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West County seniors hone job interview skills

West County High School seniors had a chance to hone their interview skills Thursday during a Career Day program at the school.

Usually, students in the area travel to Mineral Area College for a chance to speak with professionals about their careers and learn what employers are looking for in an applicant. But West County parent and Remax/Best Choice Realtor Angela Huff thought the students would benefit from a smaller program that allowed one-on-one communication.

&#8220The kids feel more comfortable in the smaller groups,” West County Counselor Jennifer Seabourne said. &#8220They ask more questions.”

Huff organized the program, which included representatives of 17 businesses who set up booths and spoke with students on the upper floor of the high school gymnasium. In the morning, the 76 seniors participated in mock interviews and met with representatives in small groups to discuss tips for getting a job. During the afternoon, the students learned about the different careers represented at Career Day.

Students said they enjoyed the mock interviews and learned tips for success.

&#8220The MAC lady (Darlene Pogue) explained a lot,” said Meagan Caldwell. &#8220She said know what your strengths are and know your weaknesses.”

When asked about weaknesses, Meagan Zereshki learned, &#8220Cover them up with your strengths and let them know you want the job. If you have no experience, tell them you are willing to learn and gain experience.”

Krista Archers said she will keep her hands still on job interviews as a result of the critique she received.

&#8220I would always sit there and play with whatever was in my hands because I was nervous,” she explained.

Rhonda Overberg of Remax/Best Choice conducted three individual interviews and worked with a group of 15 students.

&#8220I think they did well at presenting themselves, and they’re very confident,” she said. &#8220I think they need to work on goal setting for the future and decide what they really want to achieve.”

Troy Mullet of Sullivans motorcycle equipment apparel also held mock interviews. The students did well in all but one area, he said.

&#8220The biggest place they need to improve is life skills such as how to approach situations that come up at work,” Mullet said. &#8220For example, how do you deal with an angry customer? When I asked them, their faces looked like deer caught in a headlight.”

Mullet explained to the students that their answers should involve steps to diffuse the anger such as making eye contact, listening to the customer and sympathizing with their concerns.

High School Principal Eric Moyers was pleased with the program.

&#8220The kids have responded well,” he said. &#8220I’ve heard them say a lot of good things.”

Angela Huff was pleased with the support the program received from area businesses. Eventually, she would like to implement the program in other St. Francois County high schools.

Moyers thanked the businesses who supported the school by attending the event. He also praised Huff for her efforts.

&#8220We appreciate all her hard work,” he said. &#8220It is wonderful to have a parent step forward and say, ‘I want to do this for the school district.’”

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