Elizabeth sitting at a board room table with a laptop on video conference call observing Anna interview.

Day 1 of FLEET: Anna interviewing with 3 onsight people and one on a Zoom Conference Call.

This past Friday and Saturday I had the opportunity to sit in and experience our FLEET program for the first time. For those who are unfamiliar, “FLEET is our advanced leadership program tailored to students seeking progression in interviewing skills and capstone award recognition.  Initially, it was designed for youth and young adults who are pursuing awards and honors which require interviews and/or extended oral evaluations. Scholarship applicants, pageant contestants, and organization officer candidates are ideal students for a program like FLEET.” I pulled this description from the TLC website- I figured this would be a better explanation than what I could come up with. If you would like to read more about it, you can click here.

I didn’t really know what to expect from this program since I’ve never experienced it first hand. I understood the purpose of it and what activities would take place, but I was unaware of the smaller details that it would entail. In all honesty, you can’t fully understand what this program is all about without experiencing it.

The first activity that took place was a mock interview. There were four of us that sat in and interviewed one student. This was foreign to me, as I’ve never been on that side of the interview table. It was an interesting new perspective.

Day 2 of FLEET: Anna worked with Abby & Elizabeth on site with Kurt and an industry expert over Zoom.

One thing that I didn’t expect was how intense, and therefore emotional, it would be. I knew beforehand that clients have to deal with constructive criticism and undergo a lot of self-reflecting, but I didn’t know to what extent. The second activity of the day involved a lot of self-reflecting and then critiques on that self-reflection. Self-reflection, no matter what aspect of your life it’s on, can be really tough. Admitting things about yourself- to yourself and others- that may not be positive or pretty is very tough. Although difficult, this process is extremely necessary. You have to be aware of and understand what things you need to work on and what you lack. Without this, improvement is not possible.

I learned a lot and did a lot of self-reflecting myself. I realized some of the things interviewers look for during an interview. I guess I never really invested time in learning about how to have a successful interview. I knew the basic things such as eye contact and posture, and practiced “the most common interview questions”, but I never dug any further than that. And that’s definitely shown in my past interviews. I personally hate interviews and apparently say “like” a lot, which is like… totally crazy. Looking back at my interview with TLC, I cringe a little. At the time, I thought it went okay (a.k.a. I survived it). Looking back, with a new perspective and new knowledge, I realize I could have been a lot better. Nonetheless, now I know how to improve for future interviews.

With all of this being said, here are a few interview tips that I learned:

  1. Don’t contradict yourself. Don’t give an answer to one question and then answer another question that will contradict it.

  2. Tell stories. It helps the interviewers make personal connections with you and they will be more likely to remember you.

  3. Be confident in yourself and your answers. If you don’t believe in yourself, neither will your interviewers.

  4. It’s really difficult, but try not to say words such as “um” or “like”.

Being a part of this program was a great experience. Seeing the difference in the client from the beginning of the program to the end was awesome. The improvement was definitely there- not only in regards to the ability to answer questions efficiently and effectively but in confidence levels. Every time I watch Maile and Kurt teach a D4LC program, I learn a lot. They know how to connect with their students and truly care about the work they do. I am so thankful that I’ve gotten to be a part of the D4LC programs.

-Elizabeth

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micheal in a green dresss and maile in a gold dress are standing next to Joel seated in a chair smiling.