s a lot of local manufacturing,” said Torvinen. “We’re helping them learn to promote and market themselves.”

There were 21 professionals that went to Gladstone from all backgrounds, human resources, finance, medical, manufacturing, transportation and others, all to help the next generation to achieve in the community.

“I learned that it’s ok to talk about yourself and not be afraid that it’s going to affect how other people see you,” said student Kaitlin Malanowski,

Becker has other mock interviews planned this spring at Bark River-Harris, Mid Peninsula and Big Bay De Noc schools.