Nothing can be quite so never-racking as a job interview.
Fortunately for 77 students at Kent County High School, the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education (MBRT) through the Next Generation Scholars Program offered them a chance to practice sitting in the interview chair with local notable professionals.
On Friday, Dec. 3, the students participated in mock interviews in the high school’s media center. Each one-on-one interview lasted 15 to 20 minutes.
“Interviews are what you have to do to get where you want to go,” said one of the participating students. “It was great!”
The interviews were organized by Aundra Anderson, senior coordinator of the Next Generation Scholars Program at Kent County High School. This is the second year MBRT has hosted mock interviews here.
“The goal of the event was to simulate a hiring environment and to get students comfortable with the idea of interviewing,” Anderson said. “The mock interview is a good experience because many of the students haven’t had jobs yet or haven’t had to do an interview, so they have no idea how to conduct themselves.”
Anderson helped students prepare for their interviews in the weeks prior. She visited English classes with local professionals and helped students craft winning résumés.
A dozen professionals from various industries and backgrounds — from the corporate boardroom to local businesses — met with the students. Among them were Sam Shoge, executive director of the Kent County Chamber of Commerce, and Carrie Douthit, human resources manager for Greenscapes Land Care; county government officials like Director of Economic and Tourism Development Jamie Williams and Local Management Board Director Rosemary Ramsey Granillo; and nonprofit leaders such as Darius Johnson of Kent Attainable Housing.
“I think the interviews have been wonderful,” Douthit said after one of her interviews in the media center. “It’s amazing.”
Each interviewer had the opportunity to share feedback with students. They scored the students in areas of professionalism, communication, interpersonal skills and on the content and organization of their résumés.
“I would hire her immediately. She will do well in anything she sets out to do,” wrote one interviewer of a Kent County High School student.
This was Williams’ first time getting to interview Kent County High School students in such a setting. She was impressed with the students and spoke with them about taking their résumés to the next level.
“Their interpersonal skills have been really impressive,” Williams said of the students.
Johnson, who comes from a background in the building trades, said he was amazed by the drive of the students he met. He said some were already learning trades and planning to start their own businesses after trade school.
“That’s a priceless mentality. It’s great to come here and see 16- and 17-year-olds with that drive,” Johnson said.