Columbia College–Lake of the Ozarks interview skills workshop featured in Lake Today newspaper

This article appeared in the Sept. 7th issue of the Lake Today newspaper:

Students, alumni get an edge on interviewing
By Dianne Steingrubey

Will Arnett talks with Dan Gomez-Palacio from the Grossnickle Career Services Center following the workshop.
Will Arnett talks with Dan Gomez-Palacio from the Grossnickle Career Services Center following the workshop.

Columbia College–Lake of the Ozarks hosted its second ‘Tools for our Times’ workshop on Thursday, focusing on interview skills at its Osage Beach campus. More than 32 students, alumni, faculty and staff attended the two-hour event designed to help individuals develop quality interview skills and address several other career-related topics.

Dan Gomez-Palacio and Reyhan Jamerson from the Grossnickle Career Services center.
Reyhan Jamerson, coordinator of employment services of Grossnickle Career Services Center, featured a presentation on resources available to students and alumni of Columbia College through the Grossnickle Career Services Center as they look to secure a career. She explained the Career Services Center offers assistance in many areas including resumes and cover letters, job and internship search strategies, interviewing techniques, career and major exploration and graduate school information. During the presentation, Reyhan also highlighted several online resources that are linked to the college’s website. One of those websites is InterviewStream, a web-based video interviewing practice system.
“A student can go on there (InterviewStream) and actually practice an interview before they go in for a real interview,” Reyhan said. “It’s a chance for them to practice online and then watch themselves back and they can evaluate themselves. They can also send it to a faculty member or one of us in the career center, and we can evaluate it for them. It’s a great opportunity for them to be able to practice those skills. There’s an assessment piece in there too so students can assess themselves in different categories.”
Another website she mentioned is CougarCareerNetwork (CCNet), an online recruiting system that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Students and alumni can use CCNet to create a personal profile, build a resume, view and apply for jobs and internships and register for events and information sessions. Employers can use CCNet to create employer profiles, post jobs and internship opportunities, view student resumes and register for career fairs.

Students Jan McNurlin (left) and Carla Fisher role play different situations that might come up during an interview.

For the interviewing skills portion of the workshop, Dan Gomez-Palacio, assistant director of Grossnickle Career Services Center, began the presentation with a strength dictating exercise. He asked attendees to write down two personal strengths and then give examples of how they have demonstrated these strengths. He then asked for everyone to practice selling their personal strengths by role playing with other attendees.
“When interviewing, you have to be the one to tell them your strengths and you have to sell them on your brand,” Gomez-Palacio said. “We see a lot of people either on their resume or in an interview that will just say something very vague like ‘I have great customer service skills.’ Just because you say it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got it. You need to prove it and you prove it by example.”

Gomez-Palacio also gave tips on what interviewees should do before an interview, interview etiquette and how to conduct a phone interview. Furthermore, he explained direct, behavioral and case-method/case-based interview questions and how to answer each type. He noted that behavioral questions are more popular with professional recruiters and advised using a three step process called a S.A.R. which means describe the (s)ituation, dictate the (a)ction you took and convey the (r)esult.
The final section of the presentation encouraged students to dress properly for an interview. For women he recommended a conservative suit, limited jewelry, manicured nails, sparse make-up and perfume and a portfolio or briefcase. For men, he recommended a solid color suit with a conservative tie, dark socks, professional shoes, a neat professional hairstyle and neatly trimmed nails.
Following the presentation, the presenters answered questions and attendees enjoyed a catered-in lunch.
After the workshop, 2010 alumnus John LaVanchy said there were some resources mentioned in the class he didn’t know that Columbia College offered.

“I’ve checked out the Career Services site before, but there are a couple things I kind of overlooked,” Lavanchy said. “Being able to get more familiar with what services are available and where to go from there was most beneficial to me.”

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