Students from every Shelby County high school put on their finest suits and dresses and came “Dressed for Success” to participate in the 10th Annual Mock Interview Day, held April 23 at the Shelby County Instructional Services Center. The event is held each year to help students with special needs gain the confidence needed to interview for jobs. Students rotated through a series of interviews conducted by volunteers from many local Shelby County business, including Ebsco, Regions Bank, and Shelby Baptist Medical Center, just to name a few.
The day started with an inspiring message from Allison Wetherbee, who currently serves as the Community Relations Director for Camp ASCCA. Ms. Wetherbee, who was born with no arms or legs, spoke to the students about the challenges and adversities she had to overcome to be successful in school and in her career. The author of “I Was Born This Way” spoke to the students about learning how to do every day tasks when she was young, such as writing with a pencil in her mouth and learning to answer the telephone. She also gave them examples of jobs she interviewed for where she had to convince potential employees to give her a chance to prove herself and to not judge her because of her physical disabilities.
The students also got to see a demonstration of a “bad interview” and a “good interview”. Brian Wilson, Assistant Director of Human Resources with Ebsco, helped provide the demonstration of the bad interview by arriving with his shirt untucked, wearing a hat, and talking on his cell phone. He continued his bad interviewing technique by answering a call from his cell phone and not answering the questions with appropriate answers. In contrast, Ms. Wetherbee provided the demonstration of the “good interview”, showing the students the proper way to arrive, to greet the interviewer, and appropriatly answer the questions.
As the students rotated through their mock interviews, the volunteers conducting the interviews graded them on their interview skills and voted for their favorites in categories such as “Dressed for Success”, “Mr. and Mrs. Congeniality”, and “Best Overall Interview”. Bryan Moore from Oak Mountain High School was the winner of the “Best Overall Interview” award, the top award of the day.
The students and volunteer interviewers enjoyed lunch, which was donated by Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe. Taziki’s owner, Keith Richards, has served as a long-term supporter of the event and hires student workers in the majority of his Birmingham area restaurants.