Experts lend advice for interviews, work

By Gunner Young/reporter

Leading industry representatives gave students advice on how to ace their job interviews and succeed in their careers during a student-organized workforce seminar April 11.

Nine panelists, who are successful in their line of work, spoke about the expectations they have when selecting employees.

Among the panelists on NW Campus were a school principal, GM Financial human resource workers and a representative from the IT field.

The first question asked by panel moderator Thomas Sosa had to do with “soft skills” that employers look for in their workers.

“One of the skills we look for is problem solving. We need more critical thinkers who are able to think through a situation and come up with solutions,” said Natasha Stallard, an HR manager at the DHL logistics facility in Fort Worth. “The logistics world is constantly changing. In order for us to continue to be selected as the company of choice by our customers, we have to constantly come up with new and innovative ways to provide solutions to our customers.”

Bob Pacheco, Chief Technology Officer at TCC, said that a sense of humor is the most important soft skill to have in the workplace.

“It is vital to always maintain a good sense of humor,” Pacheco said. “One of the very first things I noticed during my time here at TCC is that sometimes we take things too seriously. It’s like the Joker, ‘Why so serious?’”

Another point of discussion concerned the do’s and don’ts of the interview process itself.

David Gitonga, who works in marketing and research, says that warming up before an interview is the most important part.

“When you walk into an interview place, start talking to people outside,” Gitonga said. “You know when you open a garden hose and all that dirty water comes out before the good water starts flowing? That is what you’re basically doing. You hit your stride early, and by the time you walk into the interview, you’re ready.”

Tom Fraire, the principal of Marine Creek Collegiate High School and a proud Notre Dame alum, said the most important thing to make oneself more hireable is to make time for life and hobbies.

“What do you do for you? Don’t stop doing those things because if you do you’ll go to work unhappy because you’re not taking care of yourself.” Fraire said. “Take care of yourself first, because if you don’t, you won’t be able to take care of anybody else.”