OSWEGO, NY â€“ Scores of Oswego High School students got a taste of real job interviews Wednesday as several local professionals “interviewed” the teens.
The world of academics and the business community came together for a “Meet Your Local Employer Day.” The program is in its 11th year at OHS.
The interviewers represented a variety of businesses including the Oswego Police Department, ARISE, AmeriCorps, the Youth Bureau, Novelis, the US Marines, Carpenters Local 747, Oswego County Today and others.
The interviews, conducted in the Media Center, were treated as the real thing by the professionals and the students.
The professionals said they were impressed with the way the students handled the situation.
The program has been conducted for the past several years, and is designed to allow OHS seniors to get a real world work experience with interview techniques, according to Ed Stacy, one of the teachers involved in the program.
“The interview is a good experience for them. It shows them what they need for a successful interview to get them on the right track to, hopefully, land a job,” he said. “It gives them a little heads up as to what is likely to occur. It’s easier when someone has already grilled you on this before you go into an actual job interview cold; you know what to expect.”
They handled themselves very well and were focused on what they were looking to do, added Ben Richardson, another teacher involved in the project. Also taking part were students from Ben Hall’s class.
The teachers said that they realize the importance of students interviewing well, not only for jobs but college as well.
They developed the program to simulate real life job interviews.
The students dressed appropriately and many brought resumes and portfolios.
The teens received feedback from the interviewers.
“The interview is important, but this program also provides students the opportunity to learn about a variety of career and job opportunities,” Richardson said. “We encourage the students to experience more than one interview. They just might find something they’re interested in that they hadn’t been aware of before.”
“All of the students I interviewed were very well prepared. They were very enthusiastic and have some bright prospects in their futures,” said Gary Toth of the Carpenters’ union.
“It’s quite possible that many of them will find employment rather quickly. This is a great program. Not only does it give the kids the skills they need for a good interview, but it puts the employers and potential employees together. We both benefit.”
Kathleen Anderson said she has a productive first interview (with Kathy Andolina of AmeriCorps).
“It went great. I was a little more nervous than I thought I’d be, but it went better than I thought,” the OHS senior said.
Her sister works for AmeriCorps, she said, explaining why she decided to interview with Andolina first.
“When I saw the name, I was immediately drawn to that. Also, I work a lot with kids. I enjoy working with kids.”
She said Andolina told her about other opportunities to work with youth, at places like Camp Hollis and the Oswego YMCA Armory.
“We appreciate everyone coming in and sharing their expertise with the students,” Richardson said.
Many of the interviewers had taken part in other “Meet Your Local Employer Days,” Richardson noted. There were also some fresh faces, he said.
For one of Wednesday’s interviewers, it was a homecoming.
Christine Clemmons, of Oswego Health, sat in the interviewer’s chair Wednesday. Just a couple years ago, the OHS grad was on the other side of the table.
“It’s great to be giving back. I graduated from here and stayed in Oswego, going to SUNY Oswego,” she said. “So when they asked me if I wanted to come in and do some mock interviews it was awesome because now I’m on the other side of things. I have taken what I’ve learned over the years and am sharing with the students. It felt kind of strange, at first, to be the one actually doing the interview this time.”
The students she interviewed did very well, she said, adding, “They were very well prepared. There were a couple that probably could have done a little more preparation. But, for the most part, they were very well prepared and confident.”