Thursday, May 30, 2013

WHS Sophomores Participate in Job Acquisition Skills Interviews

More than 40 community members and 200 Washougal High School (WHS) sophomores recently took part in the WHS's annual JAS Interviews (Job Acquisition Skills-pronounced JAZZ).
The process begins with students selecting a hypothetical job they feel they are qualified for.  These include mowing lawns, work in fast food restaurants or retail.  Many students are 15-16 years old and have never been employed.

Through their English classes, students prepare a portfolio that includes a cover letter, resume, references, and an application.  WHS Career Specialists also coach the students on how to best present themselves with a strong hand shake, eye contact, smiles, and dressing properly.   This all culminates with a 15 - 20 minute 'mock' interview by local business and community professionals.

“The experience definitely helps prepare these students for a real job interview,” said Marsha Spencer, WHS Career Specialist.  “There is a lot of pressure and the kids come prepared.”   The interviewer gives student immediate feedback on how well they presented themselves.  They will even let the student know if they would hire them. “Our community members who help with this are fantastic,”  Spencer added.  “Many come back each year and are very good at giving the kind of interview experience and feedback that is useful for the students.”
Community Member Rose Jewell interviews WHS Sophomore Mauro Gonzalez.  Photo by Jared Freeman.

According to Spencer, it is the extra confidence or lessons learned from the experience that could make the difference in finding that first job.