BENNINGTON -- Students from Mount Anthony Union High School participated in a job interview workshop this week, designed to teach them skills necessary to successfully navigate the early stages of a search for employment.
Held at Evans' News on Main Street, the workshop was organized by Judith Pennock and Kathi Marcoux, both longtime former educators in the community, and Bennington natives.
A dozen students enrolled in field study and community service programs in grades 10 through 12 at Mount Anthony watched two skits performed by Pennock and Marcoux. The first highlighted the mistakes that are often made in an interview setting, and the second demonstrated a successful job interview.
"There is a disconnect between students and the community," said Pennock, office manager at Evans' News. "We decided to do what we could in a small way."
By targeting youth who may not have had their first job yet, or who are unsure of the best way to approach potential employers, both women hoped to teach basic concepts.
Students discussed the importance of being on time for an interview, dressing appropriately, maintaining professional body language and eye contact, being comfortable discussing strengths and weaknesses, being familiar with the company they are applying to and preparing to ask good questions.
"It's really tough to get your first job sometimes," said George Krawczyk, owner of Evans' News, who started working for the company at age 15.
"I bet we have trained more than a hundred kids here over the years," said Krawczyk, noting that for many it was their first work experience.
Entertaining the students with real-life examples, Marcoux recounted a time she was interviewing a candidate for a teaching assistant position and, for lack of a better place to put her gum, the interviewee indiscreetly added it to the underside of the table.
"I think we were able to connect with the kids," Marcoux said. "I hope they have something new to think about."
All students joined in the critique and discussion, with comments including, "It was fun but I also learned a lot."
The group was led by Brooke Remington, Mount Anthony Union school-to-work director. A spring semester workshop is planned for January.
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