The Hamilton High School gymnasium was buzzing with nervous anticipation, Nov. 17, as students were getting ready to learn a much-needed skill, preparing for and completing a job interview. Students played out mock job interviews focusing on their desired choice of career.
The ninth through 12th grade students that participated in the mock interviews came prepared with knowledge of how to successfully go to a job interview. They had prepared resumes with the help of Ryan Kleinvachter, Jane Recht and many others. Many were dressed professionally and had filled out job applications for their career choice. With a great assortment of jobs that pertain to Anza as well as anywhere in the world, jobs such as mechanical assistant, construction assistant, military, sheriff cadet, junior photographer, dishwasher/fast food, animal tech, ranch hand were just a few of the 14 different categories.
A representative from Grand Canyon University was also in attendance for the event sharing information about the school for students interested in learning more about the programs offered there.
Students waited patiently for their turn at the interviews and answered a variety of questions designed to prepare them for when they would eventually go on an interview that would hopefully lead to employment within the community.
After the students went thru the job interview process they went back to class, forced to wait for the results of their interviews.
The judges rated the different “applicants” on their performance and then held a “call back” to work on students’ follow up skills. The students involved all received a certificate of participation and the top two from each category received a ribbon for either first or second place. All came up winners after participating in the event where they were able to learn first-hand about finding a job.
An unidentified student said as she came in that she was very nervous, but when she was leaving with her ribbon said, “I realize now there wasn’t anything to be nervous about, a job interview isn’t as hard as I thought it would be.”
The district wide competition was put on by Career and Technical Education. The students were judged on three components – resume with completed cover sheet prepared in advance, complete a job application day of in 30 minutes or less. and a 15-minute job interview.
Some of the volunteer judges included locals Jim Palmer for forest tech, Bud Elmore for mechanic’s assistant, Phil Canaday for computer tech, Brian McGowan for dishwasher/ fast food, Robert Cobb, for military enlistment, Raisa Stebbins and Marilyn Smith for floral clerk and plant sales and Maria Hernandez for nurse’s aide.
Many others were involved behind the scenes as well. Robyn Garrison stated that she “has been involved with the competition for quite a few years now, it is so good for the kids.”
Steven Packard, one of the judges, told the students that were called back for the follow up interview, “There is plenty of money out there to be had, you just have to do the hard work to go out and get it” and that their reputation was key.
“You will increase your opportunity if you, one, keep a good attitude, and two, always be prompt, five minutes early is always better than five minutes late, and remember the boss is the boss for a reason, do what they ask you to do,” Packard said.
Some of the winning students might be eligible for the statewide competition that takes place in Norco.
Afterward the judges and staff had a meeting to discuss how they can improve the competition for the future. Fewer students participated this year 70 to last year’s 100. They discussed how the students took it very seriously and they seemed to realize that interviewing is an executive function.
It was a positive experience for all involved.