The Bartow County College and Career Academy is seeking volunteers with a little time on their hands.
The academy needs professionals in the fields of cosmetology, health care, marketing, public safety, engineering, metals, video broadcasting and heating, ventilation and air conditioning to offer a few hours of their time to serve as interviewers at its third annual Image and Interview Days Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 to 11 a.m. and 12:45 to 2:30 p.m. Volunteers may choose the days and sessions they want to attend.
“Our students need real-world experience that allows them to practice and enhance their job-interview skills,” said marketing instructor Jamila Suber, who is organizing the event. “Students from all of our pathways have not only prepared cover letters and resumes, but they have practiced effective handshakes, learned about professional business attire and the art of the elevator pitch.”
Having practice interviews with industry professionals allows students to receive positive feedback that will enhance their skills and confidence, according to Suber.
“An outstanding interview is an essential component in the job-search equation,” she said. “Students have the chance to interface with community professionals and identify their own strengths and weaknesses. Mock interviews help students with presentation and public-speaking skills as well as self-confidence and business etiquette.”
Adairsville High senior Stuart Kelly Abernathy, who is in the marketing pathway, participated in last year’s interviews and learned tips that have already helped him in the working world.
“Last year, I interviewed, hoping to learn real-world experience on how to get a job,” he said. “It helped me learn how to conduct myself and led me to my current job. I think this experience is a great opportunity for everyone to participate in and learn. We are all of the age where we need to think about our future, and that requires knowing how to get and maintain jobs, and that starts with an interview.”
The 18-year-old said he was “nervous at first,” but that was because “it mirrored a real job interview.”
“This experience helped me to overcome the nervousness and focus on my actual job interview,” he said. “The toughest part was remembering how to conduct myself — give a good, firm handshake and make sure to make eye contact when speaking.”
The only qualification the volunteer interviewers need to meet is “be willing to give their time and expertise to help our students,” Suber said.
“Upon arrival at the academy, volunteers will be given sample interview questions, interview schedules and rubrics to score each student,” she said. “They will interview students from the pathways we offer: audio/visual broadcasting, cosmetology, engineering, health care, HVAC, marketing, metals and public safety.”
With roughly 500 students to be interviewed, Suber said she needs “as many volunteers as we can get.”
“Our goal is for all of our students, whether they are sophomores, juniors or seniors, to interview,” she said, noting only juniors and seniors participated in the past. “We have 250 students who come to the academy in the morning and 240 who come during the afternoon. We truly appreciate anyone who volunteers their time and talents for our students. The support of our community is imperative in shaping our future workforce.”
Fleurette Fitch, director of corporate quality — commercial division for Shaw Inc., volunteered last year to “help the students prepare for future interviews to enter college or the workforce.”
“As a previous hiring manager of entry-level positions, I am aware of the need to educate and prepare our future workforce,” she said. “I offered tips on how to highlight special skills and work experiences on their resumes and also how to highlight their strengths when responding to interview questions.”
Fitch’s interview questions were “behavior-based questions where I asked them to give me examples of their experiences,” she said, noting she could tell they had prepared ahead of time.
Abernathy said he thought the best part of the interview process was “the questions I was asked.”
“My interviewer gave me questions that related to my chosen pathway,” he said. “He wanted to know about the career I was pursuing. I gave solid, honest answers because I knew my career goals. ... I gave strong answers that I would be proud to tell anyone because I believe strongly in my working abilities.”
And he believes the weakest part for him was the length of his answers.
“It felt as if I have short answers instead of a well-thought-out answer,” he said.
Latest from Donna Harris
- Excel group visits four European countries in 13 days
- AES students bring history to life during annual Wax Museum
- SCMS Beta Club Treats for Troops drive ongoing
- Middle, high school students’ artwork showcased at Booth Western Art Museum
- BCBOE approves resolution opposing senior tax exemptions, lighting for new AES