WALLENPAUPACK - Professional life experiences were gained at Wallenpaupack Area High School recently. More than 40 juniors chose to present themselves on paper and in person, during three, eight-minute mock interviews, with a range of professionals from the Lake Region.

An Attorney from Waymart, Chris Farrell said he would have “absolutely” hired Sean Hubner because of the student’s work experience thus far in life. After hearing Hubner tell how he has spent summers working with his father, Farrell believes the junior has already received “valuable lessons” that many other adults and students “will never learn.” The work experience Hubner has already, has put him far ahead of many other students because he is also working at McDonalds. Experience, many times overshadow what’s on a resume, Farrell said. After speaking with the students, the interviewers remarked on how the students did, and in his review, Farrell wrote that Hubner is a “fine young man that has incredible attributes, with a laser like focus that will take him far in life.”

After speaking with a student interested in culinary, Gina Lecce from Settlers Hospitality said the student did “very well.” But, she would have liked a handshake at the start and end of the interview because she feels that starts the meeting with “positive enforcement” and it “seals the interview process” while also making the professional “feel comfortable.” The student, Leece would have hired even though she was shy, but she could have started working in the back of the house. 

By speaking with students, Marketing Consultant Troy Bystrom said he expected to get an idea of the “type of person” they were, while also figuring the “kind of asset” they would be. He wanted to see traits that included being a team player and problem solver, since not all challenges have simple solutions. The students he met, Bystrom said were “well-rounded” with many who had ideas for their futures and others who shared their uncertainties about their future careers. Sharing that information, Bystrom noted wasn’t an issue because they had plans in place to discover what they wanted by job shadowing or getting involved with programs to gain experience.

Overall, Bystrom would have hired all of the students, because their interpersonal skills and professionalism was “really good.” The students’ knowledge of multiple computer programs was good, but he would like to see more familiarity with Adobe, because such experience would “strengthen their resumes.” With the students already seriously considering their futures and not taking their summer jobs lightly, that Bystrom was impressed about. The only weakness he found with several students was formatting issues on their resumes. Having a solid resume is important he said, because as a potential employer a correctly organized resume shows if the individual is able to “pay attention to detail.” Of the seven students he interviewed, Bystrom actually had comments on five of the resumes regarding the formatting.

Joseph Hudak, from Kiley Associates LLC as well as a retired Pennsylvania State Trooper said, after interviewing two students they had done well, because they were prepared and asked “appropriate questions.” As well, the students weren’t shy, instead they were “engaging” which he found to be “very impressive.” Simply, Hudak said he would have hired the students because of their qualities and their interest in math. It was their personalities though, that sealed the deal because as a civil engineer, there are many public meetings and needing the ability to present oneself publicly, which Hudak felt the students did well. He felt, however, that some students need to work on body language. He acknowledged though, that such mindfulness comes with experience.

Cindy Cartwright and Joan Mckinsey of Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health met with many students and overall, the women found the students to be very well prepared with good resumes, solid interviewing skills and ready to answer questions, as well as some students presented the women with their own questions. There were some “typical teen things” that included talking too fast and using words such as ‘like’ that need work, said Mckinsey. Also, there were a few “a little too prepared” as they had information they wanted to share, but it didn’t fit the questions. That though, is “pretty typical.”

Farrell said the students were “incredible,” which he found to be “refreshing” since they were young and “full of life and dreams.” The students’ preparedness, Farrell believed demonstrated how the Wallenpaupack educators were “going above and beyond” to teach the students about life. It was the students’ “pose” and “focus” that Farrell found to be impressive, in part because he hadn’t found a grammatical error on the resumes. Instead, he met students who had ambitions and many knew what they wanted, which he said was “impressive for juniors in high school.”

After meeting three professionals in fields she is interested in, Phoebe Cykosky said the interviews were a “good experience” because the conversations allowed her to “narrow in” on her interests. At this time, Cykosky isn’t sure if she wants to be a lawyer or work for the FBI, and so, speaking with a state trooper and attorney she found to be helpful. Cykosky was told, that when she speaks, she should focus more on what she wants to say before quickly responding to questions.

Jake Liddy said he decided to participate in the mock interviews to gain experience for his future. The interviews, he felt would be a “great experience” since they would provide him with “firsthand knowledge” of professional interviews. Although he had been interviewed before, the mock interviews were “far more professional,” and while they were intimidating at first, he soon learned that the interviewers were “just another person to talk to” he said. From the interviews, Liddy learned that a “confident approach” is necessary as is remembering the interview is really just a conversation “between two people.”