Pelham High Students Navigate Stress of Interview ChallengesApril 11, 2014
by Rhiannon Snide, Pelham High School Intern
Twenty-four Pelham High School students from Mrs. Dorval’s personal/financial planning class recently discovered while participating in an annual Interview Challenge just how stressful job interviews can be. The ability to be interviewed has become a lost art with recent generations, and in order to improve students’ capabilities the Salem Chamber of Commerce has developed a contest to guide and assess students’ interviewing strategies.
Three schools, Pelham, Windham, and Salem, each had approximately 24 students participate in the competition. The first round consisted of participants being divided up among eight different company representatives to be given a mock interview and then ranked on a scale of 70. The six students who received the highest scores were chosen to move onto the next round. “It feels great to have done so well in the first round,” said Allyson Masson, a Pelham High School senior, “but now moving onto the next interview I know it will only become more stressful.” The six students chosen from Pelham, all of whom received scores of either a 69 or 70, were Kaylie Apkarian, Tyler Kosik, Allyson Masson, Ryan Frank, Ashlee Lindsey, and Christopher Lindsey.
Adding extra pressure to the competition, the students weren’t told what position or company they were being interviewed for. Christopher Lindsay, a Pelham High School junior said, “The interview was much more challenging than anything I have done in the past because I wasn’t able to prepare for the questions or research the company.”
The personal financial planning course at Pelham High offered about a month of preparation where the students reviewed dress codes, handshakes, and practice questions to ensure high scores at the legitimate competition. “I have only done one real interview in the past,” continued Christopher Lindsay. “It was for a job, but Mrs. Dorval tried to prepare us for the interviews before the competition so it wasn’t too bad.”
Allyson Masson further shared her thoughts about preparing for the interview: “I definitely think kids would benefit from an interview class, working with Mrs. Dorval really helped me to improve how I interview.” She wasn’t the only one who felt researching how to interview properly helped her abilities, most of the class agreed they greatly benefitted from their prior research.
These 24 Pelham High School students are only a few of the many students the Salem Chamber of Commerce has positively influenced through this annual contest. After many years of sponsoring this event, the chamber has improved the interviewing abilities of hundreds of students within Pelham, Windham, and Salem.