Earlier this summer, some of my colleagues and I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in mock interviews at Wayzata High School’s Compass Program, through Best Prep. It was such a fun and rewarding experience for all of us, and one I’d highly recommend to you.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was one of those high school students—at once both excited and terrified for what the future held. While most of us would love to hop in a time machine to travel back in time and give our younger selves some valuable advice, time travel doesn’t appear to be in the cards any time soon. So, we may as well do the next best thing and share our expertise with the next generation of workers.
Not only will the experience of providing teenagers with some sound, time-tested advice help out the kids, but it will also help your ability to recruit future candidates.
Admittedly, we all were dreading conducting the mock interviews a bit. Like all recruiters, we’re busy. The idea of taking time out of the office and falling behind on work gave us all a slight pang of anxiety. We might have even grumbled about it as was we drove over to the high school. But that all changed from the moment we were greeted at the school, as it was clear right away that it was going to be a great experience.
The students greeted with wide smiles and escorted us to where the mock interviews took place. They were well prepped and professional from the get-go. Most were prepared with resumes and real-life questions about how to handle job interviews and particular questions. We were all impressed with the orchestration of this program.
In a time when our local government is cutting public school budgets and our growing labor market has created massive gaps in school staffing, both the educators and students of our community can use our help. The experience taught me that it’s time for all of us to step up. As a recruiter, that meant me helping mentor the future workforce.
What I Learned About the Next Generation of Workers
The opportunity to share your expertise with someone coming into the workforce and giving them an opportunity to ask questions and gain insights is mutually beneficial. Demographics of working age professionals are changing dramatically. We have a silver tsunami on the horizon as baby boomers are retiring in large numbers, causing a talent shortage of skilled and experienced workers to fill their roles. Companies are working in a variety of ways to shorten these gaps, but everyday professionals can help in so many ways.
When I was conducting mock interviews with the students, I was impressed by them. The kids were smart, tach savvy, diverse, and well prepared for the future. My team and I appreciated the range of responses and questions that the students threw at us. If our experience was a preview into the future generation of workers, our future is in good hands.
Two of the students in particular were really well prepared, from the standpoint that they wanted professional input. One had amazing questions about what is ok to ask in an interview and feedback on his style and background, as it relates to the workforce. He was well dressed, made sure to give a strong handshake, and maintained excellent eye contact.
Another student had great questions about how to effectively network and build off of what the work project that he was a part of. He also had a really keen sense of the type of work that he could do, to be successful and have a high level of job satisfaction.
A Few Hours of Your Time Can Make a Big Difference
Many schools have similar programs to the one we participated in, where professionals and students are matched. Time is spent mentoring students on business intel and connections, project management, and general real-world advice.
It seems to me that with achievement gaps and school-budget restraints, if every professional lends a few hours, over the course of a school year, we can help prepare the future workforce. It’s not difficult to share and learn from these amazing kids. There is something motivating about meeting a young professional who is going places!