Anita Jordon and Dorrissa Whitley, of Hampton Roads Sanitation District, interview King’s Fork High senior Janal McCleod during Thursday’s Career Expo at the downtown Hilton Garden Inn. The annual event gives career and technical education students from Suffolk’s public schools the opportunity to hone their interview skills.
Anita Jordon and Dorrissa Whitley, of Hampton Roads Sanitation District, interview King’s Fork High senior Janal McCleod during Thursday’s Career Expo at the downtown Hilton Garden Inn. The annual event gives career and technical education students from Suffolk’s public schools the opportunity to hone their interview skills.

Archived Story

Students practice job interviews

Published 9:23pm Friday, April 19, 2013

About 225 seniors experienced the nervousness of a job interview, many for the first time, during Suffolk Public Schools’ 22nd annual Career Expo on Thursday.

Held at the downtown Hilton Garden Inn, the event incorporated representatives from about 25 companies, who put students through their paces with mock interviews.

“One thing it does is boost their self-confidence,” said Gail Bess, the district’s career and technical education coordinator.

Tiffany Lewis, a senior at King’s Fork High School, said she emerged from the event with a new awareness of the importance of integrity in the workplace.

“An eye-catching resume is (also) very important,” she added. “Workplace-ready is one of the biggest assets you can have today.”

Lewis also learned about dressing for an interview. “Open-toe shoes are not professional,” she said. “(But) it’s very professional to wear a blazer.”

Good colors to dress in, she said, are black, gray and navy blue.

“Never give up on anything,” is the message Alante Cooley, another King’s Fork High School senior, came away with. “Anything can happen.”

During the event, students presented their resumes to interviewers and, after each interview, were presented with a sheet highlighting their strengths and suggesting how they could improve.

“They give the students immediate feedback,” Bess said. “We will see students in the corner looking over comments in preparation for the next interview.”

Next week, teachers will start targeting lessons based on the feedback, Bess said.

In some cases, according to Bess, the interviews may not have been quite so “mock.” “Some of them may be looking for summer employment,” she said. “One company has shared some summer internship positions with students.”

For the first time this year, Bess continued, students were able to practice interviewing with two members of the Career and Technical Education Advisory Council.

Beverly Nedab, human resources manager for BASF, said students seemed better prepared this year.

“They come more confident and are able to express themselves and articulate their desires,” she said.

Bob Barton, president of Beach Ford, said students seemed to be “very goal-driven.”

“We have actually come across a few resumes we’d like to contact for possible employment,” he said.

“It’s a great experience that I know I didn’t grow up with. It’s an opportunity you usually don’t see until you get into college years.”

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