On March 17, graduating students of Terra State Community College’s Medical Assisting (MAP) and Health Information Technology (HIT) programs were given the opportunity to hone their skills for careers in their chosen field.  However, it wasn’t on-site job skills that were honed, it was the skills needed to get a job in their chosen field.

One of the standards for the two programs is class time devoted to resume writing and job interview performance.  Joan Gamble, Career Services Coordinator, Terrie Hopkins, MAP Coordinator and Jill Caton, HIT Coordinator created “speed interviewing” to assist with both areas.  Speed interviewing allows students to present themselves to prospective employers to practice their interviewing and resume writing skills.  The catch is they only have three minutes to do it.

Terra State invites partners from the community, such as hospitals and doctor’s offices, and Terra State staff members to serve as practice interviewers.  In all, there are ten volunteers conducting the interviews.  All ten are placed in a room where they meet the students.  Resumes are required to be given to each interviewer.  Once they complete the three-minute interview, the interviewers complete a rubric form that grades their performance and resume that will be given to the student.  When the form is completed, students move to the next interviewer and do it all over again.

After the interview sessions are completed, all interviewers stay for a reception.  There they avail themselves to the students to answer any questions they have.  These interviewers are potential employers and the students take advantage of the opportunity.  Students are able to garner information, such as what employers are looking for, how to answer a specific question during an interview and what they should do about a particular issue they are facing.

According to Terrie Hopkins, students are very appreciative of the event.  “It’s an opportunity for the students to get over the nervousness of the first interview.  Plus, they get to be in front of potential employers who remember who they spoke with during the interviews.  It gets their foot in the door for a possible job after graduation.”