Here are Quick Tips to help you prepare for a job shadow or informational interview with students.
Job shadows & informational interviews give Highline students a chance to learn from professionals and get an in-depth perspective on their careers.
Highline Public Schools wants all students to graduate high school prepared to choose a career path they will enjoy, where there is high demand and high wages. We recognize some level of post-secondary education will be required and that there are many paths. Try to share about your career as well as related careers with a range of educational options such as certificates, apprenticeships, 2-year, 4-year degrees and beyond.
Students enjoy hearing your personal stories about how you arrived where you are today. Did you have obstacles to overcome? Change your mind a few times? Have some failures along the way and some highlights, too? Who helped you? What do you enjoy about your job, and what do you find least fulfilling? Any advice?
Students love to be actively engaged as part of their interview/shadow. Depending on the amount of time you have, you could take the student on a tour of your workplace, introduce him/her to colleagues, offer a mini “challenge”, demonstrate equipment, show a short video about your company and any other activities you can offer in addition to the conversation.
We’ve heard that employers think “soft skills” such as reliability, strong communication skills, work ethic, and professionalism, are often as important as specific skills that can be learned on the job. While avoiding lecturing, it would be great to talk about how important these skills are, perhaps through real-life examples.
Encourage students to ask you questions; hopefully they’ve come prepared with some. If not, gently urge them to do so when networking in the future. Give feedback in a supportive way about the student’s handshake, eye contact, punctuality, appropriateness of dress, quality of questions, and anything else that will be helpful.
If it feels right and you have the time, invite the student to keep you informed of their progress, refer them to a colleague for additional interviews, and/or direct them to a book or resource you found helpful.
Please make sure the student knows where to meet you and is aware of professional requirements such as client confidentiality, dresscode, sign-in procedures, badging, building access, etc. Many students will not have had an experience at a work site, so please be aware that they will not know what to expect.
Any additional feedback can be directed to the student’s Career and College Access Specialist, teacher or other adult who referred them. Our goal is for this experience to be motivational and helpful.
You may not ever know how much it meant to the student, but we certainly do. Thank you for sharing your time and experience. We appreciate you!