U of O Career Services hosts first speed interviewing workshop

Release Date: 3/9/2011

So you've done it. You've gotten your degree after four years of hard work. You've made a lot of sacrifices, taken a lot of tests, read a lot of books. What next?

If you’re like most students, you're ready hit the job market running and land that first big job -- which means going to a lot of interviews. But what can you do if you don’t know how to interview well?

Recently 15 Ozarks students had the chance to get in some realistic practice when Career Services hosted its first speed interviewing workshop.

“What we did was invite representatives of local businesses to come in and interview our students as if they were hiring them for a job,” said Career Services Director and Student Support Services Program Coordinator Kimberly Spicer. “We divided everyone into three groups and gave each interview pair ten minutes. When the time was up, I rang the bell and everyone rotated to the next interviewer. That way each student had a chance to experience different styles of interviewing, and practice their own interview skills.”

Ana Hernandez interviews with Anna Havener of Simmons First Bank.

Junior Environmental Studies major Ana Hernandez interviews with Anna Havener of Simmons First Bank during the U of O’s recent speed interviewing workshop. Representatives of local businesses gave 15 students a chance to hone their job interviewing skills during the event.

Representatives were on hand from Hanes, Johnson Regional Medical Center, Community Service, Inc., Regions Bank, Clarksville Medical Group, Clarksville Light & Water, Baldor Electric, Simmons First Bank, Arkansas Valley Electric, First Security Bank, the U of O, Arvest Bank, Clarksville First United Methodist Church, and the Wal-Mart Distribution Center.

Mayra Hoch, a senior accounting and management/administration major and assistant to the director of career services, said she originally suggested the idea during a brainstorming session for events for the spring semester. “I thought we might host events other than the career fair – which is March 17!” she added with a smile.

Spicer said although the event had been in the works for awhile, it all fell into place during during the past month. “Now I’ll take the forms filled out by the interviewers and follow up with the students,” she said. “Once I read through them, I can offer to do further mock interviews with anyone who would like to do one, especially if there were specific areas for improvement noted in the forms.”

Michael Minnear of Wal-Mart Distribution Center said he was glad to respond to the invitation from Career Services. “As human resources office manager I was glad to do it,” he said. “It’s a chance to get out into the community and give back, plus it broadens my own horizons.” Minnear added there were so many good résumés he wished he’d come earlier and had time to look them over more carefully.

Student Ana Hernandez said she enjoyed the experience. “It was very helpful getting to know more about their companies,” she said. “They provided really good feedback to us, which will certainly help us down the road when we’re doing the real thing. I definitely felt I learned something – gaining confidence, getting practice in interviews.”

Beyond the job fair March 17, Career Services will hold two webinars for students, one on professional online networking, and the other featuring Donald Asher, an internationally acclaimed author of ten books and speaker specializing in careers and higher education.   Dates for these events will be announced after the events are finalized.