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Preparing New Job-Seekers for the First Interview
A California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) business faculty member was invited to join an existing partnership between volunteers from the local Professionals in Human Resources Association (PIHRA) and the Southern California Regional Occupational Center (So Cal ROC).
The core activity is for CSUDH service-learning students planning careers in human resources (HR) to role-play mock job interviews of high school students to prepare them for the real-world experience. Although the CSUDH students had little or no interviewing experience themselves, their service-learning (SL) class assignments included suggesting questions to ask and planning how to adjust their approach for highly anxious interviewees. In addition, they were given a script to follow when they interviewed several So Cal ROC students.
Throughout the project, professionals from PIHRA and So Cal ROC helped to design questions for interviews and for feedback questionnaires. Both the CSUDH interviewers and their “job-seekers” received help and feedback, and one group of high school-aged students wrote reflection papers.
The co-researchers observed apparent increases in the confidence and comfort levels of both student groups practicing interviews as each group learned the skills they would need in their respective roles.
This community SL project suggests future research questions to test anecdotal observations. Short surveys of the high school students and reflections from the HR professionals and college students revealed how very intimidating the interview process is to the students, but also how rewarding this project is to HR students as an authentic real-world experience. These results suggest institutionalizing this project at CSUDH and expanding it to similar community agencies.
Thomas Norman, Management and Marketing
California State University, Dominguez Hills
Rachel Tobin, Ball Corporation
Vikki Westerkov, Southern California Regional Occupational Center
Key words: Human Resources, high school, Southern California, employment/job training