By Estefania Magdalena | Staff Writer

Since the pandemic began, the job market has become more competitive because more people are looking for a job. Knowing how to stand out when applying for a job is crucial because everyone tries to look outstanding and put in the effort to really show how much value they can offer to the employer.

In case of success and if the resume is approved, it is even more important to demonstrate all of the above during the job interview. For this reason, on Wednesday, Dec. 2, from 2 p.m to 3 p.m, the Employment Prep Center (EPC) in collaboration with the Lama Library, will hold the last online SOS Career Workshop Series of the year. 

Facilitated by Kamehameha Schools, the workshop will be showing students different strategies to overcome fears when having a job interview, as well as learning to respond to the typical questions of a job interview to get hired.

In order to assist to the workshop, students can join the Live Zoom presentation here and type “interview” as password. For more information, contact the Employment Prep Center here

The SOS Career Workshop Series program is made up of 4 different workshops that represent the process that someone who aspires to a job must follow to be successful. The workshops are developed each semester and address important topics related to employment, for example, preparing for a fair job, learning how to write resumes, job searching, and job interviews.

“I look at a job search as a process,” said Su Lazo, the interim counselor and coordinator at the Employment Prep Center. “I think it is important to understand that even before the interview, it is important having a great resume. The interview is great for people who got into that round, but there’s another round you have to pass before in order to get the interview. That is why the resume is a crucial tool to make sure that you show the employer that you have value, and that makes you stand out, so that you can get an interview.”

Going to a job interview supposes a feeling of uncertainty for students, which can often generate anxiety about looking like a fool, not answering questions assertively, or simply not knowing how to talk about themselves. The objective of  “Conquer the Job Interview” workshop is to share with students strategies to gain more confidence when attending a job interview so they can be successful and get the job they aspire to.

The workshop will be presented by Jessica Cameros, recruiter with Kamehameha Schools, and Tara Miyashiro, a recruitment administrator with Kamehameha Schools for three years. Lazo said that Kamehameha Schools is one of the largest and most prominent job recruiters in Hawaiʻi, so this workshop represents a great opportunity for students to listen to some positions available at Kamehameha Schools and also for networking.

“I hope students will walk away understanding what to do and how to prepare for interviews, like specific steps you can take to prepare for an interview, how to answer general interview questions, and then what to do after an interview, because once you are interviewed it is not done yet, you have to follow up with the employer,” Lazo said. “That’s pretty standard.”

She said that all companies have a different recruiting process, so what each employer considers valuable when hiring is subjective. What students can do to have a better chance of being hired is to prepare for an interview and learn to answer basic questions effectively that demonstrate to the employer if the applicant fits in the organization, their skills and qualifications for the job, and in what aspects are potentially valuable for that job position.

“I think maybe some students think they can go in and wing, and they hope to look for a job, but I think they will find soon enough that if they wing it, it is very rare that they will get a job offer because employers can think you are not competent, you didn’t come prepared, you ramble and go off topic, so all that can be tied to your preparedness,” Lazo said. “That is why an interview workshop is important, because it helps students to prepare themselves and what to do during an interview, and strategies, and how to answer effectively interview questions.” 

As a coordinator and counselor of the Employment Prep Center, Lazo said that her role is to help people to prepare for interviews and these workshops are just one of the services they offer to the students of KapCC. She also offers mock interviews for students who are applying for a job and are willing to practice the interview with her. After this, Lazo will give them feedback to be prepared for the actual day of the interview. To do this, students must make an appointment with her and send her the description of the position to which they will apply.

“It tends to be very helpful for students, and not only for students but for everyone… because you can practice in front of your friends, your family members, or partners or whatever, and they can give you feedback and tell you how you did, but sometimes it is better to get it from somebody that doesn’t know you, that can be objective and also understands which would be effective strategies for your questions,” Lazo said. 

Regarding the hiring process, Lazo said that it is essential that students know that all stages of the selection process are essential. To get to the final stage, which is to have a job interview, they must first know how to create a resume and a cover letter, how to communicate and write emails appropriately, and also know how to benefit from applying strategies for job searches. 

This workshop about job interviews is an opportunity not only to learn how to prepare for a job, but also for networking. About networking, Lazo said that it doesn’t mean just to get a job, but it is an opportunity to meet people who students can establish relationships with. The objective of those relationships is to provide support to each other in the future, so this workshop also represents an opportunity for students who are looking for career support from someone who works in Kamehameha Schools.